JULIAN RHODES last night underlined the importance of an extended FA Cup for Bradford City after revealing the club still have more than half of an anticipated £1m deficit to claw back this season.
In common with recent years, the Bantams’ board set a playing budget for 2014-15 that, before factoring in any additional income from Cup ties or transfers, will see the club make a substantial loss.
City’s challenge each term is to then wipe out that planned loss over the course of the financial year.
In 2012-13, the run to Wembley in the Capital One Cup final took care of the deficit, while last term Nahki Wells was sold to Huddersfield Town for an initial fee of £1.25m that could rise to £2m through add-ons based on goals and appearances.
This time around, Bradford have already banked between £220,000 and £250,000 from beating Leeds United live on Sky in the League Cup.
However, even allowing for the six-figure sum that will come in from tomorrow’s televised FA Cup first-round game at FC Halifax Town, Rhodes admits there is still a significant sum that has to be found.
The Bradford joint chairman told The Yorkshire Post: “A Cup run is important to us. Basically, we need to make up the over-spend that we budget for every year from either the Cups or transfers. That can be youth players being sold or existing sell-on clauses. Or, as a last resort, selling a member of the first team.
“The way we look at it as a board, the Cup is the primary source. This year’s Capital One Cup was good for us, in the respect of the money we earned from the Leeds tie.
“That represented a good chunk of the money we need to claw back over the season. Added to that, we have earned money from being on TV a couple of times recently against Barnsley and Sheffield United plus a couple of sell-on clauses. I would say that income plus the Leeds money means we have raised around £325,000 to £350,000.
“We can then add in the money that will come from this weekend. Halifax are anticipating a crowd of around 8,000 and the game is on television.
“But that still leaves a substantial sum to find, probably about half of the over-spend. That is why getting through this round is so important.
“The ideal situation is we earn sufficient money from the FA Cup that would mean we won’t have to sell anyone from the squad in January.”
City had been hoping that any anticipated deficit for 2014-15 would be wiped out in August by the transfer of Tom Cleverley, a junior at Valley Parade until he joined Manchester United at the age of 12.
Under the terms of that switch to Old Trafford, the Bantams are due to receive 12.5 per cent of any subsequent transfer away from the Premier League club.
Had Cleverley, as seemed likely in August, joined Aston Villa in an £8.5m permanent deal then City’s finances would have received a hefty boost.
Instead, though, the England midfielder moved to Villa Park on loan after late hitches scuppered a permanent move.
Bradford received a percentage of the loan fee but with Cleverly’s contract at United due to run out this summer, the League One club seem likely to miss out on the hoped for financial boost.
Now the Bantams are hoping Phil Parkinson’s side can enjoy a decent FA Cup run and that Andre Wisdom, another former Valley Parade junior, can continue to impress at West Brom on loan from Liverpool.
If he does that and secures a permanent switch, City would cash in through a significant sell-on clause. Alternatively, if he stays at Anfield, they will receive money for each appearance.
Explaining how Bradford plan for a season, Rhodes added: “We set a budget that we know will bring a deficit. But then we look to claw back that amount over the course of the season.
“For the last two years, we have had to take different routes with 2012-13 seeing us reach the League Cup final and then last season seeing us have to sell Nahki (Wells).”
City have sold out their initial 3,500 ticket allocation for tomorrow and an allocation of a further 1,000 will be on sale today.
Match preview: Page 2.