FA Cup third spherical: Inside non-league Marine earlier than their tie with Tottenham

Paul Leary is in his 16th season as chairman of Marine, which takes its name from a local hotel where the club’s founders met

Date: Sunday January 10th Conference location: Marine Travel Arena Kicking off: 17:00 GMT Cover: Live on BBC One – setup starts at 4:30 p.m. Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live plus text commentary on the BBC Sports website

At Non-League Marine, they not only roll out the red carpet for Tottenham’s FA Cup visit, but also bring the carpet cleaners.

Paul Leary, chairman of the club that plays in the eighth division of English football, is determined that the boardroom in the Marine Travel Arena will be spotless for Sunday’s third round with the eight-time winners.

While Spurs, fourth in the Premier League, can call on the services of World Cup winner Hugo Lloris and English captain Harry Kane if necessary, the Northern Premier League’s One North West Marine division will have NHS staff, teachers and a garbage collector used.

It is the greatest gap at this stage in the history of the famous competition.

“It’s like a dream. We were two minutes away from Barnoldswick Town in the preliminary round,” said lifelong Navy fan Barry Lenton.

“After four months, we’re getting ready to welcome Tottenham. It’s surreal.”

While there is an overwhelming sense of sadness that the biggest event in Marine’s 127-year history will take place without a fan, there is excitement in the town of Crosby, seven miles north of Liverpool city center, where the Mariners are located.

What can Jose Mourinho and his players expect when they arrive at the intimate 3,185-seat Marine Travel Arena, a world apart from the top tier of English football?

Pritchard's Bookshop in Crosby sells a 125 year anniversary book for MarineSince the draw, Pritchards Bookshop in Crosby has reported a surge in demand for a Marine 125th Anniversary book published in 2019

From the wedding reception to the dressing room

Spurs players are used to stylish downlights, leather seats, and personalized lockers to store their gear in £ 1 billion Tottenham Hotspur Stadium At home.

This weekend they are moved to a room with a bar and are usually rented out for wedding receptions and birthday parties.

Mourinho will hold his team talk the Arriva Suiteexternal link in place of the changing room due to social distancing rules and the size of Tottenham’s travel allotment.

The event room with up to 150 seats was closed for most of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Including disco and security, a full day wedding in room costs £ 220.

The Arriva Suite in the Marine Football Club, used by Tottenham's players as a dressing room for the third round of the FA Cup between the teams in the Marine Travel ArenaTottenham’s players are switched in the Arriva Suite, which is normally used as a function room

It has been converted into a dressing room for visitors, which could include England midfielder Dele Alli and the club record of £ 55 million for Tanguy Ndombele.

“Marine is a volunteer community club full of character and history,” says Leary, a qualified accountant who describes his role at the club as “love work.”

“We will make sure that everything is right and right for Tottenham.”

A graphic illustrating the difference between the Marine Travel Arena and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Five star lunch boxes

Navy goods managed by Roly Howard between 1972-2005 – recorded in the Guinness World Record Bookexternal link as the longest reign in football – and the history of the club, which was founded in 1894, can proudly be seen in the boardroom at the back of the main stand.

Before the pandemic, the directors could help themselves to a buffet in the meeting room. “You can’t do that these days,” Leary adds.

Instead, Tottenham Chairman Daniel Levy and his tour group are presented with “five-star” lunch boxes that are individually prepared and packaged.

The boardroom of the non-league Navy Football Club that hosts Tottenham Hotspur for the third round of the FA CupAccess to Marine’s boardroom is limited to 12 people on the day of the game due to social distancing rules

“We’ll have the carpet cleaned too,” says Leary, pointing to the gray floor in the boardroom.

“To be able to say ‘Welcome to the Marine Travel Arena’ to Tottenham is special not only for me, but also for our committee and many of the hardworking volunteers.

“There will never be another moment like this.”

A flag on the premises of the Non-League Navy in CrosbyNavy fans posted an FA Cup song while US supporter Scott Reece sent out a special banner for the tie

“Fancy a glass of red, Jose?”

The compact Marine Travel Arena is 1.6 km from the beach and is home to Sir Antony Gormley’s Statues of iron men, on College Road and is surrounded by shops, cafes, and businesses, many of which advertise on the club program.

Marine is at the heart of the community, organizing and delivering food boxes to those in need of protection.

There is a main stand with 389 seats in the neat three-sided area.

A ticket to the FA Cup game between Marine and Tottenham Hotspur in the third round of the FA CupMarine was granted permission to let 500 fans into the tie before the area was classified in the third tier in late December

Both shelters are on a narrow stretch just behind the houses on Rossett Road. The fences are numbered on the side so ball boys and girls know which door to knock on when the ball lands in a garden.

For the last round against Havant & Waterlooville, Several homeowners were seen climbing trees and peering over walls and fences to watch.

“They’re only a few feet away and close enough to give Jose a glass of red wine,” laughs Leary.

Lenton, who has seen more than 2,000 Navy games since 1964 and compiled the club’s 125th anniversary book, adds: “It will be very different from what Tottenham is used to, but I think they will be impressed with the facilities .

“We’re known and loved in non-league circles. People like Marine because it’s a friendly club.”

The away game at Marine Travel Arena, home of non-league Marine FC and entertaining Tottenham Hotspur in the third round of the FA CupJose Mourinho will sit in the opposition dugout, just behind the houses on Rossett Road

“It’s not far from me”

Tottenham fans have put up several GoFundMe pagesexternal link to raise money for navy who a £ 10 virtual game ticket A raffle allows them to get back some of the potential £ 100,000 they can lose if there are no fans and the sponsorship has lost.

By Wednesday they had sold more than 5,400 virtual tickets, while a Spurs fans blog in the USexternal link raised enough money to sponsor the shorts for the tie.

Hundreds of souvenir half scarves designed by the Crosby born fashion entrepreneur George Davies, were sold online. Former Liverpool and England defender Jamie Carragher, who lives in town, sponsors the dugouts and pre-game warm-up tops through his JC23 Foundation.external link

Despite the lack of supporters, Leary hopes global interest in the tie will attract new supporters to the club, whose average league participation was 446 in 2019-20.

The press box in the Marine Travel ArenaMarine’s home games usually attract two media people. There will be at least 24 for the Spurs tie

Since drawing Spurs, Marine has answered media inquiries from Russia, Australia and Thailand, while Everton boss and Crosby resident Carlo Ancelotti has sent his local team a happy message and an invitation to Mourinho.

“I have to take Mourinho for a drink after the game, if possible – it’s not far from me,” said the former boss of AC Milan, Real Madrid, Paris St-Germain and Bayern Munich.

“I need to talk to him about the beach and the beautiful area that Crosby is.”

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