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Thursday, 24 July 2014

Bluebirds’ cup clash set to go global

BARROW AFC’s huge FA Cup clash at Holker Street tomorrow will be heard around the world – from Alaska to Australia.

The Bluebirds are set for their biggest ever audience after the BBC World Service decided to broadcast its Sportsworld radio programme live from Furness Building Society Stadium.

Barrow go into second-round tie knowing a trip to a Premier League giant could await if they overcome fellow non-league club Macclesfield Town.

Presenters Lee James and Caroline Barker will be joined in the press box by former Blackburn Rovers and Scotland international Kevin Gallacher.

The World Service broadcasts in 27 languages to 180 million listeners every week and Mr Lee, making his first trip to Barrow, is sure there will be a global appetite for the match.

He said: “It’s a chance for the audience, and me, to go to an unfamiliar ground and a chance to get back to the grass roots of football.

“I posted on Facebook this week where we are going and a lot of people have been messaging saying ‘it makes a change from all the talk about money in football’ and ‘it’s a chance to give the little guy their go’.

“People really do buy into the romance of the cup.

“We’re 90 minutes away from potentially Barrow versus Manchester United or Chelsea and for us it’s a chance to be part of that.

“Barrow could be the big headline this weekend and we’ll be there if they make it to the third round.”

Barrow are no strangers to the third round, having travelled to Premier League Middlesbrough and Sunderland in 2009 and 2010.

In addition to the £30,500 they have already pocketed from this year’s run, the Bluebirds will earn another £27,000 if they progress tomorrow.

Club chairman Brian Keen said the radio coverage was just one aspect of the media spotlight on Barrow AFC this week.

He said: “I’ve just had Sky Sports on to me now.

“I’ve given them an interview, but they’re also tailing us right through the weekend pre-match.

“The interest seems incredible.

“We’ve got to do our best but, fingers crossed, I think we’ve got a chance.’’

* BARROW AFC supporters will be rewarded if they cheer their team onto FA Cup victory against Macclesfield Town tomorrow.

Fans who support the team at Holker Street tomorrow will be given priority for tickets in the third round, if the Bluebirds progress.

Russell Dodd, AFC’s football secretary/director, said: “We’re potentially 90 minutes away from another dream trip to the likes of Middlesbrough or Sunderland, or better still Manchester United or City.

“We took around 8,000 fans to each of those games, so we need some of them to come on Saturday to help get us a repeat.”

People who attend tomorrow’s match and keep their ticket stub will, after season-ticket holders and members, be given priority for third-round tickets, subject to any capacity restrictions.

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