The Barnsley minnows will be in the national spotlight this lunchtime as the first-round clash with Mansfield Town is shown live on TV.
A crowd of around 1,500 is expected at Sheerien Park as the Evo-Stik Premier League outfit look to cause an almighty upset by bridging a 64-place gap to Steve Evans’ men in the football pyramid.
Regardless of how the biggest game in the Ducks’ short history pans out, there can be little doubt just how much of a benefit the Cup has been financially to a club who only won their first tie in the competition two months ago.
“We are ambitious and that means we spend a lot of money compared to what comes in,” said Wood, who set Shaw Lane up in 2010, to The Yorkshire Post. “It is me who puts the bulk of the money in, as I want to see us go as far as we can.
“A tie like this is what the Cup is all about, a fairytale and dreams coming true. The first round of the FA Cup can be an unforgiving place and they won’t want to be that team making the headlines, embarrassed at losing to a non-League team.
“But, regardless of what happens in terms of the result, the FA Cup has already been huge for us as we have already earned way more than last season’s entire turnover.
“We probably brought in about £50,000 from gate receipts, Cup runs and so on (last term).”
Shaw Lane’s windfall includes the £67,500 TV fee that all six clubs being shown live in the first round will receive. Then, there is the £27,500 already banked in prize money for negotiating four qualifying rounds, while Wood estimates the club will break even today after police costs of around £3,500, plus stewarding (£2,000) and the erection of a temporary stand are taken into account.
For a club looking to make it six promotions in eight years this season, the Cup windfall is a welcome bonus.
“I leave the playing side to the manager (Craig Elliott),” added Wood, who set up Aquaforce plumbing solutions in 2003. “We work well together as a partnership.
“He has a budget and that’s that. My task is to keep the club moving off the field, getting the ground up to scratch and so on. What I have said all along is I won’t stand in the way of the team. If the team is progressing then I try to bring everything up to scratch and match the team off the field.”
Guiseley, Yorkshire’s other remaining non-league side in the Cup, are also hoping to make history tomorrow by beating Accrington Stanley at Nethermoor.
The Lions have never got beyond the first round, unlike manager Paul Cox who has previously steered three non-League outfits to the stage where Premier League and Championship clubs enter.
Mansfield Town giving Liverpool a huge scare in 2013 was the clear highlight and Cox’s experiences means he knows all about the benefits – financial and otherwise – that a Cup run can bring for a club.
“Psychologically, the Cup can give the entire place a lift and put the club on the map,” said the Guiseley chief, who also led Eastwood Town and Barrow into the third round.
“The season Mansfield played Liverpool, we were tenth in the Conference when the Cup started and yet went on to win promotion. The Cup can create genuine momentum.
“Secondly, the money is huge – and especially if you get on TV. We get a little bit of money for playing on Sunday this weekend, which always helps.
“But if we can get though and get a live TV date then, at non-league level, that changes things financially for a club. You get both the TV fee, plus increased sponsorship and money through the gate. People want to watch the Cup.
“I can’t say we got a new training ground or anything like that from the Cup runs at my former clubs. But the money was put to good use, improving the clubs I was at and helping take them forward. Money from the Cup allows a chairman to put into effect positive changes.
“The value of that cannot be over-estimated, especially as, for all the talk of money in football, not too much trickles down to our level.
“A lot of good people work very, very hard to keep clubs going, often voluntarily. Many clubs rely on the chairman putting his hand in his pocket, too, so the Cup can make a big difference.”