"Forget the glory," Ben Robinson said, momentarily coming back down to earth after Burton stunned Middlesbrough, "it's about money really." The League Two club's chairman, along with manager Paul Peschisolido and two-goal hero Shaun Harrad, then proceeded to show he believed the exact opposite. Burton's first appearance in the fourth round would set the Staffordshire brewing town "buzzing".
"We've seen what FA Cup success can do," Robinson beamed, warming to the idea of romance and revenue going hand-in-hand. "It puts a spring in everybody's step. There's a feel-good factor in all the workplaces and offices."
The prizemoney and receipts from a "disappointing" crowd were "not life-changing", Robinson reflected, yet Peschisolido, finally emerging from the shadows of predecessor Nigel Clough and wife Karren Brady, reckoned days like this could be career-defining for his players. "These lads graft like you've never seen. There's no airs and graces, no arrogant players. They all just get on with it. A Cup run could change their lives."
Harrad is out of contract next summer and is already the subject of bids from Crawley and Northampton. Gary O'Neil's free-kick had made the Brewers droop but the 26-year-old's late double earned a TV showcase for talents which went largely unused when Peschisolido preferred James Collins.
A free-transfer recruit from Notts County in Burton's Conference days, the Arsenal-supporting Harrad had last started in November. He savoured his stoppage-time winner, and said: "I've been in bed all flued up after being out of the team for six weeks, and with the weather we've not been able to train much. Now I'm just delighted with the win and the way I took the goals."
Robinson revealed mixed emotions about the prospect of losing the top scorer. "Fortunately we're a club with no debts, so we don't need to sell our best players, unless it's a question of getting a really good price and the player wants to join a bigger club to further his career. That's different. There's a suggestion Shaun feels he can do it at a higher level. At his age, if he got the opportunity to go to a bigger club on a lot more money, he'd have to consider it."
Peschisolido, echoing comments about goalscorers down the decades, said a "rusty" Harrad "didn't do a heck of a lot else" except win the game. In knock-out football, however, the result is all, as Middlesbrough learned after dominating the tie.
Their manager, Tony Mowbray, omitted David Wheater, who is poised to move to the Premier League, with Bolton and Aston Villa leading the chase.
Burton Albion (4-4-1-1): Legzdins; Austin, Stanton (James, h-t), Moore (Phillips, 56), Malone; Maghoma, McGrath (Pearson, 52), Bolder, Webster; Penn; Harrad. Substitutes not used Poole (gk), Boertien, Hughes, Young.
Middlesbrough (4-4-2): Coyne; McMahon, Hines, Bates, Bennett; Hoyte, Bailey, O'Nell, Arca; Boyd, Lita. Substitutes not used Ripley (gk), Kink, Halliday, Williams, Smallwood, Park.
Possession Burton 43% Middlesbrough 57%
Shots on target Burton 5 Middlesbrough 9
Match rating 7/10.
Referee S Tanner (Somerset).
Booked: Burton Penn.
Man of the match Harrad.
Attendance 5,236.Reuse content