9,000 lucky Lincoln City fans will make the 3-hour trip down south to support their club in the first FA Cup Quarter-Final they have reached since the club was founded.
Lincoln City are living a fairy-tale after beating the likes of Oldham, Ipswich, Brighton and even Burnley to get where they are. The club have made over £1million from the competition, not including the trip to the Emirates which takes place this Saturday evening and will see the two clubs face each other for the first time in 102 years.
Today’s Lincoln City is a stark contrast to the struggling side we saw two years ago. 2015 saw the side announce a debt of almost £400,000 through the Co-op Bank, which has since been paid off through Lincoln’s progression in the FA Cup.
They will receive another £250,000 as the quarter-finals will be televised either through BT Sport or the BBC. It is rumoured that the Imps players received a £5,000 bonus after dumping Burnley out in the fifth round, which is a massive contrast to the £500 they received when they beat Oldham back in the second round.
The bonus scheme was only set to be in place for a maximum of three rounds, but with the progression in the competition and the club becoming almost £2million pounds richer, they are able to reward their players with these bonuses. If Lincoln manage to beat the odds and cause one of the biggest upsets in FA Cup history at the Emirates this weekend, the club will receive around £360,000 in prize money… if that’s not motivation for a team which was relegated from the football league six years ago, we don’t know what is!
The game on Saturday will see all of Arsenals big guns back out on display with the likes of Özil, Sanchez and Welbeck ready to take to the pitch. With Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger under serious amounts of pressure, it is highly unlikely that he will field the youngsters, with the chance to win the FA cup for a record 13th time.
Lincoln will fancy their chances on Saturday if previous form is anything to go by, with Arsenal on the back of a very poor run, having lost to Liverpool in the league and then suffering a 10-2 loss on aggregate to Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday night. Lincoln on the other hand are in great form, having not lost a game in all competitions since January 24th.
The funds that the Non-league side have received through progressing in the FA Cup brought the club to new heights, taking the full 9,000 ticket allocation and selling out immediately.
The club have also announced that they will be showing the game outside Sincil Bank on the big screen, as they did in the previous round against Burnley, which turned out to work well as the Imps won 1-0. The viewing on the big screen will be free of charge, so any fans that didn’t manage to get themselves a ticket will still get a chance to soak up the atmosphere of the day outside the stadium.
Unfortunately, there is no chance of a replay as the rules have been changed recently to ensure all quarter-finals are decided on the day. While we won’t be seeing the likes of Sanchez, Özil and Cech travelling up north to face the non-league side, Lincoln we be set on settling matters in London.
Whatever the result may be on Saturday, everyone involved at Lincoln will remember this FA Cup run as the greatest year in the club’s history. The unexpected series of events has not only brought the football team together, but the whole city with it being impossible to ignore what Dan Cowley’s men have achieved.
Could this be the first year we see a non-league side play at Wembley? Stay tuned for kick-off on Saturday at 5.30pm.