A FEW weeks ago the Exeter City Supporters' Trust was battling to keep the football club afloat, but after an audacious run in the FA Cup its £ 750,000 debts are set to be wiped out.
The club, which is a co-operative owned by its members, reached the third round of the competition and is set to play a rematch with Manchester United.
A recent draw at Old Trafford led to the rematch at Exeter City's home ground, St James' Park. As well as creating more money through ticket sales, the club is reported to have received £ 150,000 from the BBC because the game is being shown live on television.
Ian Tarr, Chief Executive of the Trust, told the News: "The effect of this FA Cup run, and in particular our third round matches against Manchester United, is still difficult to gauge, because not all the figures are in yet, and there's also the fourth round to consider. But best estimates are that we will be able to clear all of our past debts and, hopefully, all of our current debts too."
The supporters' trust, an Industrial and Provident Society, is one of two in the country to hold a controlling interest in a professional club. The club is also supported by the Co-operative Group's South West Region, which has handed over a £ 1,000 grant to help form a board of trustees for the trust.
The trust took full control of the club 18 months ago when it was left in "ruins" according to Mr Tarr. He said "many significant battles have been fought and won".
Despite deals with creditors the club was still left with debts of around £ 750,000, with strict provisions for their repayment. On top of this, the club was also hamstrung by existing contracts which mean that it is still operating at a loss creating further debts.
Mr Tarr added: "With the band of supporters now running the club having learned many lessons in a short time and being resolved to run the club in an ethical and businesslike manner, we can now confidently look forward to a bright future, when as recently as a few weeks ago the club's existence beyond October still looked doubtful.
"So, in short, when you ask about the impact of these matches, it is hard to imagine anything greater happening."