Exeter director says Liverpool game will boost finances

Exeter City chief executive Julian Tagg has said Wednesday's Carling Cup game against Liverpool will provide much welcome funding to the club's finances.

City beat Yeovil Town earlier this month to advance in the League Cup for the first time in 18 years, and went on to draw the five-time European champions.

And with the fixture at St James Park sold out and due to be shown live on television, Tagg was quick to highlight the importance of cup games to the financial viability of clubs.

"You're budgeting almost 12 months prior and you're always trying to push because as I always say there are two ways of bankrupting a football club," he said.

"[You either] put too much into the playing side or not enough - and trying to find that balance is extremely difficult.

"So in these instances those games fill an awful lot of the gaps.

"Putting money back into the playing side, putting money back into capital projects but also putting money back into the youth [system], all those things help considerably," Tagg continued.

The Grecians were on the brink of closure in May 2003 after they were relegated to the Conference with debts of £4m.

The club eventually went into the ownership of a fans' trust to save it from extinction, but many say their rise back to the Football League began when they drew Manchester United in the third round of the FA Cup in 2005.

City drew 0-0 at Old Trafford before losing 2-0 in the replay at St James Park thanks to goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney.

But of equal, if not more, importance than the result was the money gained from the games which enabled the club to pay off their debts and set the foundations to rise back up through the league.

"Hopefully we've become more professional [since the Manchester United game]," said Tagg.

"We've got an exceptionally professional football side with [manager] Paul Tisdale and [director of football] Steve Perryman, but also off the pitch I think we've improved dramatically and so has the trust.

"The important thing that we have maintained is the ethos.

"With a game like this - where there is so much to do over such a short period of time - to see volunteers, who are in and out of the club all the time, that is another thing which is extremely rewarding."

And Tagg added that he thought the St James crowd would be welcoming a strong Liverpool side: "This is a route through to Europe for Liverpool and I believe, as many others, that this will be a strong team that they bring here.

"And we'll be a winner either way. If they want to come here with a weakened team then OK.

"Manchester United brought a team worth £40m the first time, and then brought a team worth £140m the second time. We're not bothered either way."