Huddersfield Town set for £1m Emirates cushion

HUDDERSFIELD TOWN chairman Dean Hoyle expects the League One club to bank up to £1m from their FA Cup fourth round tie against Arsenal.

The Terriers can look forward to the bumper pay day from the trip to the Emirates Stadium on January 30 thanks to the Gunners safely negotiating a potentially tricky replay at Leeds United.

Arsenal's 3-1 victory at Elland Road on Wednesday night served as a timely pick-me-up for Town just 24 hours after their 4-0 thrashing by Carlisle United in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy Northern Area final first leg.

Huddersfield's capitulation at Brunton Park means the Cumbrians are now overwhelming favourites to reach the Wembley final on April 3, leaving Hoyle to count the cost of missing out on a potential cash windfall from the competition that is the sole preserve of teams from Leagues One and Two.

He said: "The FA Cup game will help our finances due to Arsenal being one of the bigger pay days. It is the sort of draw every small club wants. I would imagine we can expect to earn somewhere between 750,000 and 1m from the game, especially with it being shown live on television.

"In terms of finances, that is very welcome as, after what happened on Tuesday night at Carlisle when we probably blew 500,000, such an amount will act as a useful cushion.

"Tuesday night was very, very disappointing. In footballing terms, there is no way a club like Huddersfield should have blown it in the first leg. But we can now look forward to going to Arsenal and a chance to visit one of the best stadiums in the country."

Town's visit to Arsenal on Sunday week, which will be screened live by ESPN, seems certain to draw a near capacity crowd to the Emirates Stadium with the north London club's 10 Premier League games this season having been watched by an average of more than 60,000 fans.

It has been a similar story in the domestic Cup competitions with Leeds's visit earlier this month drawing a crowd of 59,520 and November's 2-0 win over Wigan Athletic in the Carling Cup being watched by 59,525.

Likewise, the lowest gate to watch the Gunners' three Champions League group games against SC Braga, Shakhtar Donetsk and Partizan Belgrade was the 58,845 that saw Arsene Wenger's side beat the Serbs in December.

Huddersfield will be backed by a travelling army of 5,188 fans after turning down a larger allocation due to the condition put on the sale of away tickets by all Premier League clubs.

Hoyle explained: "We were offered nearly 9,000 tickets but decided to take 5,000 instead. The thing with the offer of 9,000 tickets is that Huddersfield Town would have to pay for them all regardless of whether they are sold, whereas the 5,000 are on sale or return terms.

"That was a risk the club did not want to take as it could have eaten into the potential amount we can earn from the tie, which after probably blowing 500,000 in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy this week is something we cannot afford to do."

Huddersfield's trip to Arsenal will be the first competitive meeting between the clubs in 18 years, though they did meet in August 2008 as part of Town's Centenary celebrations.

Self-made multi-millionaire Hoyle, a lifelong Terriers fan, is eagerly looking forward to the club's second visit to a Premier League stadium of the season following August's Carling Cup defeat to Everton.

He said: "It will be a great day. Obviously, looking at Wednesday's game at Leeds it is going to be a huge hill for us to climb to get a result. We could all see just what a quality team Arsenal have.

"I am an optimist but also a realist and know that our chances of pulling off an upset are remote.

"But, this being football and the FA Cup in particular, stranger things have happened. The most important thing is that it will be a great day out for the fans. They have the opportunity to go to a great stadium and, hopefully, enjoy their day in London.

"In terms of history, there is a special bond between the two clubs. Herbert Chapman led us to League titles and then did the same for Arsenal. I realise it was a long time ago but the bond is there.

"We also have Benik Afobe on loan from Arsenal and, just like Arsenal, we like to play good football. It would be great to have strong links with a club like Arsenal."

It is unclear as yet whether loanee Afobe will be able to play against his parent club as, unlike Leeds's Sanchez Watt who faced the Gunners this week, the teenager's switch to the Galpharm is not a season-long deal.

Town's Johnstone's Paint Trophy Northern Area final second leg tie against Carlisle on February 8 has, unsurprisingly, not been selected for live transmission by Sky with the second meeting between Brentford and Exeter City instead being shown.