Meet the opponents, Barrow: Back in the big time and looking for an upset

A general view of Barrow flags in the stands before the Emirates FA Cup first round match at the Pro

Barrow flags in the stands. The Wembley 2010 refers to the time Barrow won the FA Trophy - for a second time in their history. - Credit: PA

Ipswich Town entertain League Two, Barrow, at Portman Road this afternoon in the FA Cup second round. MIKE BACON takes a look at Town's opponents.

Barrow's Tom White and Aston Villa's Cameron Archer (right) battle for the ball during the Carabao C

Barrow's Tom White and Aston Villa's Cameron Archer (right) battle for the ball during the Carabao Cup second round match at The Dunes Hotel Stadium, Barrow, where Villa won 0-6. - Credit: PA


Barrow are in the middle of a disappointing run of results.

After making a decent start to their new life back in the Football League having won the National League last season, the Bluebirds, as they are known, are bottom of the current last six-game form guide, having picked up just two draws in their last six League Two outings.

They currently sit 20th place in League Two, four points above the two relegation positions.

However, many of their recent games have ended in narrow defeats. They lost at Sutton 0-1 last week, 0-2 at leaders Forest Green, 0-1 at home to Crawley and 1-2 at home to Rochdale.

Already this season they made it through one round of the Carabao Cup, before losing 0-6 at home to Villa. And they are still in the Papa John's Trophy.

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Cementing their place in League Two is surely their key goal this season, so today's clash at Portman Road is a pretty free hit for them. In the last round Barrow won at non-league Banbury 4-0, in a game show live on TV.


Barrow joined the Football League in 1921 and incredibly remained in the bottom tier (division four) until 1967 as a League club.

They were promoted in 1968 to the third division and finished eighth that year, before decline set in and by the 1971/72 season they were not only back in division four, but finished third bottom, eight points ahead of basement side Crewe.

In those days the bottom four faced re-election to retain their League status.

Stockport, Crewe and Northampton all received enough votes to remain in the League, but Barrow and Hereford (who were looking to come into the League from non-league and were part of the re-election process) ended up joint bottom in the votes with 26 each.

In a second ballot, Hereford gained 29 votes to Barrow's 20 and it was the Cumbrians who were relegated to non-league, with Hereford taking over their League mantle.

And that's where Barrow spent the next 48 seasons, winning the FA Trophy in 1990 and 2010.

They returned to the Football League as National League champions last season. Indeed, Barrow's promotion back to the Football League made them the first, and to date only, club to have been promoted back to the Football League having previously lost their League place.

Barrow manager Mark Cooper during the Emirates FA Cup first round match at Banbury Plant Hire Commun

Barrow manager Mark Cooper during the Emirates FA Cup first round match at Banbury. - Credit: PA


Mark Cooper was appointed manager of Barrow in May this year, signing a three-year deal with the club.

Cooper, son of former Leeds and England full-back, Terry Cooper, has plenty of managerial experience, having first managed a club he played for, Tamworth, back in 2004.

At Forest Green Rovers, where he managed for five years between 2016 and 2021, he oversaw their historic promotion to the Football League, but parted company with them, before taking over at Barrow.

And, after Barrow's recent 0-2 defeat on Cooper's return to Forest Green, the Barrow boss said this:  “We can only aspire to be like Forest Green as a football club.

“The way that it’s run and the way that they do things, we can only aspire to that kind of standard. That’s where we need to be off the pitch.

“When the infrastructure’s right then you get results on the pitch.”

As a midfielder, Cooper played mostly in the lower leagues, but did have spells at both Birmingham City and Fulham.


Town and Barrow have never met in any competition. Any Barrow fans who make the long journey from Cumbria to Suffolk today will have had to travel almost six hours in what is a 540-mile round trip!

A general view of the new William Hill Shop at London Bridge

As you can imagine, Town are odds-on to win today with the bookies. - Credit: PA


Just as Crewe were big outsiders to pull off victory at Portman Road last Sunday, so Barrow are to do so today. Town are odds-on to win, while remembering what Oldham did at Portman Road in the last round, the draw doesn't look hopelessly unattractive.


Si King and Dave Myers arriving at the Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards, at Fortnum & Mason, in

Si King, left, and Dave Myers - the Hairy Bikers! Dave was born in Barrow. - Credit: PA

Dave Myers who has found fame as one half of television cookery duo the Hairy Bikers, along with Si King, was born in Barrow. He's 64 years old.

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