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Marine look to stun Spurs after helping hand

1 Jan 2021
Marine pitch

How Premier League funding has helped non-league club, who play dream FA Cup tie against Tottenham Hotspur this weekend

When Marine FC welcome Tottenham Hotspur to their Marine Travel Arena on Merseyside in the FA Cup, the non-league will target arguably the biggest giantkilling in the competition's history.

Sunday's tie marks another milestone for the Merseyside club, which has been transformed over the last couple of years with the help of Premier League funding.

Marine play in Division One North West of the Northern Premier League, the eighth tier of English football, and in 2019 a grant from the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF) transformed their fortunes.

The FSIF is wholly funded by Premier League clubs and its funds enabled Marine to build a brand new clubhouse, entrance and turnstiles as well as providing facilities for disabled supporters.

"It helps a club of our size to generate income that helps to keep Marine FC alive," club chair Paul Leary told Jamie Carragher when the former Liverpool FC captain visited just over a year ago.

CC

The financial support for Marine from the Premier League continued at a crucial time last year to help the club deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Marine were one of more than 1,000 clubs from the National League System, Women's Football Pyramid and Welsh Premier League to use grants from the Matchday Support Fund, which has distributed more than £5.5million.

That money allowed Marine to make their ground safer from the risks posed by COVID-19 for when fans were able to attend this season.

Marine also made use of the Pitch and Club Preparation Fund, which awarded £8.7million in grants from the Premier League, FA and Government's Football Foundation to help clubs prepare playing surfaces and facilities for the return of football in the summer.

'Vital support'

"This vital financial support [was] available precisely at the right time after a prolonged period of closure," said Leary earlier this year after seeing his club go five months with no income. "Without this funding we wouldn’t have been able to re-open our stadium and play competitive football in front of spectators."

The new Government restrictions will prevent Marine's fans from making use of the new facilities at the FA Cup third-round match on Sunday, the club's biggest match in their history. 

Carragher and Spurs help out

Carragher himself has also stepped up to help his local club to help address the shortfall of revenue. The Sky Sports pundit will sponsor the club's dugouts and pre-match warm-up tops through his charity, the JC23 Foundation.

And ahead of the tie, Spurs have also been playing their part in supporting Marine's work in the local community.

Former captain Gary Mabbutt joined Liverpool legend David Fairclough, a Marine in the Community ambassador, on a call with participants and volunteers to answer questions and to find out more about how Marine have helped the community during the pandemic.

Spurs have also donated signed merchandise and exclusive prizes including Stadium Tour and Skywalk vouchers to raise funds for Marine.

Tottenham Hotspur fans have so far helped raise £15,000 for the non-league club via the purchase of virtual tickets.

Their flags and banners will be placed on display in the stands at the Marine Travel Arena for Sunday’s match.

See: Spurs support Marine community efforts ahead of historic cup tie

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