Barrow chairman Des Johnston warns of financial cuts

Des Johnston
As chairman Johnston led Barrow to a Grand Final success in 2009

Barrow chairman Des Johnston has warned supporters that the club's financial situation is a 'serious' one, affected by sliding attendances at Craven Park.

Exiting the Northern Rail Cup has cost them, while gates for their last three league fixtures are cumulatively about 2,000 below the numbers budgeted for.

"The last three home games show people don't want rugby league in Barrow," Johnston told BBC Radio Cumbria.

"If the money is not coming through the gate, we'll have to cut it back."

Johnston added: "We're meeting with the accountants and the bank, and a financial annoucement will be released later this week."

The Raiders have already been forced to make cuts to the player wage bill, with half-back James Coyle released to join Widnes, and the sanctioned departure to Dewsbury of second-row Richard Fletcher.

"There could be a few more players going in the next few weeks. It might affect the coaching staff, it might affect the physiotherapy department and everything else," Johnston continued.

"We don't need 2,000 at Featherstone, we need 10,000, that's how serious it's becoming.

"Either back us, or let us know if you don't want us, because we'll go elsewhere.

"The Featherstone game is the biggest game in our history now."

Under Johnston's chairmanship, Raiders were crowned Grand Final winners in 2009, and were also Northern Rail Cup finalists against Widnes.

The success paved the way for a Super League franchise bid, which was rejected by the Rugby Football League in March.

Raiders are currently fifth in the Championship after Sunday's 10-6 away defeat by Batley.