Plum draw with Arsenal likely to lead to Albion payday

Can Albion set a new Amex attendance record?
Can Albion set a new Amex attendance record?

Brighton and Hove Albion are to entertain Arsenal in money-spinning cup match.

Brighton and Hove Albion's reward for beating Brentford on Saturday is an FA Cup home tie with Premier League Arsenal and the prospect of both a bumper pay-day and a record Amex crowd.

It will be the second time the Seagulls have entertained Arsenal in recent years, with the Gunners winning a closely-contested cup game 3-2 back in January 2013. On that day 27,113 fans saw Leo Ulloa score a diving header on his debut and Ashley Barnes torment the Arsenal back four before Brighton lost to a late Theo Walcott strike which deflected past Casper Ankergren in the home goal.

The date for the Fourth Round match has not yet been set but all FA Cup games will take place over the weekend of January 24. The prospect of a cup shock on the south coast could tempt one of the television companies to broadcast the game live which would provide a welcome financial boost on top of the anticipated ticket sales.

Brighton's record attendance at the Amex is 30,003 for the match with Wolverhampton Wanderers on May 4 2013 and, with Arsenal certain to bring a healthy away following, that total looks in danger of being toppled.

Whether the game attracts a record crowd or not, the Albion will benefit from a substantial pay-day when the North London giants come to town.

Paul Barber, the club's chief executive, told the Albion's official website he was looking forward to the game - particularly having worked for Arsenal's rivals Tottenham earlier in his career.

He said: "I'm really excited about it. I’m particularly pleased for our fans who deserve a big, plum, home draw like this, it’s fantastic.

"It's great for the fans. It’s fantastic for the club’s reputation across the world. The FA Cup is the most popular competition anywhere in the world, and in many cases it is broadcast live across more than 200 countries every year, so it’s magnificent for the club’s reputation.

"Obviously financially there are rewards too, particularly if we get selected for live TV. We'd expect a good crowd, good hospitality sales and retail revenue. It should be a really good day for the club and if we progress, then even better."

Brighton will publish ticket details on their official website as soon as the match arrangements are finalised.

The club's Championship game with Ipswich Town, which was due to take place on January 24, will be rearranged.