AFC Totton’s FA Cup winnings will go straight into the club coffers rather than be used to strengthen the team.
But manager Steve Riley will have a bigger playing budget next season if the Stags’ new commercial vice-chairman Calvin Caunter and his business partner Mark Bigwood can work their magic.
Caunter and Bigwood are directors of Boyatt Wood-based LED lighting specialists Vision Accendo who are in the first of a five-year shirt sponsorship deal with the Southern Premier Division club.
Their goal is to turn AFC Totton into a thriving, self-sufficient community club that will push for one and, hopefully, two promotions between now and 2016/17.
At the club’s recent AGM Paul Wallace was voted in as chairman having taken on the role in an ‘acting’ capacity towards the end of last season when Sean Whelan stepped down.
He will be supported by two vice-chairmen – John Tull, who will focus on the football arm of the club, and Caunter who will mastermind the commercial side.
Unlike many businesses struggling to survive the world-wide recession, Vision Accendo is a company on the up.
One of their recent coups was supplying LED lighting for all 14 aircraft stands at Southampton Airport.
“We’re going up as a company while lots of others are going down,” said Caunter, who lives just a five-minute drive away from Totton’s Testwood Stadium home.
“When I was at school I had friends who played for Totton so there was a bit of a following there, but the club’s part of my blood now,” he said.
“Our sponsorship is for five years and we’ve got a five-year plan.
“The goal is to get promoted in two years and then get promoted again.
We’re here for the long haul – it’s not just a flash in the pan.”
Having banked a further £7,500 from the FA prize fund for their latest FA Cup victory over Merthyr Town, Totton can rake in another £12,500 by beating divisional rivals Cambridge City in the fourth qualifying round at the Testwood Stadium on Saturday.
Those winnings will be prudently invested into the club rather than the team initially, but Riley can expect to have more squad-building cash at his disposal next term.
“We want to get everything sorted and stabilise the club this season so that Steve can have a bigger budget next year,” Caunter confirmed.
“If it means me having to put more money in I probably would do, but the idea is for the club to make its own money rather than rely on sponsorship.
“The clubhouse will be open seven days a week to generate money and we’re working on ways to save money too. We’ve already saved the club £500 a month just by changing the lights!”
With the Testwood Stadium built to Conference South specifications, Caunter and Bigwood are already thinking about the next step up.
“We’re looking to expand and seeing what we need to make the facilities fit for the Conference (National),” said Bigwood.
“We’re also focusing on making Totton a community club and getting youth back involved.”