This year will mark 15 years since Chester FC 's visitors on Saturday were reacquainted with a figure who very nearly destroyed them.
Long before Stephen Vaughan put Chester City on the road to the abyss, the Liverpool boxing promoter was at the helm of the Holker Street club.
He bought the Cumbrian side in early 1995 and signalled his intention to lead them on a charge back to the Football League from which they were demoted in 1972.
A new stand and promotion to the Conference came during his tenure and inflated wages and signing-on fees were paid to attract players such as Andy Mutch and Mark Seagraves to the club. But as Blues fans found out to their cost, the dreams pedalled under Vaughan would eventually turn into nightmares.
Vaughan resigned from Barrow in November 1998 and withdrew his financial backing, citing ongoing investigations into his business dealings and particularly his acquisition of Holker Street, being scrutinised by HM Customs and Excise.
"I own that"
Convicted Merseyside drug trafficker Curtis Warren, a childhood friend and sometime associate of Vaughan, recalled an incident in his biography 'Cocky' where he was said to have remarked to a pilot while flying over Barrow's home ground: "I own that."
Vaughan denied any involvement with Warren and allegations of money laundering for the Liverpool drugs baron, but pulled out of Barrow all the same as a result, claiming to have ploughed in between £350,000 and £400,000 during his tenure. He also claimed that the Bluebirds owed him £269,000.
The withdrawal of Vaughan's finances, on which the Cumbrian side had come to rely on so heavily, saw Barrow go bust in January 1999 and teter on the brink of extinction.
As would be the case for a Vaughan-owned team 11 years down the line, Barrow were expelled from the Conference and left in the lurch when the UniBond League refused to accept them, leaving the Bluebirds no option but to apply to the North West Trains League. The FA waded in to the argument, though, and ordered the UniBond League to accept Barrow or face the prospect of not being recognised by the English game's governing body.
In liquidation for three years since he left, Barrow were handed a home tie in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round against the Blues on October 27, 2001, and faced with the prospect of coming face to face with the architect of their downfall, who had since arrived at Chester City, purchasing the Blues for a rumoured £500,000 from controversial American Terry Smith.
Cutting his ties
Despite having removed himself financially from the club in 1998, Vaughan still owned a majority shareholding in Barrow and, faced with the threat from the FA of the tie not going ahead due to his conflict of interest, was hurried into selling his shares in the Cumbrians.
By then Barrow, although still dealing with the effects of the Vaughan regime, were in far ruder health than they were thanks to a concerted effort from the fans and the local community to ensure a football club remained in the town, something that Blues fans know all about.
The game did go ahead and, predictably, Vaughan made the trip up to Barrow in spite of the ill feeling towards him from Bluebirds fans. His presence was one that was understandably met with anger as a man credited by the clubs fans as being responsible for their near disappearance from English football was back at Holker Street and hoping to cause them more misery.
As it happened Chester, under the stewardship of former Tranmere Rovers stalwart Steve Mungall, put in a wretched display and exited the competition following a 1-0 defeat. Future Premier League striker Grant Holt's second-half header proved the difference.
Revenge, of sorts
It was a small victory for Barrow fans and a chance to exact some kind of revenge on Vaughan, who at the time was still enjoying the honeymoon period after being the man end Smith's antics.
But as history has proved, the warning signs seemed to be there from the start and it wouldn't be long before Chester City was suffering a worse fate and being wound up in the High Court, 125 years on from its birth.
While the models for ownership may be at opposite ends of the spectrum nowadays, with Barrow backed by American-based millionaire Paul Casson, the trials and tribulations suffered under Vaughan by both sets of fans have left an indelible mark.
When Chester and Barrow take to the field on Saturday it will be another meeting between two sides who have emerged from the other side against all the odds. It is a testament to fan power in the face of irresponsible and unscrupulous ownership.