Didcot not viewing Emirates FA Cup purely as a cash cow

Friday 06 Nov 2015
Clubs will receive £18,000 for winning their first round ties

Didcot Town are the lowest ranked team left in this year’s Emirates FA Cup, but joint-manager Jamie Heapy says they have no plans to “take the money and run” when Exeter City come to town on Sunday.

The Railwaymen, ranked 95 places below League Two Exeter, are in the first round for the first time in their 108-year history having recovered from two goals down to defeat Brentwood Town 4-2 in the previous round.

Since being paired with the Grecians in the first round draw and BT Sport selecting the game for live TV coverage Heapy, who co-manages the team with Ian Concannon, describes the goings on at their 3,000-capacity Loop Meadow Stadium as “crazy”.

Didcot Town v Exeter City

The Emirates FA Cup
First Round Proper
Midday, Sunday 8 November 2015
Loop Meadow Stadium, Didcot Town FC
Live on BT Sport
Winning club to receive £18,000 from prize fund
FA live broadcast fee is £67,500 per club

There are comparisons to draw between their journey this year and that of Warrington Town last term, who beat Exeter in the first round before losing to Gateshead in round two.

The Wire earned an estimated £500,000 for their efforts, but Heapy says Didcot will not be content with simply rolling over and counting their money on Monday morning – they will be going all out to win.

“We have had them watched and done our research,” said Heapy, who still plays for Didcot but is currently nursing a thigh strain and faces a race to be fit for Sunday.

“We don’t want to just turn up get hammered 6-0 or 7-0 and say ‘we have got our money, thank you very much’. We want to win.

“The pressure is on them, they are the league club. The only pressure on us is from within our own group, because we have no plans to just roll over.

“It’s been crazy. There has been lots of attention on us, but it’s been great. It’s good for the club to get a bit of limelight and to be on TV is even better.

“It’s certainly been different from our normal week-to-week work. All the players are looking forward to it.

“The spirit in the camp and the atmosphere this week has been good, though I dare say there will be a few nerves on Sunday.

“I think it’s up to myself and Ian to try and settle those nerves. We have to view it as just another game and one that we can win.

“We’re staying in a hotel in the area on Saturday night that we have kindly been allowed to use and when we told the boys they said it was a good idea and that they were looking forward to it. We want to be as professional as we can, so this is a step towards that.”

The FA Cup has not been kind to Exeter in recent years.

As well as defeat to Warrington Town they have fallen at the first hurdle for five years in a row and have come out of the hat second 11 times out of the last 12 FA Cup draws.

But striker Tom Nichols is confident their luck can change.

Tom Nichols

Exeter City's Tom Nichols

He said: “We haven’t had the best of history in this competition.

“We lost to Warrington last year which was hugely disappointing but we are hoping to have learned from that and can take it into this tie.

“The players do not really talk about the long-term history in the dressing room. The Warrington game has been mentioned, but we are just trying to prepare for this like a normal game.

“We have to learn how to deal with playing on the television and the pitch is not going to be brilliant again I suspect.

“We didn’t have a good start against Warrington [conceding in the seventh minute] and we must ensure we come out of the blocks with all guns blazing.”

By FA Staff