Hereford United chairman David Keyte says cost-cutting will continue ahead of FA Cup clash with Cheltenham Town

First published in Sport Hereford Times: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Reporter

CHAIRMAN David Keyte says he might start looking at Hereford United’s connections with Premier League clubs.

He made the quip after cash-strapped United were paired with old rivals Cheltenham Town in the FA Cup second round.

Keyte said he hadn’t yet spoken about the tie with his former right-hand-man Tim Russon, now commercial director of the Robins.

“We are just wondering whether we have got any connections with Manchester United or Liverpool in the third round,” joked Keyte.

“Beating Shrewsbury was a great day for us for obvious reasons and it gives us a bit of a financial lifeline.

“It was a very enjoyable day. I didn’t see Graham Turner - I think he had a few other things on his mind.

“There were some fairly bland draws for the second round so, if we were to be away from home, Cheltenham is a good one for us and the supporters.

“It would be nice to have been drawn at home but we expect to get around 1,000 tickets and, hopefully, we will shift most of those.”

The second-round clash at Whaddon Road will take place over the weekend of December 1 and 2.

Tickets for United fans are expected to go on sale in the middle of next week.

Former United vice-chairman Russon said he had a feeling his new club, Cheltenham, would be drawn against the Bulls.

“Both clubs will fancy their chances,” said Russon, who quit Edgar Street in the summer after admitting he was ‘deeply unhappy’ with some of the board’s decisions.

“Hereford United, after beating Shrewsbury, will be confident they can beat anyone and rightly so.

“We have been building a strong challenge at the top of League Two by playing well as a team.

“Because of this, and the home advantage, we are likely to start as favourites. But every cup tie has to be fought for.”

Russon added: “The FA Cup is all about gold and glory for teams at our level and, for the fans, it’s a chance to enjoy a dream of bigger and better things.”

Keyte said the cash from Saturday’s tie with Shrewsbury was still being counted - but the win wouldn’t halt the club’s planned cost-cutting exercise.

“We have to re-structure the club because the gates are not reaching the break-even figure and we are having talks this week,” said Keyte.

“We have to restructure - there’s a lot of things to go through.”

He said the share of the gate money from the Shrewsbury tie would be around £15,000 each plus money from the ITV television highlights.

“I got a bit of stick for saying the size of the crowd was disappointing,” said Keyte. “I thought there would have been a 4,000 crowd for a game like Shrewsbury Town.

“The football club costs £25,000 per week to run and we are just paying the wages at the moment.”

United will pocket £30,500 in prize money from their two wins in the FA Cup.

Keyte said supporters’ donations had now reached ‘a fantastic’ £22,000.

“We’re not getting ahead of ourselves but it’s every small club’s dream to get a big draw in the FA Cup third round,” he said. “Cheltenham went away to Tottenham in the cup last season and when Crawley went to Manchester United, they cleared £1 million.”

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