Marine manager Neil Young says his side’s historic FA Cup run could save the non-league club after it ended with a 5-0 defeat to Tottenham.
The Merseyside club play in the Northern Premier Division North West League and welcomed Spurs for the biggest mismatch in the competition’s history, with 160 places between them in the footballing pyramid.
Despite such a chasm, Marine were not disgraced even though a strong Tottenham side eased to victory at the Marine Travel Arena.
Jose Mourinho’s side won it through Carlos Vinicius’ first-half hat-trick, a Lucas Moura free-kick and a goal which saw Alfie Devine become the club’s youngest ever player and goalscorer at 16 years and 163 days.
But this was all about the eighth-tier side, who enjoyed a dream day and made enough money to safeguard their future for some time, selling over 30,000 virtual match tickets which supplemented a TV fee and prize money for reaching this round of the competition.
And in no way were this team – made up of teachers, plumbers, factory workers and bin men earning a maximum £300 per week – embarrassed.
That financial windfall could help save a club who do not know when their next game will be with their league currently suspended due to coronavirus.
“The run for me I am very proud of, you look at the teams we have played and we have beaten home and away,” Young said. “It is past our wildest dreams to bring Tottenham to Marine. I wish we could have done more.
“The cup run has been a lifesaver for us financially for where we are in non-league. There has been no help for teams in step three and below.
“Hopefully we have made non-league proud, but we have just got to take the positives of the whole run and what it will do for our football club.
“This could be our last game of the season. I wanted to get all the lads in, we don’t know what is coming next, and I just wanted to make sure we had a huddle and told them how well they have done.”
A memorable day threatened to become the biggest shock in the cup’s history when Neil Kengni thundered an effort off the crossbar before the goals began to flow for Tottenham.
Young added: “It was a nice experience from a football experience in terms of Tottenham coming here and Jose Mourinho doing what he said he would and paying us respect by playing a first-team squad.
“I was a bit concerned when he kept bringing better players on off the bench. The result wasn’t great but when you look at the quality of their players it was always going to be a tough afternoon.
“I just wish the one that hit the crossbar went in, just for the lads’ sake really.”
This game was never going to be about Tottenham, but they put in a professional performance and Mourinho was pleased with his side’s application.
He said: “Absolutely, absolutely. We start seriously and we finish seriously.
“We tried to kill the game as soon as we could, and we did that. The second half was a question of controlling the result, control the energy, control the potential injury, and of course I’m very happy with the way the players faced the game.
“You know, I think it was weird that we were ready for everything, even on the bench, the bench that we had, we were ready for everything.
“We didn’t want to be surprised. We were ready for difficulties. We were ready for absolutely anything because we wanted to win the game.
“To be 4-0, 5-0 or 6-0, for us in fact doesn’t make a difference. The difference for us is only to always have the game under control.
“They hit the bar yes but what could we do to stop it? We played always in their half. They didn’t create any danger.
“They had that long-distance shot that I thought that Joe thought was not even going close to his goal so was an isolated situation.
“I have to admit that if they score 1-0 it would bring even more emotion to the game but it’s OK.”