Danny Cowley says he lost out on £740 and his company car after Lincoln City lost to Arsenal last year in the FA Cup.
The non-league minnows faced up against the Gunners after triumphing over Burnley in the previous round. Cowley says their sponsor gave them a reward for beating The Clarets, but then took it away again after the game, reports The Sun.
“When we beat Burnley away, we had our company car upgraded by a local sponsor from an Audi A3 to an Audi A8, which was like Knight Rider. But the day after we were knocked out by Arsenal, they took it away.”
Not only that, but the Lincoln City boss also struggled with transport and accommodation directly after the game, saying: “We walked out of Wenger’s office – having been wined and dined by him for 90 minutes – and suddenly it occurred to us we hadn’t made any transport plans. So we stood on a pavement thumbing for a cab. That cost me £40.
“We had wanted to stay at the Holiday Inn, but someone at the club told us we could and should stay at the posh Landmark Hotel in Marylebone where the team had stayed the previous night.
“But when we checked out the next morning we discovered no-one had paid for it – and I got strung £700! So playing Arsenal cost me a bloody fortune. For £740, I could’ve taken my family away on holiday for a week.”
Nonetheless, the cup run gave Lincoln a chance to invest in their future and attempt to bridge the gap to the rest of the teams in the football league, as Cowley explained to The Guardian.
“We’re trying to make that step from non-league to Football League.What was really important for Nicky and I is that we used the money to create a legacy off the Cup run. It is about trying to have sustained success and investing the money back into the club and structure.
“We’re in the process of buying our own training ground which will be a massive step in the right direction for our club. That will give us the facilities to give us the provision to keep developing our own players.”
Cowley added that they couldn’t wait for the FA Cup to get back underway again.
“We’re looking forward to being reacquainted with the greatest cup competition in the world. After playing against the likes of [Mesut] Özil and [Alexis] Sánchez we’ll never walk on the football pitch fearing anyone again.”
In the end, the Gunners did manage a comfortable victory against Lincoln, with Mesut Özil and Alexis Sanchez both playing the majority of the match.
However, the journey to get there, and the experience of playing in front of all those fans, as well as the obvious financial benefits, are all part of a hopefully long-lasting legacy their 2016/17 season will leave behind.
So, although it may not all have worked out exactly as planned, I’m sure Cowley will look back on their match against Arsenal as a fantastic experience.