Graham Barrow

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Graham Barrow
Personal information
Full name Graham Barrow
Date of birth (1954-06-13) 13 June 1954 (age 62)
Place of birth Chorley, England
Height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Playing position Midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
?–1979 Southport
1979–1981 Altrincham 62 (11)
1981–1986 Wigan Athletic 179 (35)
1986–1994 Chester City 248 (17)
Teams managed
1992–1994 Chester City
1994–1995 Wigan Athletic
1996–1999 Rochdale
2000–2001 Chester City
2003–2005 Bury
2013 Wigan Athletic (acting)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

† Appearances (goals)

Graham Barrow (born in Chorley, Lancashire, 13 June 1954) is an English former footballer who has since become a lower division manager. He is currently part of the coaching staff at Football League Championship side Wigan Athletic, where he has previously been both a player and manager.

Playing career[edit]

Barrow first entered the Football League at the relatively late age of 27 in August 1981 when he signed for Wigan Athletic from Altrincham for £10,000, having earlier played for Chorley and Southport. He became a vital part of manager Larry Lloyd's promotion winning side, playing as a hard man in midfield, and further endeared himself to Wigan fans by putting in a man of the match performance in the Freight Rover Trophy final at Wembley Stadium in 1985 despite playing in the unfamiliar position of forward. He left the club for Chester City in 1986 for £6,000,[1] after 212 appearances in all competitions for the Latics (179 games, 36 goals in the League).

Barrow had a difficult start at Chester, suffering five bookings in his first seven games,[1] and in November 1986 he considered a move to Blackpool.[1] But he opted to stay with the Blues and went on to make 298 first team appearances over the next eight years, mainly as captain. He combined his playing role with an assistant manager position to Harry McNally from 1988–89 onwards.[2] On the final day of the 1991–92 season, Barrow scored a late winner in Chester's final home game at Moss Rose against Leyton Orient to seal Division Three survival for the club.[3]

Management & coaching[edit]

Barrow began his managerial career with Chester City in 1992 (as player–manager), after collecting seven points from four games in caretaker charge.[4] Although the team was relegated to the Football League Third Division in 1993, Barrow inspired the Blues to bounce back the next season and gain promotion, but he resigned in the summer of 1994 amid frustration at key players leaving and a lack of financial backing from the board.[5] He retired from playing following his departure, with his final appearance being in Chester's win 3–2 win over Preston North End on 2 April 1994, just two months before his 40th birthday.[5]

He returned to Wigan as manager early in 1994–95 and rescued the Latics from relegation to the Football Conference. He was in charge of Rochdale from 1996 to 1999, although the club failed to gain any success and he left after a third successive bottom half placing. A spell as assistant–manager at Notts County followed before returning to Chester as manager on 31 May 2000, shortly after their relegation to the Football Conference.[6] Barrow was forced to work in difficult circumstances under American owner Terry Smith, who suspended Barrow's assistant Paul Beesley from playing for failing to stand in the correct position at a set piece and banned Barrow from speaking to the press without his permission.[7] Although Chester finished well out of the promotion race in eighth position, Barrow managed to guide Chester to an FA Cup third round tie with Blackburn Rovers after eliminating Football League sides Plymouth Argyle and Oxford United. He also led them to the FA Trophy semi–finals and victory in the final of the Nationwide Variety Club Trophy, with the players saying he had "single-handedly put Chester back on the football map".[8] Despite his cup successes, Barrow was sacked in June 2001, a move largely unpopular with supporters.[9]

He was manager of Bury, from January 2004 after a spell as assistant-manager to Andy Preece. However the club did not progress satisfactorily and as a result Barrow was dismissed in September 2005.[10] He returned to Chester at the end of the season, becoming assistant to manager Mark Wright. They were sacked together on 29 April 2007.[11] He returned to working in football the following January, when he continued his trend of going back to former clubs in north-west England by becoming assistant–manager to Graham Heathcote at Altrincham.[12]

Barrow is scheduled to have a testimonial at Chester in the near-future, as a reward for his long service to the club.[13] This came after he rejected an approach to become assistant manager at Swansea City in February 2007.[14]

In July 2009, Barrow returned to Wigan as first–team coach under new manager Roberto Martínez.[15]

Due to Owen Coyle's sacking on the 2 December 2013, Barrow took charge of the team for their game against Leeds United on the 4 December 2013, in which they lost 2-0. On the 7 December, it was announced that Uwe Rösler had replaced Coyle as full time manager, and Barrow returned to his duties as assistant manager.

Managerial statistics[edit]

As of 7 December 2013[16]
Team From To Record
G W D L Win %
Chester City 20 October 1992 31 July 1994 84 30 16 38 35.71
Wigan Athletic 1 August 1994 9 October 1995 61 19 14 28 31.15
Rochdale 1 August 1996 2 May 1999 155 50 40 65 32.26
Chester City 1 June 2000 22 June 2001 64 26 22 16 40.63
Bury 16 December 2003 19 September 2005 84 22 28 34 26.19
Wigan Athletic (Caretaker) 2 December 2013 7 December 2013 2 0 0 2 00.00
Total 450 147 120 183 32.67




External links[edit]


  • Sumner, Chas (1997). On the Borderline: The Official History of Chester City F.C. 1885–1997. Yore Publications. ISBN 1-874427-52-6. 


  1. ^ a b c Sumner (1997), p.103
  2. ^ Sumner (1997), p.105
  3. ^ Sumner (1997), p.111
  4. ^ Sumner (1997), p.115
  5. ^ a b Sumner (1997), p.118
  6. ^ "Barrow Returns". (see 31 May). 31 May 2000. Retrieved 2008-06-29. 
  7. ^ "Assistant Manager Axed". (see 22 April). 22 April 2001. Retrieved 2008-06-29. 
  8. ^ "Players Respond to Ban". (see 26 April). 26 April 2001. Retrieved 2008-06-29. 
  9. ^ "Graham Barrow sacked". (see 20–21 June). 20 June 2001. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 
  10. ^ "Barrow sacked". This is Lancashire. 22 September 2005. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 
  11. ^ "Vaughan: Why duo had to go". Liverpool Echo. 4 May 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 
  12. ^ "Barrow is Altrincham number two". BBC Sport. 10 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 
  13. ^ "Vaughan: Why duo had to go". Chester Chronicle. 4 May 2007. Retrieved 18 May 2014. 
  14. ^ "Chester assistant snubs Swans job". BBC Sport. 26 February 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 
  15. ^ "Barrow returns to Wigan as coach". BBC Sport. 8 July 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  16. ^ "Graham Barrow". Soccerbase. Retrieved 26 April 2014.