Accrington owner Andy Holt laid bare the financial realities of his third tier outfit as he welcomed the bumper pay days the FA Cup can generate.
While many Premier League clubs can afford to pay their talent six-figure salaries every week, Stanley, currently 14th in Sky Bet League One, have an annual turnover of around £2-3million.
The prospect of a £400,000 injection of cash for overcoming Derby in the FA Cup fourth round this weekend is therefore welcomed by Holt.
He recalled when the floodlights failed two and a half years ago in a play-off game against AFC Wimbledon because someone had switched on the shower, as well as an occasion when the use of sprinklers on the pitch meant nobody could wash their hands.
He said: “Real basic facilities that you take for granted, we didn’t have.
“When you got substituted, you weren’t allowed to have a shower, you had to sit cold until the end of the match and the floodlights were turned off.
“Seriously, we used to turn off the middle floodlights so we could put the showers on.”
Accrington have since upgraded some of the facilities at the Wham Stadium, but there is more work still to be carried out.
Holt revealed famous fan David Lloyd – the former England cricketer and coach – has collared him about some of the issues.
Holt said: “On Saturday we’re guaranteed a couple of hundred thousand pounds. Car parks are going to be done, more drains are going to be done – I’m sick of doing drains.
“Bumble keeps having a go at me because I’m always digging holes but the water has got to go somewhere instead of flooding the pitch. We’re getting there with that and we’ll start to see things improve.
“That’s football – if you’re winning then you’re earning but if you’re losing then you’re dying.
“The money does really start rolling in as you get higher up, relative to Accrington, remember, and £400,000 is a lot, to us it’s massive.
“We beat Ipswich (in the third round of the cup) and we’ve got to beat Derby now. But who knows if we beat Derby, we could end up with a new hospitality area sooner than we think.
“I’m pinching myself. I joined this club three and a bit years ago and I never dreamt we could go so far in the time that we’ve done it.”
Holt feels he is different to other club owners because he is targeting sustainability and not short-term gains.
He added: “We’re fairly clear-focused, which makes me different to virtually every other owner.
“My success is building a great club that’s great for Accrington and great for the community, something that’s going to last long into the future.
“Another owner might judge success by getting into the Premier League, I’ve never made promises to get to the Championship.
“I’m not saying I don’t want to, I’ve got the ambition, but the over-riding ambition is that we still have a great little club here. That’s really the job.”
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