Financial reward from BBC is best thing to ever happen to Borough, says chairman

Haringey Borough manager Tom Loizou and chairman Aki Achillea celebrate at the final whistle after t

Haringey Borough manager Tom Loizou and chairman Aki Achillea celebrate at the final whistle after the club qualified for the first round of the FA Cup (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo). - Credit: George Phillipou/TGS Photo

The Haringey Borough chairman reveals exactly why the BBC’s live broadcast fee is so important to the non-league club

Aki Achillea believes BBC Two broadcasting the FA Cup first round tie between Haringey Borough and AFC Wimbledon is the best thing to ever happen to the Bostik Premier club.

The chairman at Coles Park will witness a special occasion on Friday with a sell-out crowd expected at White Hart Lane.

Non-league Borough are set to receive a sum of £75,000 for allowing BBC to broadcast the match live with presenter Dan Walker in attendance for the 7.55pm kick-off.

It will be an incredible night for Tom Loizou’s team, regardless of the result, but the club had a horrible feeling the tie would not be selected for TV coverage.

Chairman Achillea said: “I thought I might have burnt our bridges with the BBC after we turned them down at the last minute last season for the Heybridge Swifts game in the fourth qualifying round.

“It was just too short notice. We had no issue with the BBC at all, but they wanted us to cancel the market and do an early kick-off on the Sunday and we said no.

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“The traders we have rely on the market for their living, so if we had more notice we might have been able to soften the blow, but we would have been unable to contact most of them and not able to give any notice to people who come to the market.

“It would have been a disaster, so that is why we turned down the chance to play on the Sunday live on the BBC red button – it was no slight intended against the BBC that was just unfortunately how it played out.

“Fortunately the BBC seemed to have forgiven us and didn’t hold a grudge and they decided to show this tie and it is the best thing to ever happen to the club.”

Borough have already won a big amount of money for their FA Cup success with Loizou guiding his team through the preliminary round, first qualifying round, second qualifying round, third qualifying round and finally the fourth qualifying round.

Wins over Stanway Rovers, Brentwood Town, Erith Town, AFC Sudbury and Poole Town have pocked Haringey £57,890 so far, but Friday will see the club make even more with the Dons expected to travel in large numbers too.

The money is crucial for Haringey on a number of levels with it set to be spent on helping improve the club’s Coles Park home to ensure it meets the required ground grading needed to stay at Bostik Premier level.

“It means we can carry on with our free season-ticket offer,” Achillea revealed, when discussing the importance of the live broadcast fee.

“Also, it means we are now well-known particularly in our local area as well as nationally, so that will hopefully attract more people to watch us, and it means we can fulfil our ground grading requirements to try and stay in the league we are in.

“After going up last season, we have to go to the next level in terms of ground grading and we had a recent inspection a few weeks ago and we have been given a list of things we need to do.

“We have got until the end of March to do that, so all of it has come together and is now doable because of the cup run.

“Finally, we can also continue with our youth development programmes which have always been at the forefront of our thoughts, especially with our 3G facility.

“It will enable that to reach fruition and we are all really pleased. This money has set us up for a long, long time.”