Borehamwood FC: how dream FA Cup run will benefit the club in the future

For many clubs participating in the FA Cup, the financial benefits of progressing through the oldest cup competition in world football may not mean much.

For lower league sides, however, it could be the difference between remaining financially stable for the next few years or not, especially in these troubling times financially for clubs outside of the elite level. 

After their magical run last season, Boreham Wood FC is one such club where the money earned in the competition will make all the difference for them on and off the pitch for years to come.

After reaching the fifth round of the FA Cup last season, how much did the National League side earn from the magic of the cup, and how could that benefit them long-term?

A Brief Overview of The Cup Run

Boreham Wood entered the 2021/22 edition of the FA Cup in the fourth qualifying round against National League rivals Barnet FC, who the Wood narrowly defeated away at the Hive 0-1 to reach the first round proper. 

Another National League side lay in wait for Luke Garrard’s men in the form of Eastleigh F.C.

A double from forward Scott Boden in front of their home supporters at Meadow Park was enough to see Boreham Wood through to the second round. 

A packed four thousand strong at Meadow Lane were there to witness the demolition of local rivals St Albans City FC, in a 4-0 thrashing to see Boreham Wood cruise to the third round proper.

Football League opposition came next as the Wood drew League One side AFC Wimbledon.

While the Dons were the favourites on paper this had the air of an upset and sure enough, the magic of the cup prevailed. 

At the 10-minute mark, Boreham Wood took the lead through Tyrone Marsh to shock the visiting South Londoners.

A late second goal put the game to bed 2-0, and Boreham Wood qualified for the fourth round proper with many people starting to take notice of the plucky National League side. 

The biggest shock at the hands of the Wood came in round four against Championship side and Premier League promotion chasers Bournemouth.

Much like the previous tie with AFC Wimbledon many, despite the gulf in quality of the players and placement in the football pyramid, saw this as a potential upset of the cards.

In front of their travelling support to the Vitality Stadium, Boreham Wood FC would claim a famous 0-1 win thanks to a goal from the experienced Mark Ricketts to dumb the Cherries out and progress to the fifth round of the FA Cup.

This truly cemented Luke Garrard’s men in the history books as another miracle run. 

Sadly the fifth round would be where Boreham Wood’s luck would run out. Premier League opposition was waiting for them in the form of Frank Lampard’s Everton.

Even with this being their toughest task of the tournament yet, many still felt that the Wood had a chance of overcoming the Toffees, due to Everton’s struggles in the Premier League last season, and the Cup was seen as far from a priority for them.

Long-time supporter Craig Payne on facing the Premier League side said: “When it said Everton away I thought wow, it was the dream match-up for us.”

Payne also stated that the fans wanted a big side that would give a big crowd and a great draw.

Everton understandably then fielded a heavily roasted side against the National League team, and just passed the hour mark the score remained 0-0.

It was Venezuelan international Salomón Rondón, who dealt the first blow, breaking the deadlock in the 57th minute to put Everton ahead.

Despite some heroics from Boreham Wood to try and keep their Cup run afloat, they sadly sank to a second from the veteran striker late on and bowed out of the FA Cup in a 2-0 defeat.

Despite the disappointment, Boreham Wood FC could hold their heads high as they had not only been admirable to reach this stage of the cup but to play at a Premier League ground such as Goodison Park would surely have yielded a huge financial benefit for a team in the fifth tier of English football. 

Credit to Tony Marsden

How Much Was Earned?

Throughout their FA Cup run, Boreham Wood FC earned a decent amount of revenue for reaching the fifth round:

  • Fourth round qualifying winners – £9,375
  • First round proper winners – £22,629
  • Second round proper winners – £34,000
  • Third round proper winners – £82,000
  • Fourth round proper winners – £90,000

This accumulates in total £238,004 which to a Premier League side is not a huge amount. But for a National League side could be the difference between keeping the club afloat during these difficult times financially for teams in the lower leagues.

Some Looked at this achievement and saw this as the reason for Boreham Wood’s failure to reach the National League playoffs for a chance of being promoted to the Football League.

With this came the misconception that that possible promotion would have benefited the club more financially.

Author and Woods supporter Brett Lewis disagreed with these sentiments and said: “We were in a similar position, the year before and still dropped off towards the end.”

Lewis also made comparisons to other FA Cup upsetters Lincoln City and Crawley Town, both of whom reached the same stage of the FA Cup as Boreham Wood did in previous seasons and yet were still able to gain promotion to the football league  

Perhaps in the short term, this would have been true with TV rights and sponsorship deals being more lucrative in League Two.

But with that, would come the risk of relegation back to the non-league which many clubs have never recovered from. 

Many clubs would much rather see their side go on an FA Cup run with the hope of drawing a big side as the financial benefits are much more substantial.

The money generated can be used over a longer period to improve facilities, training ground, balancing the books, and grow the club further so that they are a much more sustainable model.

Craig Payne on this said: “The club is more ready now to fight for promotion than last season.”

Payne also commented on the improvements to the squad, facilities over the summer and the new fan zone, which is a very welcome addition for supporters. 

This longer-term way of thinking is hopefully the key to Boreham Woods future success.

The prize money from the cup run can be put into the club, as they are doing, and make a more sustainable model with the possibility of promotion without the worry of relegation and the financial struggles that come with it.  

Going Forward for Boreham Wood FC 

The question now is, what should Boreham Woods season expectations be?

After such a fantastic season with the FA Cup, a push for the playoffs and potential promotion has to be on the cards.

With the FA Cup run still fresh in the minds of the club and supporters, the sky’s the limit for the Wood this campaign as they look to build on last season’s magical journey.  

Featured image: Tony Marsden

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