As you’ll have seen from my Championship Manager exploits, I love a good lower league fairytale. Barrow’s recent ascension isn’t quite a Cinderella story but the football they play has taken them from dirty rags to ball gown riches. Sort of.
Tifo Football recently wrote an article for The Athletic about Barrow A.F.C. and how they’ve from a point off relegation to the second tier of non-league football last season to the top of the National League. The inspiration behind this resurgence? Pep Guardiola and “playing like Barcelona”. That’s why they’ve been nicknamed “Barrowcelona”.
What’s interesting is nobody calling this a Moneyball-esque story (which is a good thing). Barrow has a “bottom-six budget” according to Tifo and is somehow a few wins away from the Football League. Where this tale differs from other clubs is the lack of money altogether. Teams like Liverpool and Brentford have significant financial backing and are savvy with the money they have. Barrow, on the other hand, only had 4 players when Ian Evatt took over in 2018.
With his “style over pragmatism” and an increase in personnel, Barrowcelona is close to creating history.
(Image credit: Tifo Football)