John Woods

  • Other names

  • How long have you supported Barrow?
    My father started to take me to Holker St. as soon as my mother trusted him not to lose me in the crowd, so that would be in the mid-fifties, if you can count a babe in arms as a supporter.

  • Earliest memory of Barrow AFC
    I can't actually remember my first match - I was too young. But I do recall that it cost ninepence (4p) to get in, and the threepence change from the shilling my Dad gave went into a collection box just inside the turnstiles - Barrow were having one of their periodic financial crises at the time. When I was seven I started going with the lads from my back street, and it was then I graduated to the Holker End.

  • Worst memory of Barrow AFC
    When we failed to get re-elected to the League in 1972. No-one thought it would happen. We weren't bottom; we had five points more than Stockport, eight more than Crewe and it was only a couple of seasons since we had been in Division Three. Perhaps with hindsight we were too complacent, too reliant on the League's closed shop. That Friday night I couldn't face going out in Barrow so a few of us went up to Kendal just to try and get away from it. People in Kendal were subdued, too. 'It shouldn't have happened' was their view.

  • What has been your most horrendous journey to a Barrow match?
    Our first game as a non-League side was away to Ellesmere Port and we drove down there thinking it would be an easy victory. But by twenty to five a 4-0 defeat had taught us the hard reality of what was in store.

  • Favourite players, past and present
    From the Football League days: Jim Mulholland, Brian Arrowsmith, Dave Storf and Jim Mulvaney. In non-League: Ken Gordon, Steve Brooks, Danny Wheatley, Kenny Lowe, Colin Cowperthwaite and Peter McDonnell.

  • Worst player
    Awful players fall into two categories - those who just aren't good enough for the team and those who are, but don't give their best. You can't really blame a player who gives his best but hasn't got the basic ability to make the grade, but over the years we have had a number of players who have come to Holker St. thinking they are in for an easy ride, and haven't contributed as much as they should have.

  • What is the best ever Barrow game you have seen?
    The home match against Brentford back in 1967, when we won promotion to Division Three was probably the best game from an emotional point of view. It was the first time since I had started supporting Barrow that we had achieved any success. We still needed to win that match on the last day of the season to make sure of promotion and the atmosphere was very tense until Tony Field scored the vital goal down at the Steelworks End. As soon as the final whistle blew, it was over the wall and onto the pitch to celebrate. It was muddy, but who cared? We were promoted!

  • What is the worst ever Barrow game you have seen?
    The NPL Cup final against Goole at Maine Road in 1988. Wembley had been snatched from our sights in the epic duel against Enfield in the Trophy semi-final and the NPL Cup was our last chance of a consolation prize. When we lost the penalty shoot-out, everyone was shattered - players, fans, everyone. The team had given everything in a hectic final spell, something like fourteen games in seventeen days and had ended up with nothing. They deserved better.

  • Who are the best team you have seen in non-League?
    Wycombe Wanderers circa 1992. They were unlucky to be pipped at the post in 1991-92 and should have been promoted along with Colchester to make up for the loss of Aldershot.

  • What is the best Barrow side you have seen?
    The team that played in Division Three in the 1967-68 season under Colin Appleton. The playing record from that year speaks for itself - eighth in the table and just a few points away from a promotion place, the third round of both the FA and Football League Cups and the final of the Lancashire Senior Trophy.

  • What are your predictions for the future?
    I'm always optimistic - you have to be supporting Barrow!

  • When did you start contributing to G'EB!?
    Aside from this interview, with 'A Day at Diagoras' in issue 018.
Abridged from interview in issue 016 - April 1993