BLYTH Spartans will have made £400,000 by the time their FA Cup odyssey has run it's course, but chairman Tony Patten feels putting the club back on the national footballing map is equally as valuable as the major cash influx.
The huge TV and gate receipts from the club’s run to the third round will secure the future of the Spartans, helping them pay off some long-standing debts and giving Blyth the kind of financial base to achieve their ambition of returning to the Conference. But it is renewing Blyth’s love affair with the competition that has pleased Patten more than anything else.
“Everyone asks how much money we’ll be making and I reckon that when all is said and done after the Blackburn game we’ll have made somewhere between £350,000 and £400,000, which is a phenomenal amount.
“But the most important thing is giving the town of Blyth more fantastic memories of the FA Cup, and putting the club back on the map.
“Everyone knows about the tradition of this club with the FA Cup from 1978, so to be part of it is just a terrific feeling. As for the money, it won’t be wasted. We inherited a club in 2001 which was up to it’s neck in debt, we’ve worked hard to get it back onto a sound financial footing and this is just an incredible bonus for us.
“Over the next five to six years we’ll invest wisely with an eye on getting us back into a national division in the near future.”
After grabbing just four hours sleep Patten spent yesterday at a Christmas Rotary event, but planning for the Blackburn game has already begun in earnest.
“You wouldn’t believe how much work it is to put on a game of this magnitude,” he said. “There are so many meetings to be held and things to do but we put on the Bournemouth game and we’re more than capable of putting this game on too.
“We will be able to sell out the ground plenty of times over but we’re making sure that the supporters who were at the Bournemouth game get tickets first if they have kept their stub from the game.”
As for the Blackburn game, Patten believes that new Rovers boss Sam Allardyce will not be looking forward to his first visit to Croft Park.
“They’re a good side but we’ll be up for it and the supporters will make a huge noise, just like they did on Tuesday.
“To be honest, I’m not sure that Sam will be that happy bringing his team up to Blyth for one of his first games in charge.”