‘I will shed a tear or two at kick-off’: Marine get ready for their greatest day

Before the historic FA Cup visit of Tottenham key people at the non-league club talk of excitement, worries and sadness

It costs £160 to hire the Arriva Suite at Marine AFC on a Sunday – resident DJ and security included – and the club website lists weddings, family parties and christenings among options for “the best facility in the area”. The suite will not generate any income this Sunday, nor any day soon, but will serve as Tottenham’s changing room for the FA Cup tie that borders on fantasy, invokes joy and regret, and gives those who dedicate themselves to a non-league club in Crosby the greatest moment of their football lives.

“I think I will shed one or two tears when we kick off,” admits Paul Leary who, as a committee member since 1978, treasurer for quarter of a century and chairman for the past 16 years, embodies the commitment on which non-league football stands. “It will be quite emotional for me.”

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