US Portsmouth’s FA Vase winnings in 2020/21 a far cry from the previous season’s total of £175

US Portsmouth’s memorable FA Vase run earned them over £13,500.

By Simon Carter
Monday, 10th May 2021, 3:13 pm
Dec Seiden is fouled during US Portsmouth's semi-final loss to Binfield. Picture: Keith Woodland
Dec Seiden is fouled during US Portsmouth's semi-final loss to Binfield. Picture: Keith Woodland

Their total prize money, from winning seven games and then cruelly losing a semi-final on penalties, was £13,550.

That’s a far cry from the £175 they banked in the 2019/20 FA Vase, when they suffered a first qualifying round home loss to Sherborne Town.

Had they beaten Binfield at the weekend and progressed to a Wembley final, USP would have banked at least another £18,775 ... and potentially £48,775.

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USP goalkeeper Tom Price almost collides with defender Harry Birmingham, while Binfield skipper Sean Moore and Jack Chandler look on. Picture: Keith Woodland

The difference between winning and losing the semi was £3,775 while the runners-up in the final will collect £15,000.

USP’s round winnings started with the £725 they got from beating AFC Portchester in the second qualifying round, and progressed to the £4,125 they collected for beating Flackwell Heath in the last eight.

The 2020/21 FA Vase winners will trouser £30,000. In the FA Trophy, the winners collect £60,000 and the runners-up £30,000. The FA Cup winners this coming weekend, in contrast, will bank £1.8m and the runners-up £900,000.

The bigger cheques will always be written in the FA Cup. While USP won a total of £11,825 from winning seven Vase ties, six against higher division clubs, Havant & Waterlooville earned £16,972 just by beating two divisions lower Cray Valley in the FAC first round last November.

USP sub Sonny Harnett-Balkwill rises above Binfield skipper Sean Moore. Picture: Keith Woodland

But for a club at USP’s level, to earn £13,550 from a cup run is untold riches. Yet secretary Bob Brady admits they have probably spent £6,000 of it already.

Only last week, they shelled out over £4,500 on brand new kit and tracksuits for the players to wear at Wembley.

Due to the time it would take to turn around the order – there was only a fortnight between the Binfield tie and the final - USP had to order new kit before the semi-final took place.

The players will now be given the kit they would have worn in the final as a ‘thank you’ for their efforts in putting the club firmly on the non-league map.

Dec Seiden has just been fouled by Binfield defender Liam Gavin. Picture: Keith Woodland

‘The players deserve something,’ said Brady, ‘and we obviously can’t pay them.’

‘Glenn (Turnbull, manager) was telling me the tracksuits and kit were around £4,700. If we had got to Wembley we’d have bought new suits as well, that would have been another couple of thousand. But you could offset those costs against the £15,000 or £30,000 you’d have made.’

Turnbull hopes their Wembley shirts will be a constant reminder of what the squad have achieved.

‘Some of them probably won’t understand what they’ve done for years,’ he said.

Binfield skipper Sean Moore heads against the post. Picture: Keith Woodland

‘It might hit home if they lose in the first round next season, or if they sit and watch the final later this month, or when they see Harry Kane walk out at Wembley in the Euros.

‘We’ll give each of them a shirt with their names on which they can put in a drawer for 10/15 years and one day hopefully look at it as a momento of what they achieved.’

Regarding other expenses, USP had to pay around £1,400 for the coach to take them to west Devon to face Tavistock in the fifth round last month.

Normally, the host club would pay the visitors’ travel expenses out of matchday profits. But with ties played behind closed doors, there has been no profit.

While some clubs charged supporters to watch live streams of Vase ties, US were unable to do the same.

‘I don’t think we’ll get any of that £1,400 back,’ said Brady.

The USP bench of coach Paul Barton (left), assistant manager Fraser Quirke (centre) and boss Glenn Turnbull during the semi-final with Binfield. Picture: Keith Woodland

‘Apart from a few teas and coffees, we’ve had virtually no income.

‘The match officials’ fees (against Binfield) were £637 and the Binfield coach was around £410.

‘Binfield will lose out on that money and we’ll lose out on having to pay the officials.’

Referee Jacob Miles received a £150 match fee at the weekend, with his two assistants getting £75 each and the fourth official £50.

USP also had to pay the officials’ travelling expenses - around £300 for the two assistants combined while the referee travelled down from Warwickshire.

Stalwart Brady has been associated with USP since the mid-80s, when the club was known as Portsmouth Royal Navy and were founder members of the Wessex League in 1986.

He can remember RN enjoying some good cup runs; they twice reached the Hampshire Senior Cup semi-finals in the 1990s, and also twice reached the last four of the Wessex League Cup in the same decade.

More recently, USP defeated Moneyfields at Fratton Park to win the 2011/12 Portsmouth Senior Cup final.

But, needless to say, Brady has never known times like the ones US have experienced in recent weeks as they carried on their stunning Vase journey.

‘We have had so much support it’s been unbelievable,’ he said

‘We’ve had messages from all over the world. We always take an under-18s side to Dallas for a youth competition and the families who put the players up have been messaging saying they’re watching the games on the stream.

‘The chairman of the Wessex League (Nick Spencer) has said some nice words, we haven’t had much of that in our history.

‘It’s been a great team effort - from Carol in the tea room right through to Glenn the manager and Rich Stephenson the chairman.’

‘I thought we were very unlucky against Binfield.

‘If Tom Cain hadn’t had to go off with an injury, I don’t think they would have scored their goal to be fair.’

Brady also said that video footage showed Binfield keeper Chris Grace had moved off his line before US had taken some of their penalties - including the one he saved from Cameron Quirke.

‘He’d already starting diving to his right before Cam kicked the ball,’ said Brady. ‘If the ball had been a foot the other way he’d never have saved it.’

Despite their Vase agony, USP’s greatest ever season is not over yet. Next Saturday they host Division 1 rivals Bemerton for a place in their first ever Wessex League Cup final.

‘That would be another feather in our cap,’ said Brady. ‘You don’t get many Division 1 sides getting to that final. It would be another step in the right direction.’

The USP squad will be broken up soon when Turnbull leaves to take over at Moneyfields.

‘It’s a great, great pity Glenn is going,’ said Brady. ‘But I wish him and everyone all the best. I hope it goes well - we have a fantastic relationship with Moneyfields.’

USP are expected to name Turnbull’s successor as soon as their Wessex League Cup run is over.

Brady has previously told The News that he would prefer an internal appointment, but said he is still getting calls from interested parties given the extra coverage the club has enjoyed in recent months.

Whoever is appointed, Brady hopes the manager can persuade some of the current squad to remain at the Victory Stadium.

‘They can’t all possibly go to Moneyfields, so I hope we can keep some and they can work some more magic next season,’ he said.

That 2021/22 campaign should be in the Wessex Premier, with USP expected to be told next week that their application to go up - as part of the FA’s restructuring of the non-league pyramid - has been successful.

Binfield's Oliver Harris is about to blast a shot over the USP bar from close range. Picture: Keith Woodland
Josh Hazell challenges Binfield's Kensley Maloney. Picture: Keith Woodland