SATURDAY’S £7,500 prize money may count for little to Billericay Town‘s co-manager Glenn Tamplin. After all, he’s just divvied up a couple million greenies to take delivery of a pair of rare Ferrari F12 TDFs.
But you can bet an east end boy’s bottom farthing that winning Saturday’s FA Cup tie at Hungerford will be reward enough for the bankrolled club he is aiming towards league football.
Hungerford will go into this tie as clear underdogs on paper, after all, their entire weekly budget would not pay for the Ferrari’s seat covers.
But while money can talk, it does not make players better, and away from all the big name signings at Billericay, Tamplin and is co-manager Harry Wheeler have signed shrewdly and clearly successfully as, batting an opening day setback against Kingstonian, they have won the lot, barring a 1-1 draw at Thamesmead in the previous round, which was followed by a 5-0 home romp.
“We know it will be a tough game,” said Hungerford’s own co-manager Jon Boardman. “They have resources and experience, and we've got to be the underdogs going into it.
“But we are used to that and we know that on our day at home, we are as good as anyone.”
Hungerford hardly had the best warm-up when visiting Essex and losing 5-0 at Braintree last week. “We could have been ahead,” said Boardman, “and suddenly it all went wrong before half-time and there was no way back then.
“But every team takes a beating and it’s how you react to them that matters.”
Billericay got into their groove with a 5-1 win over Barking in the Isthmian League Cup and with a team including Jermaine Pennant, Paul Konchesky and recent signing, YouTube freestyle footballing star Jeremy Lynch, who has more than six million video subscribers.
That team did not include £24,000 strike signing Jake Robinson from Hemel Hempstead, who has 14 goals to his credit this term, including seven in three FA Cup games.
Ex-Chelmsford marksman Billy Bricknell has seven so far, and Adam Cunnington – now with his 18th non-league club, another six, while close season arrival from St Albans, Louie Theophanous, has been restricted to a supporting role.
It all adds up to a potent attacking force at a time when Hungerford’s squad has defensive issues. Gareth Thomas is cup-tied after appearing for Highmoor Ibis in an early round, and Boardman, Matt Partridge and Luke Hopper remain on the injured list.
“I think this game will be just too soon for Luke and Matt,” said Boardman, “and my injury just hasn’t responded. I haven’t done as much rehab as I would usually because of the management work, and I may have to speak to specialist.
“But we have players who can cover, and James Rusby is now back in training.”
If a replay is needed, it will be at Billericay’s AGP Arena on Tuesday night.