Match preview: Marine A.F.C. v Tottenham Hotspur FC FA Cup 3rd Round

Match preview: Marine A.F.C. v Tottenham Hotspur FC FA Cup 3rd Round

5pm 10 January 2021

The game – which kicks off at 17:00 GMT – is live on BBC One.

Many people have contacted me to ask if I could tell them a little bit about Marine, who we face in the FA Cup. Here goes…

They come from Crosby, Merseyside; their full title is Marine Association Football club. They were founded in 1894, in the reign of Queen Victoria. They are a member of both the Liverpool County and Lancashire County Football Associations and currently plays in the Northern Premier League Division One North West.

Marine currently had the longest-serving manager in post-war English football. Roly Howard occupied the post from 1972 to 2005 and a total of 1,975 games. In May 2005, his final match was a 1–0 defeat against Everton in the final Liverpool Senior Cup.

The club has twice reached the third round of the FA Cup. In 1992–93 they lost 3–1 to Crewe Alexandra, and now in 2020–21, where they face us. Marine have beaten three Football League clubs (Barnsley, Halifax Town and Colchester United) in the competition to get to the third round this season.

Marine have twice reached the FA Trophy’s semi-finals in 1983–84 and 1991–92. Both times, they played a team from the Northwich area. They played both first legs away managing creditable draws 1–1 and 2–2 but could not finish the job off at home. In 1983–84 they lost 1–3 on aggregate to Northwich Victoria. In 1991–92 they lost 3–6 on aggregate to Witton Albion.

The stadium where they will play us is called Marine Travel Arena. The club plays at Rossett Park, located on College Road in Crosby. It is believed that the ground has been in use since at least 1884 when Rugby Union was played there. Marine has played at the ground since 1903, when it moved from its previous base at Waterloo Park, Crosby. The ground’s current capacity is 3,185, of which 389 are seated. Between 2006 and 2015, the ground was known as the Arriva Stadium due to a sponsorship deal.

On 24 January 2011, the club announced plans to develop the Arriva Stadium. The outdated floodlights were replaced in the summer of 2012 with a new eco-friendly 4 corner system. The club plans to build a 130-seat covered stand at the Crosender Road end of the ground.

In August 2015, Rossett Park was renamed the Marine Travel Arena due to a sponsorship deal with the club’s existing shirt sponsors, Marine Travel. The deal will continue until 2024. And if it wasn’t for this bloody virus, I would be there. So, there you have it.

Now you know a little about the club, to the match on Sunday.

We are doing reasonably well in the League (only losing three games), in the Final of the League Cup and in the Europa League’s knock-out stages. You can’t ask for more.

All competition is essential to Mourinho, so he plans to play a strong team in Sunday’s FA Cup third-round tie at non-league Marine. Left up to Pochettino – a competition he had no respect for – the lineup probably would show just youngsters.

Team News

Gareth Bale has asked to play after recovering from a calf injury, but midfielder Giovani lo Celso is out with a hamstring problem.

Matt Doherty is back from suspension and could slot straight into the team in place of Serge Aurier.

Harry Kane could very well start alongside Dele Alli. Joe Hart, Japhet Tanganga and Joe Rodon will all be among those expected to feature from the off, while midfield protege Harvey White will be hopeful of earning some valuable minutes too.

Marine’s Northern Premier League North West Division campaign is suspended, and their squad includes a refuse collector, NHS workers and teachers.

Marine manager Neil Young: “I have done a lot of analysis with the help of Liverpool, who have given us some information in terms of the games.”

Jose Mourinho said: “I don’t think they want to play against Tottenham Under-23s, they want to play against the guys they are used to watching, admiring, used to following and we want to give them that. Myself and my staff, the respect is the way we are preparing the game and the same way we’re trying to know their striker, their centre-back, keeper, their tactical organisation. It’s the same we do with other opponents, of course of a different level. I feel very happy to play them, and I understand the dream. It’s up to us to bring them back to reality, but I clearly understand the dream.”

My thoughts and prediction

The Merseysiders have done so well to get here that it’s such a shame that there won’t be any of their fans to cheer them along. It is the biggest game in their club’s history, but it will still be a marvellous day for them.

Even though they won’t be any crowds they have made some money by selling virtual tickets and the £75,000 they get for it being shown on the BBC.

We appear to be finding our feet again at the worst time possible for Marine, whom Mourinho has promised will be facing a healthy, strong team.

Marine AFC FA Cup form: WWWWWW

Marine AFC form (all competitions): WWWLWW

Tottenham Hotspur form (all competitions): LLWDWW

My prediction; 5-0 or more.

Match stats

This will be Marine’s first FA Cup match against a top-flight opponent.

This will be our first FA Cup match against non-league opposition since January 1995, when they beat Altrincham 3-0 in a third-round tie.

This is just Marine’s second appearance in the FA Cup third round. They went out at this stage in 1992-93 against Crewe Alexandra.

We have progressed from 13 of our past 14 FA Cup third-round ties, with the exception being a 0-2 loss at Arsenal in 2013-14.

One more thing: this year ends in a “1”. The club has a powerful connection with the year ending in one. In 1901 we became the only non-league team to win the FA Cup. In 1921 (a hundred years ago), we won it again, the League in 1951 and the double in 1961. In 1971 we won the League Cup and 1981 & 1991 the FA Cup again. Out of all these the only ones I missed was in 1901, 1921 and 1951… and that was because I wasn’t alive then.

That’s it folks, stay safe and take care,



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