IRVING WEAVER has revealed that Harrogate Town could be looking at a total FA Cup windfall of £300,000 if they safely negotiate tonight’s televised replay at Hastings United and book a money-spinning third-round trip to Middlesbrough.
Town are already guaranteed a healthy six-figure sum following their cup exploits so far in 2012-13, with that figure further swelled by around £34,000 in TV money that they will receive for ESPN screening this evening’s Pilot Field encounter live.
On top of that, they will earn additional prize money of £27,000 if they get past Ryman Premier outfit United.
The big riches would then arrive if they head to the Riverside in early January, a tie that would earn Town up to £200,000 in its own right, according to owner and chairman Weaver.
The Town supremo said: “My take on it is even if we lose at Hastings, we will have made the top side of £140,000 from the competition. If we win, there’s another £27,000 on top and if we go to Middlesbrough and even lose, we are still talking £150,000 to £200,000 without taking TV money into consideration. Potentially, getting to Middlesbrough could be worth £300,000 to us in terms of the whole cup run, which would be absolutely amazing.
“I understand now just what a good cup run means.
“Our current run of eight cup matches has brought us significant revenue already and this Hastings game is topping this up. But the golden rainbow is Middlesbrough, where if the crowd was only 15,000, if you account for say twenty pounds a head, that would bring in a great deal more money.”
A capacity crowd of almost 4,000 is expected in East Sussex tonight, with Town, whose only absentee is the suspended skipper Alan White, desperate to go one stage further and secure a glamour tie at Boro.
Boss Simon Weaver’s number two John McDermott is a lifelong Middlesbrough fan, having been born and bred in the town, while captain White was formerly on the Teessiders’ books and is also a Boro supporter.
The day job of two of Town’s academy coaches is also at Middlesbrough FC, with the Town manager admitting that heading to the north east would mean a lot to several people involved with the club.
He added: “Macca is Middlesbrough born and bred and a fan. He said when the draw was made that they were the team he wanted us to play and so we have got to do it for him.
“Alan is from Darlington, but also a Boro fan, having also played for them as a youngster and a young pro and it would be a great tie for him as well.
“If we can travel up to Middlesbrough and play them, it would be fantastic for the club and the town.
“But we are not counting our chickens, although what an incentive there is at the end of it if we get past Hastings.”
The Town chief admits he is relieved to be playing on a pristine surface at Hastings tonight and feels that games away from home as opposed to the CNG Stadium, where the surface has been in poor condition all season after difficulties following it being re-laid in the summer, is a bit of a relief.
Hoping it will bring the best out of Town in the second ‘Battle of Hastings’, Weaver, who says the pressure is firmly on the hosts tonight, added: “It’s a fantastic pitch at Hastings and we play a lot better and a lot more like we train when we are on a good pitch.
“The lads cannot wait and it was great that no-one was injured after the game on Saturday. Everyone is ready and chomping at the bit.
“I think it suits us being away and it probably will be like that for the rest of the season. The lads like to pass it and the likes of Adam Bolder, Paul Bolland and Tom Platt need that sort of pitch to get the best out of them.
“It is difficult for the players at home when the ball is bobbling around everywhere. Everyone at the club knows it and it is no-one’s fault. It is just the way it is.”
He added: “Probably the pressure will be more on Hastings tonight. They will have to factor in certain things such as their support and they will be thinking, like we did in the first game: ‘We do not want to let the home support down.’ I think that crept in, as far as we were concerned, in the second half.
“But I was not too downhearted at the final whistle and they now have to face those challenges of playing in front of a big crowd, which they are not used to, and everything that brings with it.”
Midfielder Jamie Crellin, who netted Hastings’ second-half leveller at Wetherby Road on December 1, is suspended for this evening’s replay.