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Non-League Day

How Premier League is helping Marine FC to a new level

11 Oct 2019
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Jamie Carragher hears from Paul Leary, chair of the non-league club, on how Football Stadia Improvement Fund has changed their fortunes

The Premier League is celebrating Non-League Day on Saturday 12 October, with fans encouraged to attend a non-league match in their area.

Marine FC

Marine FC play in Division One North West of the Northern Premier League, the eighth tier of English football.

They are one of more than 100 non-league clubs who in the past year have improved their facilities thanks to grants from the Football Stadia Improvement Fund, wholly funded by the Premier League.

Paul Leary, chair of the Merseyside club, took former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher on a tour of the new facilities. 

He explains what a difference the FSIF grant has made to the club.

"The 2019/20 campaign is a very special one. The club is celebrating its 125th anniversary, while we have been playing at our Marine Travel Arena home for 116 of those years.

"Like most clubs at our level, we are highly ambitious. We are striving to progress up the football pyramid as high as we can.

"Some of the facilities we had certainly needed to be upgraded. An important one was the clubhouse behind the main stand, which has been there since 1929.

"Thanks to investment from the Premier League, we have demolished it and replaced it with a fantastic facility of which we are all immensely proud.

"An £82,813 grant from the Football Stadia Improvement Fund made it all possible. 

"Without the Premier League investment, the project would not have happened and to see the job finished, paid for and opened for the first time was fantastic."

Paul Leary, Marine FC Chairman

"We now have a renovated club shop, matchday office, kit store as well as a kitchen area, servery, hospitality area and first-aid room for spectators.

"Also the grant has enabled us to provide facilities for disabled supporters, and a new entrance and turnstiles. The improvement to the front of the stadium is superb.

"All this means the club continues to provide the required facilities to adhere to Grade C of the FA National Ground Grading Criteria, applicable to our league position, so we do not have the fear of being demoted for lack of facilities. 

"It also helps a club of our size to generate income that helps to keep Marine FC alive. 

"When we officially opened the facilities before our opening match with Dunston UTS on 17 August, it was probably the proudest moment I have had in 15 years as chairman.

"Without the Premier League investment, the project would not have happened and to see the job finished, paid for and opened for the first time was fantastic."

Show your support on Non-League Day

You can show support for the hundreds of semi-professional and amateur clubs around England by going to a non-league match on 12 October.

To find your nearest non-league match, visit nonleagueday.co.uk/map.

Also in this series

Part 1: Scarborough's rise aided by Premier League

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