Bradford City v Burton Albion: Cup win would actually cost us money, says Bantams chief

Mark Lawn has revealed that Bradford City will lose money tonight if the club can make it through to the fourth round of the League Cup for the first time in almost a quarter of a century.

The Bantams host fellow League Two side Burton Albion in a tie that pits together the two lowest ranked sides still in the competition.

A crowd of 5,000 to 6,000 is expected at Valley Parade as City look to add the Brewers to a list of scalps claimed already this season that includes Championship side Watford and League One promotion hopefuls Notts County.

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If Phil Parkinson’s can do that, Bradford will be able to look forward to a potentially money-spinning game in the fourth round – something that City’s joint chairman Lawn admits will be badly needed.

He told the Yorkshire Post: “We are in a bit of a crazy situation in that if we beat Burton and go through to the fourth round, the club will lose money.

“The problem with the League Cup is clubs don’t get anything in terms of prize money for going through to each stage, unlike the FA Cup where the amount goes up the further you go in the competition.

“But the Professional Footballers’ Association won’t let us change the bonus structure that exists in football, which sees players paid a bonus the further the club goes.

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“A combination of bonuses, a small crowd and no prize money means we will lose money if we do go through. I won’t say how much, as that would not be fair. But we will lose money.

“Obviously, we were hoping for a big draw against a Premier League side. Or even a derby against Leeds United. I am sure Burton were hoping for the same.

“Had that happened, then the money through the gate and potential income from television would have meant the club making a surplus on the tie.

“But this way, the opposite will be true. Having said that, if we can get through then the chances of landing a big team in the fourth round would increase and that would help offset any loss this time.”

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Under Football League rules, no prize money is paid out in the competition now known as the Capital One Cup until the semi-finals and final.

Instead, all surplus funds earned through sponsorship and general income are pooled and then distributed among the 72 member clubs. The upshot is Bradford need get a plum draw if the competition is to turn into a money-spinner for the club should they progress tonight.

If Burton are beaten, it will represent the Bantams’ longest run in the League Cup since 1988-89 when top flight Everton were beaten at Valley Parade en route to Terry Dolan’s side losing to Bristol City in the quarter-finals.

It is a mark of how woeful City have generally been in the Cups that Lawn, a lifelong fan before joining the board in 2007, can readily recall both that 1988 win over the Toffees and an FA Cup triumph over the same opposition nine years later.

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The Bradford chief said: “Those were both great games and great times. The first one saw Stuart McCall come back just a few months after being sold to Everton, while the second game at Goodison is the one where Chris Waddle scored from 45 yards.

“I remember being in the upper tier of the stand on the side at Goodison and jumping up and down on the balustrade when the third goal went in.”

Since that run to the quarters, City have bowed out in the first round 11 times and the second on six occasions.

The club’s record in recent years is even worse with just two ties having been won in the 11 seasons preceding this one.

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Lawn added: “I think it is fair to say we are due a bit of a run in the League Cup. I don’t just mean in terms of bringing in income, as welcome as that would be.

“I mean in terms of giving the fans a big game to look forward to.

“They have stuck with us for so long that they deserve a medal.

“Being drawn away at Manchester United would be huge.

“As would a big club at home as Valley Parade hasn’t been filled since we increased the capacity to 25,000.”

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Phil Parkinson is likely to give Ricky Ravenhill and Ritchie Jones their first run-out of the season.

Last six games: Bradford City WLDWWW, Burton Albion LDWWWW.

Last time: Bradford City 1 Burton Albion 1; January 21, 2012; League Two.