Braintree Town may have been beaten 3-0 on the pitch in their FA Cup clash with Tranmere Rovers, but they look set to be big winners off it.
The Iron will make good use of the cash windfall they will receive from the game, with some of it likely to make its way into manager Alan Devonshire’s playing budget.
Chairman Lee Harding said: “We were beaten by a better side on the night, so there were no complaints there.
“The injuries we got happened at key times in the game and didn’t help us, though.
“James (Mulley) looked quite lively, but got a couple of clumps and had to go off.
“That kind of deadened what we were trying to do, with Deano (Dean Wells) going off, I thought that upset us defensively and when Sean Marks went off if effectively negated our main threat up front.
“You take off someone experienced like Sean off and have to replace him with someone quite young.
“But Tranmere were very professional and you can see why they are doing well in their league.
“Having got a goal ahead, the second killed it really.
“There is a gulf between us and, let’s face it, Braintree would struggle in League One – certainly to be at the top of League One (where Tranmere are).
“Our lads raised their game as they had nothing to lose and they gave it their all.
“We have some very good players here, but none good enough to compete at the very highest level of League One.
“We need to be realistic.
“But it’s no disgrace and it has been a tremendous success for us.
“On that basis, we will use the resources that this has generated and consolidate to plan for next season.
“It doesn’t change our thinking at all, it just makes things a little bit easier.
“We will be focusing on our repayment of loans to the council.
“We have had a lot of help with loans from Braintree Council to get the ground improvements done and it will always be a challenge while that loan remains outstanding to get the repayments done.
“But for the remainder of this season and probably next season, we know those repayments will be covered.
“We’ll tuck those away and it’s something we won’t have to worry about.”
Braintree’s finance director Kim Cowell said some of the money would go into manager Alan Devonshire’s playing budget.
He said: “The loan repayments are only part of what we will do with the money as we can do a little bit of strengthening of the team as well.
“Some of it will be used to strengthen the team this season and next season as well.
“We know for a fact that a lot of clubs would get a windfall like this and their first thought would be ‘we can pay off some of our debt’.
“But we haven’t got that problem as we haven’t got any debts and we are laughing all the way to the bank.”
Harding added: “We will have a chat later this week and look at what our expenditure from the two games has been and we’ll decide what we want to do with the money.
“But it has been a shot in the arm for us.
“We have worked very hard to achieve it as games like this don’t organise themselves.
“We now have to make sure we use it wisely.
“Priority number one for us was the resources and getting the money as that helps us stabilise.”