Tranmere will be able to put League One’s fight for survival to one side on Tuesday night when they face Watford at Prenton Park in an FA Cup third round replay.
However, if Rovers can edge past their Premier League opposition in the mud of Prenton Park on Tuesday night, the result may be hugely significant in terms of the league campaign. Victory will of course give us a home tie in the fourth round against more top-flight opposition.
If that were to happen, then with the all the respect in the world to Wolves, there is only one team Tranmere will want to face, and that is Manchester United. While Wolves have transformed themselves in to one of the most attractive teams in the Premier League and would bring a strong team of internationals to Prenton Park, it’s hard to see the game selling out.
At the time of writing, it looks as though the Watford replay will be lucky to attract a 9,000 gate to Prenton Park. Wolves would pass this mark, and bring a great following of their own, but it probably wouldn’t be quite big enough to fill the place.
However, if United came to town, while they’re not the team they once were (Wolves are arguably better), the glamour of playing one of the biggest clubs in world football would see Prenton Park no doubt packed to the rafters. The revenue from this would be vital.
Add to any gate receipts the fact that the game will be televised live on BT Sport, plus the prize money for getting through round three, and you begin to get an appreciation for how lucrative victory would be.
FA Cup revenue so far this season (excluding gate receipts)
Prize money for getting to the third round: £90,000
TV revenue for second round tie versus Chichester: £75,000
Potential fourth round pay day
Prize money for winning in round three – £135,000
TV revenue for fourth round tie – £150,000
There’s a lot of ifs and buts in here, and Tuesday is going to be very tough – perhaps tougher than some will believe. But victory against the Hornets will be worth more than £300,000 to Tranmere. In total, it will mean that this year’s FA Cup run has earned the club in the region of half a million pounds.
With a fight on our hands to avoid relegation, these funds could be vital in allowing Micky Mellon to strengthen his squad and move the club away from the bottom three.