‘The club stood by us during lockdown – now we can give them some payback’ – Hawks keeper Worner

Ross Worner believes the Hawks players can pay back the club’s faith in them by continuing their FA Cup run.

By Lewis Mason
Saturday, 28th November 2020, 12:54 pm
Hawks keeper Ross Worner. Photo by Dave Haines/Portsmouth News
Hawks keeper Ross Worner. Photo by Dave Haines/Portsmouth News

The financial rewards from progressing in the competition are always massive for non-league clubs - and it’s taken on extra importance this season.Should Paul Doswell’s side defeat two divisions-below Marine on Sunday to reach the third round, they will have pocketed more than £110,000 in prize money and broadcast fees this term.And that’s without taking into account the financial rewards which could await should they draw a Premier League team in the third round.The additional funds from the FA Cup run has been key for the Hawks with supporters kept out of Westleigh Park since March.Even the £30,000-a-month payments they’re receiving of the £10m National League Government bailout is not covering monthly outgoings.Chairman Derek Pope is said to be making up the remainder so players wages can be paid in full.Goalkeeper Worner has thanked the club for the support they’ve shown the squad during what has been a testing few months.Now he hopes the squad can continue generating some additional income from an FA Cup run.‘All the boys want to do well in the cup to help the club out as well,’ said Worner. ‘We’ve got a young bunch, a couple of experienced heads, but we want to do well for the club and obviously because the club kept us afloat through the lockdowns.‘They’ve still been paying our wages while that’s been going on, so it’s about trying to reward the chairman, management and stuff for keeping with us over all the tough periods.‘The FA Cup is financially rewarding for the clubs to get as far as they can. It’s always disappointing when you don’t make the first round proper because you want to get that TV money as it’s a big one to help the clubs out.‘Obviously, they’re (Hawks’ officials) buzzing that we’ve got to the second round. We’ve just got to ensure we work on getting to the third round and we can look forward to what that brings for us.’Doswell’s side will not have faced a team from a higher division if they do reach the third round.But Worner is not bothered the squad have not had a chance to pit themselves against Football League opposition so far.He feels playing fellow non-leaguers Marine means a good performance on the day could see them rewarded with one of the big boys.‘Just to be in the first round is obviously a bonus for our football club, being non-league, and obviously to get through and get drawn against another non-league club in the second round - most clubs would hope for that,’ added Worner.‘Everyone dreams of that big money tie but getting the non-league club is equally as good because if you play well on the day you’ve got a chance of progressing into the third round, and then you get the chance of getting bigger teams.’