THE good times at Rodney Parade for Newport County AFC seem to be showing no sign of stopping.

The team have lost just three times in their last 15 matches and, after Saturday’s away win against Grimsby Town, sit two points off the play-off places.

But it is their FA Cup journey that both players and supporters are currently savouring, months after the club were saved from relegation by a last-minute winner.

The Exiles stunned Championship side Leeds United with a 2-1 win on January 7 in front of a capacity crowd and amidst an incredible atmosphere.

And now the club face the prospect of hosting Premier League outfit Tottenham Hotspur, one of the best teams in the country, in the FA Cup fourth round on January 27.

“It’s a dream draw for the club, no doubt about it,” said Bob Herrin, chairman of the Newport County AFC Official Supporters Club.

“In the last 30 years the cup draw has not been that kind for us and we’ve been lucky this year to have had all our games at home.

“With some of those with a ticket for the Crawley game getting a guaranteed ticket for the Spurs game, it’s created such a huge demand. We sold 400 half a season tickets within a couple of hours the other day.”

It is the first time that County have reached this stage of the competition since 1979, beating a West Ham United side who were two divisions above them.

But a lot has changed at County and in the wider footballing world since the days of John Aldridge and Tommy Tynan.

While many people still question the FA Cup’s allure in modern football, the competition still offers a the chance of a financial lifeline to clubs towards the bottom end of the football league pyramid.

County will be the latest lower league side to benefit from television money, with their cup tie against Spurs set to be broadcast on BT.

Jeff Challingsworth, secretary for the Supporters Club, said: “The money from the Spurs game could set us up for the next season and well into season.

“If we can’t get better players we’re going to struggle on the pitch, which will lead to struggles off the pitch, and there’s a real danger for clubs like of us getting stuck in a vicious cycle.

“We missed out on Liverpool last year when we lost to Plymouth and we’re lucky to have another shot at the big clubs and the rewards those matches bring.”

But how much do County stand to gain, and what have they earned for their run so far?

For the tie alone the club will net £144,000 in television money, and it is estimated that the club have already amassed around £250,000 from their best cup run in nearly 40 years.

Of that figure the Exiles have earned £112,500 from the FA Cup’s prize fund, which gives financial incentives to all sides that progress in the competition.

Early qualifying stages offer even the lowest of non-league minnows the shot of earning up to five-figure sums.

County entered the cup in the first round, beating Walsall 2-1 and picking up £18,000 from the FA Cup.

After beating Cambridge United 2-0 in the following round the Exiles picked up £27,000 in prize money and following the memorable victory against Leeds United, the side was one of 32 teams to earn £67,500.

The games against Walsall and Leeds United were also televised, netting the club £48,000 of television money apiece.

If County happen to stun Spurs at Rodney Parade, they would receive £90,000 from the FA Cup prize fund on top of all other income.

A draw would also bring its rewards – another match on television, further ticket sales and the club’s first visit to Wembley since their play-off triumph against Wrexham in 2013.

The club finances have also been recently boosted by around £112,000 by the sale of former County player Lee Evans from Wolverhampton Wanderers to Sheffield United.

But how could the money be used?

Boss Michael Flynn told the Argus last week that he’s keen to use the money in “the right way”, alluding to the short-term such as buying new players, as well as long-term uses.

“I’ve always said I want to put foundations in place that make this club more attractive,” he said.

“I keep banging on about a training ground but we’ve got loads of facilities around here. It would be nice to get an extra pitch of good quality.”

Cup runs have been good to teams of varying sizes over the years, with a recent success story being that of National League side Sutton United.

The club reached the fifth round where they faced off against Arsenal and, the eventual loss and “Piegate” aside, have come out a club transformed.

Visitors to Gander Green Lane now watch their team under new floodlights, with the ground also boasting new toilets, a new clubs hop and a scoreboard. According to the FA Cup website, a new community and academy hub is also in the offing.

While Sutton’s experience is different to that of County, being a league below with undoubtedly different financial circumstances, it is an example of the transformational opportunities on offer from a solid FA Cup run.

Alex Tunbridge, the club’s chief executive, believes infrastructure is the key issue that the funds could be used to address.

“We’re not going to rush into anything,” said Mr Tunbridge, who has enjoyed an exciting few months since taking up the post in July last year.

“We’ve got a very small team of staff and the money could be used to expand that, and we’re also well aware that we need to improve our retail and ticketing offerings.

“With things like training facilities, we’re not necessarily going to make decisions on that before we engage in some meaningful discussions.”

Mr Herrin, a long-time supporter of the County, was in agreement that the money would have to be invested in the running of the club behind the scenes.

“The money the club gets will need to go into the club, as we need to improve off the pitch as much as we are doing on it,” said Mr Herrin.

“I know Flynny wants his training ground but we need to look at the issue of the ground, as renting it means we are losing out on a lot of revenue.

“It’s difficult but the club need to make the most of the windfall. But above all we need people to starting coming to the run of the mill league games to help the club consistently.”

l THE Argus is looking to speak to anyone who was there when the two teams last met.

It was January 9, 1960, when a Spurs team boasting talent such as Danny Blanchflower and Welsh winger Cliff Jones visited Newport in the FA Cup third round.

More than 22,000 packed Somerton Park to watch the eventual FA Cup and First Division winners beat County 4-0.

Now with the two teams due to meet again, we are hoping to talk to anyone who remembers their last encounter and get their thoughts on the upcoming match.

To get involved call Niall Griffiths on 01633 777248 or by email at