Barrow Raiders outline Super League ambitions as Cumbria’s representatives

Jarrod Sammut Barrow Raiders SWpix
Photo: Simon Wilkinson/SWpix

Barrow Raiders chairman Steve Neale has outlined his Super League ambitions. However, he fears their home of Craven Park falls short of minimum standards for the top division.

Paul Crarey’s side currently sit sixth in the Championship table and have had an impressive return to the division following their promotion last season. 

Chairman Neale is hoping his Barrow side can be Cumbria’s representative in Super League in the near future. He has wrote to supporters hoping to involve more partners so that the club can reach its high ambitions.

He also hinted that a possible stadium move could be on the cards if the club was to achieve Super League status. Otherwise their home at the Matt Johnson Prestige Stadium would need improvements.


Barrow Raiders chairman writes open letter to supporters

“The club has made no secret of its ambition, shown by our continued progress on and off the pitch. We believe that we can become Cumbria’s representative in Super League,” Neale wrote in an open letter to fans. 

“At present, our current facilities do not meet the minimum standard criteria for promotion to Super League. The fact that we are engaged in these sorts of discussions with the RFL signifies the progress we are making.

“We have a number of areas where we fall short. With the main issues being less than 2,000 seats in the ground, with us currently only having around 900 in the main grandstand.

“Our floodlights not being at the required lux levels, lack of suitably sized TV gantry, lack of media facilities; and we need to add in the lack of stress tested crush barriers that severely restricts our capacity.”

He continued: “The mere fact that Super League is a topic for discussion, together with a possible league restructure on the horizon, means we must now start to seriously consider improvements to our facilities, be that at Craven Park or elsewhere.

“It is unlikely that we will gain promotion this season but the boardroom is ambitious. We shouldn’t be shy in saying that we want to be Cumbria’s representative in Super League, just as our Ladies currently are. 

“We want to make it clear to the rugby league world that we are serious in our ambition to reach and maintain a formidable team in Super League.”

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About Josh McAllister 1705 Articles
Journalist. Joined the Love Rugby League team full time at the start of 2022 having been a freelance reporter for several years. Previously media manager for Swinton and Rochdale.

1 Comment

  1. Idea – reduce the top division to 9 teams. Try to create a competitive league of the very best players. There can continue to be a play off system if desired, with a smaller number of teams e.g. four.

    Then have a 9 team league below that, with reduced funding but all teams must be professional.

    The top three of division 2 and bottom one of division 1 have a knockout style play off at season’s end for promotion and relegation,with one team interchanging between leagues. This minimises the amount of jeopardy in division 1 with only one relegation whilst offering opportunity to a decent number of progressive teams in division 2 and giving them a genuine opportunity at promotion to play for.

    The relegated team has increased funding for the next season compared to division 2, to allow more secure planning of contracts etc, though at a reduced rate compared to division 1. They are still not guaranteed to be promoted again due to the promotion/relegation play off structure.

    Any team which cannot become full time before entering, or upon gaining promotion to, division 2 must forgoe the opportunity to move up into the league.

    Due to the reduced number of games in division 1 compared to Super league (which should be of a better quality as the “top” teams will be there) it should allow the opportunity to show division 2 games as well. The most marketable games can be shown, with the fact promotion (with an increased number of teams pushing for the three play off spots) and relegation are both present in the league creating more excitement, means potentially more marketable games. The broadcast packages would be for both division 1 and 2. This opportunity to be part of that, including actually getting money from the broadcast deal itself, will allow teams in both divisions to use the broadcast as leverage when making their own sponsorship deals etc so the division 2 teams may be able to attract more wide ranging sponsors due to having TV exposure.

    The playing squads for both divisions should follow the same structure i.e. if division 1 has the same limits on overseas players as Super League, division 2 also would match that, so that teams moving up or down between leagues at least have the same basic squad structure in place.

    In theory, division 1 will be as strong as Super League, possibly even more competitive/balanced, whilst the reduction by 3 clubs in the top league will allow that money to be used in division 2. They will receive substantially less than division 1 but must commit to being professional, so must have the club structure in place for that and be self sustainable including using the funding.
    Division 2 would then in theory have some of the lesser Super League teams, who typically spend less, whilst also being a league where the best championship teams can push for the top league. An ambitious team like York or Newcastle etc could potentially, if committed to professional, planned growth, use the funding provided to the division 2 to progress. It will also avoid the lob sided nature of championship where teams like Leigh and Featherstone blow other teams budgets out of the water, because it would only be possible for teams committed to being professional etc who would enter division 2.

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