Wembley trip would net £1.8m profit for Bradford

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JULIAN RHODES last night revealed that victory in tomorrow’s FA Cup quarter-final would leave Bradford City on course to make a minimum profit of around £1.8m.

The Bantams host Reading at a sold-out Valley Parade knowing that a third trip to Wembley inside a little over two years is potentially just 90 minutes away.

Gary Liddle, who would have missed Bradford City's FA Cup tie with Reading through suspension had Tuesday's match been postponed, trains with his team-mates yesterday (Picture: James Hardisty).

Gary Liddle, who would have missed Bradford City's FA Cup tie with Reading through suspension had Tuesday's match been postponed, trains with his team-mates yesterday (Picture: James Hardisty).

City’s exploits in the cups have already guaranteed the club a financial surplus this term for the fifth time in six years.

However, if Bradford can prevail in their first appearance in the last eight for 39 years, the Valley Parade coffers will be in for an unprecedented swelling through prize money and a share of the semi-final proceeds.

Joint-chairman Rhodes last night told The Yorkshire Post: “At the start of a season, we look to set budgets where we have a deficit and then chip away at it during the season.

“It has worked well for us in the last three years, either through cup runs this season and 2012-13 (when Bradford got to the Capital One Cup final) or selling Nahki Wells (last term).

“This season that deficit was set at £1m, but beating Leeds (in the League Cup live on Sky) and our run in the FA Cup has wiped it out. Beating Chelsea in the fourth round put us at break-even level and then Sunderland took us into the black.

“As we stand now, our profit for the season is on course to be around £600,000. That is if we go out against Reading. But if we go through, then we are looking at a profit of £1.8m.

“Can you imagine the impact on the club that sort of money would have? A £600,000 surplus would be great, of course it would. A really good amount to take into next season.

“But if it is £1.8m then that would really allow us to have a go if we are still in this division. It would sort us out for the next few years.”

Bradford’s robust financial health in recent years is in stark contrast to the nightmare period the club endured in the early years of the Millennium 
after what proved to be a ruinous second season in the Premier League.

City twice collapsed into administration, the first time in 2002 with debts of £36m and the club losing upwards of £1m a month.

Rhodes, a director since 1997, lost millions keeping Bradford afloat after becoming chairman in the wake of the second administration 11 years ago before joining forces with Mark Lawn in the summer of 2007.

The pair were at the helm as Bradford reached the Capital One Cup final and clinched promotion from League Two via the play-offs.

This double success helped the club post a profit of £1.59m for the financial year 2012-13. It followed a £177,000 surplus the previous season and a loss of £477,000 in 2010-11. Last year saw City post a modest profit of £42,000.

Battling through to a quarter-final with Reading has made the cups already worth around £1.6m to the League One club this term.

Should the Bantams beat the Royals, however, then it will represent another major pay-day with the winners receiving £360,000 in prize money.

Another £450,000 will then be guaranteed as the payment for both losing semi-finalists, while if City get to the final that payment will be doubled.

Added to that guaranteed £810,000 for reaching the last four would be the share of gate receipts and TV income that all-semi-finalists receive, which last season saw Hull and Sheffield United pocket £380,000 each.

Rhodes added: “To be in this position after what happened all those years ago is a great feeling. The balance sheet is healthy and I suppose the temptation is to be blase about those dark days.

“But we should never forget them. Bradford City almost disappeared completely, I’ll admit there were times when I didn’t think we could survive. Thankfully, we did and here we are looking forward to another fantastic occasion at Valley Parade.”

As welcome as the Cup run has been to the balance sheet, it is glory on the pitch that is fuelling the feelgood factor in Bradford.

Rhodes added: “To me, the Reading game is a bonus. No one expected us to get any further than Chelsea so this tie and Sunderland were games we weren’t expecting. Victory is another tall order, as Reading have to be seen as favourites.

“But I know our players will give it everything and, hopefully, that will be good enough to bring us another upset.”