Cheltenham Town: Baker's delight at £70k TV windfall
PAUL Baker described ESPN's decision to broadcast Cheltenham Town's FA Cup second round home tie against Hereford United as a "fantastic financial result."
With this season's crowds at the Abbey Business Stadium below the budgeted level, having the tie screened live on Monday, December 3 gives the Robins a significant cash boost.
With a broadcast fee of £67,925 already in the bag, plus a further £27,000 available to the winners through the FA Cup prize fund, Baker says the un-budgeted windfall will help balance the books.
"We are absolutely delighted to be chosen and it's been some time since we had the cameras at Whaddon Road for a live FA Cup tie," Baker said.
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"The revenue will provide a fantastic boost and it will also help with the club's profile too.
"Things are tight and you never know what's around the corner.
"We are still having to be careful and nearly £68,000 that we haven't budgeted for is a tremendous financial result for us."
Baker hopes the fact the match is being screened live does not have an adverse effect on the gate as Cheltenham bid to pick up their first victory over the Bulls since 1999 and their first over their local rivals at Whaddon Road since January 1969.
"The attraction of a floodlit tie against local rivals makes for a fantastic evening and I hope all our fans turn out to support the club," he said.
"We are hoping for a decent crowd and it's crucial that our loyal season ticket holders, who are our most important stakeholders, turn out in force as I am sure they will."
Baker had hoped the tie would be considered for television when the draw was originally made, but the fact it was at Cheltenham and not Edgar Street made it less likely.
"If it'd been at Hereford I think it would have been a no-brainer for TV," he said.
"They've left it late to make the decision, but anyone who has bought a ticket for the Saturday will be able to switch it to Monday or have a refund."
Hereford's squad includes four former contracted Robins players in Andy Gallinagh, Brian Smikle, Michael Townsend and Marley Watkins as well as midfielder Marlon Jackson, who had a brief loan spell with the club last season from Bristol City.
Cheltenham have met Hereford in the FA Cup five times, each of which was in the fourth qualifying round.
The Bulls have progressed four times, with the Robins last winning in 1946 thanks to a 4-3 replay victory.
The last time an FA Cup tie involving Cheltenham was shown live was the fourth round meeting with Newcastle United in January 2006, which the Premier League club won 2-0.
Mark Yates' side reached the third round with wins over Tranmere Rovers and Luton last season, earning a glamour tie at Tottenham Hotspur, where they performed admirably before succumbing to a 3-0 defeat.
The run helped fund the club record-equalling (£50,000) signing of winger Jermaine McGlashan from Aldershot Town.
â Cheltenham travel to Rotherham United in League Two tomorrow. Match preview, page 39