One of the reasons lower league teams get so excited about facing Premier League opposition in the FA Cup is the fact that they get money.
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Sutton United are expected to get a total of around £700,000 from their FA Cup clash against Arsenal, which is huge for a National League club.
Speaking recently, Sutton manager, Paul Doswell, explained that the Arsenal stars may have to deal with luke-warm (at best) showers and a leaky roof. However, the money they earn from the clash is set to go towards some much-needed refurbishments.
“We thought about putting new shower heads in… for about two seconds,” Doswell said ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Gander Green Lane. “Then we thought no. At the end of the day we haven’t done it for any of the other teams coming down.
“It has only been because we haven’t been able to afford it. We’re not trying to be big and clever. One of the players said to me the other day ‘when I played against you it was always hot in the dressing room.’ I said ‘well it’s because we can’t turn the valve off on the radiator.’
“It’s nothing clever. We just don’t have the money. The one thing the Cup run won’t do is go into buying players – our wage budget is very strict – but what it will do is allow us to build four new dressing rooms for the young players.
“The roof is probably just about to leak – it splashed me on the nose during the Leeds game. There’s a leak by the bar as well. We’ll get that completely redone. The boiler is absolutely shot to pieces; at best they’ll get lukewarm showers. I don’t think we’ve got a water softener either. The water is struggling to get through the shower head.
“The reality is, and I do mean this, we can refurbish the whole club, get the academy and the chairman has said we can add two more bulbs to the floodlights.”
Stepping inside Sutton’s away dressing room will be a very different experience to those visiting the Emirates.
For one, it’s painted a lovely shade of brown and there’s barely enough room to get Olivier Giroud through the door.
“About nine years ago when I got here, we [Doswell’s building firm] were doing a big council scheme in Southampton,” the Sutton boss explained, “and we had a lot of brown paint left over and I thought I’d come in and paint the away dressing room chocolate brown to reflect our colours.”
Doswell also revealed that they’ve now had a sunken bath from the 1960s removed, which he describes as a “major improvement”.Click here for reuse options!
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