Sholing FC’s chairman hoping luck holds out in FA Cup
London, October 22, 2020:
Gerry Roberts hopes he’ll be celebrating doubly hard this weekend as Sholing FC prepare for one of the biggest games in the club’s history.
For the chairman of the Southern League South Division One club not only won the jackpot after buying the winning ticket in the My Club Lotto 50/50 weekly lottery, he hopes his side can knock high-flying Conference Premier side Torquay United out of the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday.
“We are in the fourth qualifying round and this is as far as we have ever gone. It is an historic moment for the club,” said Roberts.
The 59-year-old managing director of an electrical wholesale firm netted a cool £1,000 for himself and £100 for Sholing FC after the Southampton-based club joined a growing number of rugby, football, cricket and other grassroots sports clubs taking advantage of the revenue sharing scheme and other commercial services offered by My Club Market.
My Club’s unique lotto game helps boost much-needed income for grassroots clubs, with revenue from every ticket purchased going back to the club.
Roberts said: “As a club, we also won the My Club Lotto ambassador experience a few months back, as we sold the most Lotto tickets in the month. We’ve got either Sam Allardyce or John Salako coming down sometime after the pandemic is over. We have to sort out that, but we are really looking forward to that.
“It would be great to see Sam Allardyce. I remember watching him when he played for Bolton and he was one of the original big animals who would kick your granny!
“A few of us put a standing order in each week to buy tickets to the Lotto. I subscribe personally, and a few members do, too. It helps the finances (of the club).
“We opened a new clubhouse last November – we’d had the same clubhouse for fifty years and it was dilapidated. We also had new changing rooms opened last month, so it will be good to show them off to those fans who perhaps coming to the The Mackoy Stadium for the first time this weekend, and to the My Club ambassador when that is arranged.”
However, Sholing will miss out on what should be a lucrative pay-day because of Covid-19 epidemic restrictions placed upon them.
“The problem on Saturday is that they have sealed our gate at 400 and we can’t have any Torquay fans in – we can’t sell any tickets to them,” said Roberts.
“Torquay would have brought over 1,000 fans and we could have sold at least another 400 to our own fans, so we could have got around the 2,000 mark. It is disappointing, but we just have to get on with it. It is what it is, and we just have to do the best we can.”
Torquay United have made a flying start to the new Conference Premier League season, winning four of their first five games, capped by a 2-0 win over Dover last weekend. They sit second in the table behind Stockport County on goal difference with designs on returning to the Football League after a six-year absence.
Roberts is well aware of the task facing The Boatmen on Saturday.
He added: “Torquay are three divisions above us, and with my optimistic hat on, we’ll give them a game.
“We won the FA Vase in 2014, so we are not a bad side and we beat a team a division above us 5-2 in the last round (Walton Casuals). We are a decent side, but logically, even if they play averagely, they should beat us. But if they have a really off-day and we have a really good day, we have a chance.”
Sholing have also made a bright start to the new campaign and are just four points behind leaders AFC Totton in Southern League Division One, having played one game fewer.
“We have been tied up in the cups,” said Roberts. “We won three (of five games) and the weekend before last we went to Cirencester, who had won all four games and not conceded, with five players ruled out – and we won 2-0.
“I would be very surprised if we were not in the top five or six at the end of the season. Optimistically, we would like to finish in the top two, but we all know what football is like.”
The Gulls will have to keep a close eye on brothers Dan and Byron Mason if they are to avoid a major upset.
Striker Dan Mason, in particular, has attracted the attention of some higher profile clubs.
Roberts explained: “Dan scored 64 goals the season before last and about 35 last year when we went up, but Byron is a great leader and captain. He is like a Roy Keane, a growling, angry player who drives everyone on.
“We played Conference side Slough in the FA Cup a couple of years ago and we drew with them up there, and took them to extra-time at our place. We have had some quite good runs in the Cup. Weymouth subsequently came in for Dan and made him a couple of offers and Gosport Borough have also been in for him.
“In this part of the world, we are a pretty high-profile club and we have a good side. So, we get lots of people coming to look at our guys.
“Most of them have been together for a few years and we are very tight-knit. We very rarely get anyone leaving. In fact, one guy left this week to go to Gosport, which is a level above, but he couldn’t get into our side every game and he wanted to play every game.
“Either way, win, lose or draw, this will be another big opportunity for our players to show what they are about. We just wish more people were allowed in to watch.”
To find out more about My Club Lotto or the many other My Club Group services available to help generate funding for grassroots sport, email: email@example.com
ABOUT MYCLUB GROUP
MyClub Group Ltd (MCG) (www.myclubgroup.com) is a specialised marketing communications and technology company, providing white label goods and services for any club, its fans or members, from elite to grassroots level. In minutes, MCG can supply any sports club with its own service featuring its own club logo and colours on a desktop, tablet, or mobile phone. The service enables clubs to retrieve a percentage of revenues from various solutions, which also aids grassroots funding.
For more information, please contact:
Graham Anderson, Chief Operating Officer, 2 & 3 Oxted Chambers, 185-187 Station Road East, Oxted, Surrey, RH8 0QE | +44 (0) 1883 772929 | firstname.lastname@example.org