Orient cash in as Cup money fills a hole

A dip in gates will be covered as O’s prepare for Swansea

ORIENT’S hopes of picking up a cash bonanza in the fourth round of the FA Cup were dealt a blow when they were drawn away at Swansea City.

Jimmy Smith, whose goal sent Norwich spinning out of the competition, spent Saturday night dreaming of a tie against former club Chelsea.

While chief executive Matt Porter was hoping for a lucrative tie too. “We’ve played three rounds, let’s not push our luck. Manchester United away and let’s be done with it,” he said after the weekend win.

So, there could not have been too many smiles in the boardroom or the dressing room, when O’s were handed their fourth away draw of the competition.

This time they face a trek to Championship side Swansea City, who currently sit just one place below the Canaries.

While the O’s played in front of more than 18,000 fans at Norwich on Saturday, Swansea’s gate struggled to top the 7,000 mark for their 4-0 win against Colchester United.

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So unless Russell Slade’s side can book their place in the last 16 and claim the �90,000 prize-money for a fourth round win, it’s not going to be a lucrative trip.

However, whatever the result in Wales, Orient should clear more than �300,000 from this season’s FA Cup run.

They have already picked up �112,500 in prize money – as Saturday’s success was worth �67,500.

The television money from the second round tie at Droylsden and Orient’s share of the gate receipts on Saturday will bring in around a further �150,000.

Add in the cash to come from Swansea, plus the games against Dagenham & Redbridge and Droylsden, which both went to replays and it has been a successful competition so far for the O’s.

Certainly, it will more than repair the hole made in the club’s coffers following the postponement of three successive home games. It costs Orient an estimated �15,000 when a weekend fixture is rescheduled in midweek.

And it will also cover a dip in Orient’s gate receipts as attendances have drifted down to an average of 4,266 this term.

“The FA Cup run has been a big help this season,” admitted Porter.

“We were always expecting our attendances to be down, because we lost big, well-supported clubs like Leeds, Norwich and Millwall.”

But the cup run has thrown up a horrendous period of congestion.

It’s forced the postponement of League One games against Swindon Town and the MK Dons – and Orient have also lost matches against Carlisle, Plymouth, MK Dons and Hartlepool.

So it seems that the FA Cup money has come at a cost!