THEY made a flying start to the season on the pitch last Saturday, but there is much to pleased about with the progress made off the pitch at Barrow Celtic recently as well.

The Furness Premier League Premier Division outfit, who opened with an 8-1 win at home to Walney Island reserves before coming down to earth with a bang in a midweek defeat to Vickerstown reserves, have been hard at work improving their Newby Terrace home, along with having plans in place to secure its long-term future.

A key component of those plans has been securing an asset transfer on Newby Terrace so it is now owned by the club, with the next step being to do the same with the waste ground at the back of the main pitch to create space for Celtic's youth section to play small-sided matches.

That has been matched with verti-draining the pitch – the first time that has been done – putting fencing up to enclose the playing surface, plus cleaning and painting the clubhouse and changing rooms to make it more welcoming for the players.

“We've turned it around a bit and we've got a really good set-up at the moment, and we just want to keep it going,” said Celtic management team member and player Carl Brown.

“We've had quite a lot of good support with sponsorship, and because we've got the fencing around the pitch now, we've been able to put up advertising boards and things like that, and make it look a bit more professional.

“The long-term goal for the next few years is to get the nine-v-nine pitch sorted and once you've got multiple pitches on-site, you can start applying for clubhouse grants and things like that. Then you can provide places for the community to do more with them.”

At present, Celtic's youth section have to hire the public pitches at Ormsgill to play their games, so there is a strong desire to bring them back into the fold with the senior sides.

The club have been able to obtain a grant from Cumbria County Council to do a feasibility study into turning the wasteland into a small-sided pitch for the juniors, and once that process has been completed it will open up more avenues to fund further improvement projects.

“We're quite disconnected at the moment with not playing at the same ground and in recent years we've focussed on the senior team, and the juniors have sort of been run separately,” said Brown.

“We're trying to get it all back together, but with the pitch like it was you couldn't play that many games on it. We're just trying to improve it as we go along.

“Once we get a report on it, they'll tell us what we need to do and how much it will cost, and we can start going for more grants after that as well. It's not going to be a cheap thing to do, but we'll get a view of that anyway.”

Along with pitch-side sponsorship boards, which have been sold at £400 each for five years, Celtic run a 200 Club which has a top prize of £1,250 and brings in around £3,000 a year, along with putting on sportsman's dinners to generate extra revenue.

This season has seen the senior team secure a shirt sponsor as well after being without one for several seasons and Brown is optimistic about the direction the club is heading in.

“The advertising thing has been big for us,” said Brown, who welcomes anyone with sponsorship enquiries to contact him on 07825 249392.

“We haven't had a sponsor on the kit for years and I think it just gives you a bit better feel when you have sponsorship and it helps the club as well because we don't have to pay full-price for the kit.

“We're doing a lot at the moment and we've put a lot of money back into the ground and clubhouse to give something back to the players. We're not just keeping it all, we're trying to use it wisely because we want to keep the interest as well.”

Celtic are back in FPL action tomorrow when Kirkby United are the visitors, with this being the final weekend of just the Premier Division playing, ahead of Division One and Division Two getting under way on August 18.