By Alex Narey
When Marcus Bignot arrived at Nethermoor Park to take the managerial reins alongside Russ O’Neill in the summer, the Lions were living off scraps that would normally be left to the vultures.
Relegated from the National League in May, the club’s finances were in disarray as they fought to maintain their Non-League top-flight status. With an over-inflated budget and no fewer than 44 players on the books, the task ahead for the managerial duo looked bleak with the decks needing to be cleared before an assault on the league could begin.
“When we arrived it was tough, but it’s why the cup run means so much to clubs like us,” Bignot told The NLP.
“The money that has been generated by getting to the second round is huge.”
Guiseley’s 4-3 victory over Cambridge United last Sunday meant the club had netted a combined £97,500 since entering the famous knockout competition in second round qualifying. And with another £75,000 set to land in the coffers before a ball has been kicked in their second round clash against Fleetwood Town – with the match selected for TV coverage on BT Sport – the injection of funds will go a long way as the club seeks to turn things around both on and off the pitch.
But Bignot is in no mood for the ride to stop – and is eyeing a date with the big boys come third round time on January 5.
“I said to the players when we entered the FA Cup back in September just how life-changing a good run could be,” said the former Chester, Solihull Moors and Grimsby boss. “We are never going to win it, but our final is the third round, because that is where the big money-spinning ties are.
“That is what it’s all about for clubs like us. You draw one of the big six away from home and it sets you up for years to come.
“This Cup run has presented the board with an opportunity to clear some of the debt we had from the summer, and the TV money from the second round is also a massive help.
“We are now in a good place but let’s not get ahead of ourselves; the money the Cup run has brought in will help with finances – we have all done the maths. But it won’t allow us to go out there and buy players at will as we look to climb the league. At the moment it is a nice return, but it won’t keep us going forever.”
Guiseley booked their place in the second round with one of the Cup’s most eventful ties so far this campaign. Overpowering United, they were sent on their way thanks to a Will Hatfield thunderbolt, before Cliff Moyo’s cross sailed over keeper David Forde to make to 2-0.
Further goals in the second half from Kaine Felix and Kingsley James appeared to put the tie well beyond the visitors, only for a late comeback to leave Bignot sweating on the touchline – a brace from Jabo Ibehre either side of a George Maris effort.
“Winning the game 4-0, I don’t think anybody expects it to go that way but sometimes that’s how football is. At 4-0, we were still trying to be relentless and build on what we had. There was a blatant penalty that we had turned away and then at 5-0 it really is game over.
“There were a few nerves when they pulled it back to 4-3 and those last two minutes in added time seemed like 20.
“This is a very young group and the Cup is so important because they can put themselves in the shop window, while for the older guys in the team, it’s a chance for them to enjoy some much-deserved glory.”
Tagged Guiseley AFC