Cup exit can lift the pressure, says Wembley chairman
PUBLISHED: 15:46 05 September 2012
PA Wire/Press Association Images
Wembley chairman Brian Gumm admits their FA Cup exit could ease the pressure on the squad after an indifferent start to the season.
The Lions, who are backed by Cup sponsors Budweiser, were dumped out of the competition last week when they lost 5-0 to Southern League side Uxbridge in a preliminary round replay.
As part of the Budweiser deal, the Lions’ FA Cup fixtures were televised by ESPN, who are also showing a documentary about the Vale Farm club – and several ex-international stars, including Claudio Caniggia, featured in the team.
However, Wembley have struggled for consistency in their Combined Counties League programme, and Gumm hopes that might change now the spotlight of their FA Cup adventure has faded.
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s been absolutely superb,” the Lions’ chairman told the Times. “But maybe it’s a relief in one way – now we can relax and enjoy things a little bit more without pressure on us.
“It’s been hard work, draining at times with the TV show and all that – no-one realises what stress and pressure our boys have been under, it’s taken them right out of their comfort zone.
“I don’t think we realised what we’d signed up for – the film crew, people putting up scaffolding and someone having to be there at 6am to let them in.
“We haven’t got staff to deal with things like that. But Budweiser realised we were under pressure – their top man flew in from New York just to discuss it with me and he sorted it all out in a day.”
Despite making the FA Cup campaign a central theme of their three-year involvement with the club, Budweiser have made it clear to Gumm that their support will continue throughout that period.
“Of course Budweiser would like us to have gone further in the FA Cup, but they haven’t just gone for the bright lights,” he added. “They’re doing so much behind the scenes.
“They’ve given us a foundation – repairing the roof where it was leaking, refurbishing the clubhouse and putting in a £40,000 kitchen. People think they’re going to leave us high and dry, but nothing could be further from the truth.
“We’ve lost a game, but we haven’t lost the future of the club – that’s what I told the players afterwards. The FA Cup touched a lot of people, but now we’re trying to get our feet back on the ground.”
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