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Ground of the week
Holker Street ground at Barrow AFC
Ground of the Week: Holker Street
Holker Street has been the home of Barrow AFC since September 1909 and the stadium like the club has had an eventful history.
by Stuart Croll (NonLeague Today)
The club moved into Holker Street eight years after the club was formed and an initial problem was that the site was once a rubbish tip and stray pieces of litter regularly surfaced on to the ground.
BY RAIL: Barrow-in-Furness railway station is located just under a mile away from the ground. Trains from Lancaster & Carlisle serve it.
The ground's first structure was an all-seater stand built in 1912 and between that year and the club's 'promotion' into the football league in 1921 Holker Street was transformed into an excellent ground.
Covered terracing was built and improvements to the dressing rooms and turnstiles were made.
The 1930s saw few improvements but after the Second World War the terracing was upgraded with all four sides covered.
The new Holker Street hosted its record attendance in 1954 when 16,874 fans saw the Bluebirds draw 2-2 with Swansea City in the third round of the FA Cup.
In 1972 the club were voted out of the Football League and the club made the decision to introduce speedway to the stadium, which involved the demolition of one end of the ground and the pitch being moved in order to accommodate the track.
The speedway team, the Barrow bombers, just lasted two years and in 1974 the pitch was returned to its original position and a leisure centre was built within the venue.
So, nowadays the stadium is in its original position and it does have a traditional, old fashioned feel.
However it has been brightened up by replicating the team's blue & white colours on the stands and structures around the stadium.
The ground is dominated by the main stand, which is seated and covered. It has some supporting pillars along the front of the stand and runs for around half the length of the pitch.
It is situated on the half way line and is raised above pitch level, meaning that you have to climb a small staircase to access it. The areas to either side of the stand are flat standing spaces.
Opposite is the Ray Wilkie Popular Side. This is a terrace, which is covered towards the centre.
Behind one goal is The Crossbar Terrace - also known as the Steelworks End is rarely used by fans as it is at a small open terrace, which houses the club offices.
Opposite is the larger Holker Street Terrace, which although open to the elements is the traditional home end of the ground.
The stadium is completed with a set of classic looking floodlights - although one is relatively new, doubling as a mobile phone mast.
Following the side's promotion to the Blue Square Premier the capacity was increased to 4,256 but Holker Street's long term is in doubt as the club hope to relocate to a new stadium in Barrow's proposed docklands development.
If and when this happens it would be a shame for lovers of old-fashioned football grounds.
last updated: 13/10/2008 at 10:41
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