Win or lose, minor league giantkillers Sutton United are set for a bumper payday when they host 12-time winners Arsenal in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Monday.
Defeat for the lowest ranked club left in the draw, a side that beat once-mighty Leeds United 1-0 in the previous round, could see them bow out with up to £700 000 in the bank.
And an unthinkable victory at their 5 000-seat Gander Green Lane ground would likely add another nought to the eventual total.
Winning the fourth round tie secured prize money of £90 000 and a fifth round victory would double that sum, according to the FA’s figures.
To that they can add £144 000 from live television coverage of the Leeds match and £247 500 for Monday’s game, according to media reports.
Sutton have done a special shirt sponsorship deal, with more advertising in the pipeline as millions of viewers tune in.
The club gets to keep half the gate receipts, likely to total around £100 000 on Monday, which would have been far more had the game been drawn at Arsenal’s 60 000-seater Emirates Stadium.
The possibility of a subsequent away trip to another Premier League glamour team such as Manchester United or Chelsea means Sutton are effectively playing for a potential £1 million bonanza on Monday.
“Getting to the fifth round of the FA Cup and playing Arsenal is like nothing they have experienced, at least since 1989 and their cup run, and perhaps ever,” said David Fraser, managing director of PR agency Ready10.
Fraser, whose agency has been brought in to help with sponsorship and assist the club’s existing setup, said he had been getting calls from Brazil to Japan with more than 50 reporters expected at a media day on Thursday.
“This is a fantastic fairytale for Sutton and yes, they are generating some good funds for the club that will help safeguard the future for many years to come,” he said.
Sutton are best remembered for knocking Coventry City out of the FA Cup in 1989, two years after the then top-tier side had lifted the trophy, but their non-playing staff are volunteers.
Manager Paul Doswell, a property company owner, works for free and has bankrolled the club to the tune of £2 000 a week.
He has already said that none of the prize money will go on signing players, with all of it earmarked for infrastructure including fixing a leaky roof and adding new youth changing rooms. (