Barrow began his second league season as one of the bookmakers’ favorites for relegation, but concluded their program in September in a duel at the top of the division with leaders Leighton Orient.
With one of the smallest budgets and fan bases in the department, it seems like the events on Holker Street far track expectations. But the Bluebirds’ bright start comes as no surprise to their rising star manager Pete Wild, who has helped a new team amass 21 points from a potential 27 since taking the job in May.
“I have come at a great time. Wilde, who joined after three excellent seasons at Halifax in the National League, said they had a few years of trying to find their way as a football club but now they are ready to step up. I.
“I was very fortunate to have quite a few shows on the table (after Halifax) and of them all, this project was the most exciting to me.”
Barrow is proud to be a community club, funded by a group of local entrepreneurs but also backed by 10 percent equity from the trust of supporters.
They have ambitions to develop their academy and stadium and have appointed their first sporting director, Ian Wood, within the upcoming season.
He identified Wood Wilde, who had fallen out of youth training to take on Oldham’s cause at the time after Paul Scholes resigned before his time in Halifax, as the ideal man to move forward.
“I am a manager and I wanted to take an extra step. I didn’t want to take a step too far and in two years it would be a case of one step forward and two steps back,” he said.
“I wanted to make sure it was the right club and I’d have time to build. There’s nothing worse than a club that gives you six months to try to get through to a promotion without the tools.
“You want a club that wants to try to build things up, see progress and then take you forward. In any successful club, the manager is given time to recruit players and build the gameplay and time to build that.”
In doing so, Wilde says, Barrow excelled at two things. “The first is recruitment. The club deserves a lot of recognition for the kind of players they have allowed me to recruit.”
“The number two is the kind of people we recruited. We recruited people who work hard, have good experience at this level or a level below and understand what it means to win.
“We want to be the front-foot mentality, to be the aggressor in matches, not to stop and hope to collect points here and there. We want to be the team that goes after people, and we have hired the right people to play in this way.”
Wild has a unique back story. He ran bars, was an apprentice mechanic and worked as a tree surgeon before finding his way into the game with his beloved childhood club Oldham.
It gives it a different perspective. “I don’t feel any pressure if at some point football ends, I don’t feel pressure because I know I can go back to that other life and maintain a career and have a ‘normal job’,” he says.
Saturday’s visit to Leyton Orient, which has lost just two points in nine matches, is another test. But Barrow has already beaten Doncaster and Bradford City at Holker Street and boasts a 100 per cent home record.
“It’s just another game. It’s only nine games, so we can’t get carried away – I just want us to keep doing the things we’ve done well and do well at Lyton Orient,” Wilde says.
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