Non-league Boreham Wood dumped Bristol Rovers out of the FA Cup with a surprise 2-0 victory at the Memorial Stadium. David Stephens and Will Evans scored two first-half goals without a response from the Gas.
It was a surprise result given that a week before Rovers had put in a commanding display against promotion chasing Peterborough United, winning 1-0. Joey Barton’s side had also won 2-1 against Colchester United in the EFL Trophy and a second cup win whilst not guaranteed was expected.
A strong team was named before kick-off and included top scorer Aaron Collins, as well as Antony Evans and first choice centre-back three Bobby Thomas, James Connolly and Lewis Gibson. Despite making four substitutes at half-time, they could not give Barton the desired response and they had to accept their exit from world football’s oldest cup competition.
The defeat for Rovers has deprived them of a big-day out against a big team. Their last big match in the FA Cup was a 3-2 defeat to Sheffield United in January 2021, but that was behind-closed-doors and at the Mem, so income wouldn’t have been anywhere near as it would be today. European Cup winners Aston Villa played Rovers at the Mem in January 2012 and Everton in September 200 but other than that, fans really haven’t been treated to any of the big boys since playing Liverpool in 1991/192 at Twerton Park.
As well as losing out on the possibility of playing the big teams in the FA Cup, there’s also some money they have missed out on. Here is what Bristol Rovers could have won had they overcome Boreham Wood.
How much did Bristol Rovers earn from their FA Cup run?
Bristol Rovers pocketed £41,000 from the football association for beating Rochdale in the first round of the FA Cup.Those who lose before the first-round proper pocketed some money but clubs
How much have Bristol Rovers missed out on?
If Rovers defeated Boreham Wood then they would have claimed £67,000 on top of the £41,000 they pocketed for their first-round victory.
Last season, for clubs whose matches are chosen for television coverage, they were awarded £144,000. If their ties went to a replay then they would receive £72,000.
For Bristol Rovers two FA Cup matches this season, they had a crowd of 4,679 against Rochdale and 4,769 against Boreham Wood. Their crowds are just over half of what Rovers’ average attendance has been this season at the Mem, which has been 8,747.
The FA Cup has a system in which both teams get 45% of the gate receipt revenue. If you’re a club outside the top two tiers, you’d have to juggle whether home advantage would give you the best chance of progressing against an away tie at a top Premier League team in which you would pocket more money.
In January 2015, it was reported by the BBC that Cambridge would earn up to £1.7m for taking Manchester United to a fourth-round replay. It may have been the next round, but it gives an idea that drawing one of the big teams away can help fund a club for a season.
Cambridge United were knocked out by Grimsby Town on the weekend. As League One and League Two clubs have to overcome two rounds to get to the third round stage, fixtures are usually pencilled in with games rearranged should they need to be.
Cambridge United and Bristol Rovers are due to meet on Saturday, January 8 and now that fixture will go ahead. Both teams are out of the FA Cup and whilst some of their league rivals host higher-level opposition, they will lay their match as scheduled.