Kidderminster Harriers are set to miss out on a £20,000 FA Cup windfall due to Blackpool supporters staging a mass boycott of Sunday’s first-round tie.
But fans planning to boycott the game are being urged to donate cash instead to make up for the Harriers’ lost funds.
The draw against the League Two club initially appeared a welcome money-spinner for non-league Harriers, who are entitled to half of the total gate receipts.
But that sum will now be significantly reduced, with home supporters set to stay away in their thousands as part of an ongoing protest against owners the Oyston family. Sunday’s crowd is likely to be the lowest at Bloomfield Road for decades, with the Seasiders confirming only one stand of the 16,750-seater stadium will be opened.
In response, Blackpool Supporters Trust have called for home supporters to instead donate funds to Harriers. A statement on the Blackpool Supporters Trust website reads: “If each supporter were to donate between £6 and £13 (£6 represents the percentage of the £13 ticket price that would normally go to Kidderminster), the Trust will gift the sum of all the £6 donations to Kidderminster Harriers to compensate them for the boycott and will forward any additional amounts to the independent Justice4Fans fund.”
But while grateful for the gesture, Harriers chairman Colin Gordon expects his club to still be left severely out of pocket. “Under normal circumstances we would have expected to earn around £25,000 from this tie but even with the donations we are probably going to miss out on £20,000, simply because of how small the crowd will be,” he said. “It is typical of our luck. You work your hardest to get through to the first round proper and then get paired with a club going through these kind of problems.”
Harriers have been steadily getting back on their feet after almost going out of business 12 months ago and a significant FA Cup cash boost would have helped. Currently playing two levels below their opponents in National League North, John Eustace’s team have already won through three rounds to reach this stage of the competition. More than 700 supporters are expected to make the trip north and are now likely to outnumber those in the home section.
Gordon also confirmed he and the club’s board would not be using the director’s facilities at Bloomfield Road but will instead attend the game as supporters, in an act of ‘solidarity and understanding’ with the home fans. “With their supporters being so generous in their appeal for donations, I thought it would not be right for me to go and have my roast dinner and watch the game from the directors’ box,” he said. “Instead we will have fish and chips with them in the car park beforehand.”Subscribe to our Newsletter