FA Cup replays: Yeovil and Accrington fight for Manchester United bonanza

Yeovil manager Gary Johnson reckons earnings from the United game could be around £250,000

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The Independent Online

It is only the second round of the FA Cup but for Yeovil Town and Accrington Stanley, this evening’s replay at Huish Park might as well be a semi-final given the size of the prize at stake – a home tie against Manchester United.

The potential windfall reaped by a third-round encounter with Louis van Gaal’s side would provide the perfect early Christmas present for either club and led Gary Johnson, manager of League One side Yeovil, to describe Accrington’s visit yesterday as “probably the biggest game in Yeovil’s history”.

Whoever wins will receive not just £27,000 in prize money for reaching the third round but a £144,000 fee for the live television broadcast of the United game and when matchday takings and radio and highlights fees are factored in, Johnson estimates that victory tonight would be worth “probably a little bit more than a quarter of a million maybe”.

There were 1,440 at the 1-1 draw between the sides 10 days ago but Yeovil have sold around five times as many tickets for the replay, and Johnson’s team, winners at Notts County in the last round, warmed up for tonight with a 4-0 win at his son Lee’s Oldham side on Saturday.

For League Two Accrington, the incentive is arguably even greater. The sight of United descending on Stanley’s 5,057-capacity Crown Ground for a first meeting of the clubs since 1946 would leave the romantics dewy-eyed but their manager, John Coleman, is equally aware of the huge economic benefits to a club whose annual playing budget is £500,000 – or roughly £10,000 a week. A tie with United would yield at least £220,000, surpassing by some distance the £150,000 they made from their run to the fourth round five years ago.Coleman said: “The financial implications for the club would be massive. You’re looking in the region of 50 per cent of our budget.”