Havant & Waterlooville boss Doswell dreaming of more FA Cup romance – and a £150,000 TV payday

Hawks celebrate Roarie Deacon (21) having put them 2-0 up in their FA Cup win at Bath City. Picture: Kieron Louloudis.Hawks celebrate Roarie Deacon (21) having put them 2-0 up in their FA Cup win at Bath City. Picture: Kieron Louloudis.
Hawks celebrate Roarie Deacon (21) having put them 2-0 up in their FA Cup win at Bath City. Picture: Kieron Louloudis.
Paul Doswell was dreaming after watching Hawks’ vastly impressive FA Cup victory at Bath City.

He was dreaming of a first round home tie with an EFL League 1 giant such as Sunderland, Ipswich Town or - no doubt many Hawks’ fans first choice fixture - Portsmouth.

Such a tie would not only be typical of the romance involved in the world’s greatest sporting knockout tournament, it could well lead to Hawks banking a major windfall.

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Should the club from the sixth tier of English football land a home glamour tie, it would be worth £150,000 if the game was subsequently chosen to be screened live on television.

And with finances savagely hit by having to play behind closed doors, Doswell is acutely aware what that sort of payday would mean.

Both himself and Hawks know exactly how the FA Cup can make dreams come true - on and off the pitch.

Back in 2016/17 Doswell masterminded non-league Sutton United’s stunning run to the fifth round and a home tie with Arsenal shown live on the BBC.

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And no-one at Hawks will ever forget their club’s 2007/08 odyssey which saw them lead at Liverpool before losing a memorable fourth round tie.

That is the only time the club have ever progressed beyond the first round proper.

‘I love the FA Cup,’ said Doswell. ‘I want us to stay in the competition as long as we can.

‘I am a footballing romantic and this is the only competition where non-league players can end up playing at Anfield or Stamford Bridge.

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‘If we could draw Sunderland or Ipswich at home … if that was shown on television it would be worth £150,000 to us.

‘That is just massive.

‘It would virtually mean we’d have no money worries for the rest of the season.

‘If we can’t get that draw, I’d want us to be home to a lower division club which gives us a good chance of further progress.

‘Of course, we could draw Barrow away!’

The draw for the first round is live on BBC from 7pm on Monday night.

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Hawks have already trousered £18,375 from winning through three rounds to reach the first round proper for the eighth time in the club’s 22-year history.

A further £22,629 awaits the first round winners, rising to £34,000 for the second round and £82,000 for the third if Hawks can emulate their 2007/08 heroics.

While always welcome, such prize money is even more keenly banked this season given non-league clubs have hardly any income streams at present.

Last week Hawks discovered they would receive £30,000 a month for three months from the National Lottery.

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That is nowhere near the sort of money the club were receiving on a monthly basis prior to the pandemic.

National League clubs were initially told they would be financially rewarded based on last season’s average attendance figures.

That has patently not happened.

Hawks, who averaged 1,398 in 2019/20, will receive the same amount as South divisional rivals Oxford City (average 368) and Hungerford Town (average 334).

In the top flight of non-league, Boreham Wood will receive £84,000 a month despite averaging just 724 last season.

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In one of a series of angry tweets, Doswell said the National League’s board ‘should hang their heads in shame.

‘They do not care about North and South clubs, we’re seen as an inconvenience!’

Speaking after the win at Bath, he added: ‘We don’t want to sound sour - we are grateful for the £30,000. That money is massive for us - we couldn’t have survived without it.

‘But at the same time we are disappointed.

‘When Boreham Wood get £84,000 and we get £30,000, that shows something has gone wrong somewhere.

‘It is farcical really.’