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WEMBLEY 2012: Wray bets red and hits the jackpot
IT HAS undoubtedly been an expensive 12 months for the Swindon Town board, but it will all be worthwhile if Wembley is turned red on Sunday, according to interim chairman Jeremy Wray.
Following relegation and the financial implications that brings, the Robins opted to invest in appointing Paolo Di Canio as manager and have backed him fully throughout the season.
It is a financial gamble that has paid off, though, with Town firmly on course for an immediate promotion back to League One and could well be holding their first piece of silverware for the campaign tomorrow evening.
“The Johnstone’s Paint Trophy has always been something that other clubs have done better than we have in terms of recognising that it is a revenue-making stream that is not to be sniffed at at this level,” said Wray.
“The early rounds don’t necessarily get the recognition or the coverage but once you start getting to semi-finals then people start getting a little twitchy because it is not far from Wembley and everything that goes with that.
“It was a goal to get there and let’s not forget the fantastic run in the FA Cup we had, getting to the fourth round was pretty special.
“I think all the peripheral spin-offs have been beneficial. People wouldn’t be surprised to hear that there are bonuses to be paid to management and players for their achievements which would only be natural.
“But there is obviously a positive financial impact. It does come down to a revenue share with our opponents Chesterfield, which is why we want as many people to attend tomorrow as possible.
“If we get north of 30,000 it will be more red than blue and I think that is a huge advantage, so that is what we would like to see.
“We play in red, we are recognisable in that colour as being our uniform and it would be great to see that colour dominate at Wembley.”
Nationally, the attention will be very much focussed on Di Canio tomorrow. With his appointment initially predicted to end in tears by many pundits, leading the team he has built out at England’s national stadium will be his chance to showcase just what he has created in Wiltshire.
“Paolo has achieved everything we hoped this season and more,” added Wray.
“He never went to Wembley as a player, so I am pleased that we have been able to give him that opportunity as a manager.
“When you think of all the stadiums in the world that he has played at and in his first season as a manager he gets to lead out his team at arguably the greatest football arena, it will be very special.
“It will be a very special day for him and I am sure that will be an angle that everybody looks at on the day.
“There will be a lot of focus on him and what he has achieved in a short space of time, but he will deserve it.
“This is a one-off. Paolo has said all along that the key thing is promotion and, if we can, win the league but this is one day out of that where we can go to win a trophy, which is special in its own right."