Marine v Spurs – One Year On

161…

One hundred sixty-one spaces… That is what separated Tottenham Hotspur Football Club and the Magpies of Marine AFC in the English football pyramid. There had never been a larger gap between two teams in the history of the FA Cup. Marine had already made it through seven rounds of the most arduous and prestigious tournament in all of England. Tottenham Hotspur was just entering the competition due to their Premier League status. The two clubs could not have been any more opposite in every way, but that did not matter. One year ago today, the world was treated to a little slice of FA Cup magic. A team of part-timers from the 8th division were set to take on the likes of Gareth Bale, Lucas Moura, and Dele Alli from the pinnacle of English football. While Marine was not able to cement their claim as the greatest “giant killer” of all-time, the game itself serves as a testament to the power of the sport and supporters coming together for something greater than a 90 minute match.

3,185…

What a sight it would have been for 3,185 people to cram into Rossett Park to see these stars of the Premier League on this neighborhood stadium. 2021 had other ideas…

With COVID-19 restrictions still in place, fans, like me, saw a sight like none other at a match. The end of the 2020 season and beginning of the 2021 season acclimated us fans to watching matches in these cavernous cathedrals pumped full of artificial noise to simulate the roar of the crowd and dilute the … “fruity language” of the players on the field, but that was nothing compared to what we saw on the field one year ago on Merseyside. Heads poked out of windows. Home gardens were full of lawn chairs. Face emerged from behind fences. It was unlike any match in the history of the FA Cup, and I will dare to say it will be unlike any FA Cup match to come.

90…

January 10, 2021 was not defined by the scoreline at the end of the full 90. Most people will not remember how Marine’s Neil Kengni nearly gave the hosts the lead in the 20th minute as his thunderous shot rattled the cross bar before it was swatted away for a corner by Spurs’ keeper Joe Hart. Most people will not remember Carlos Vinicius’ hat trick and signature pose after his tap-in opened the scoring. Most people will not remember how Alfie Devine’s strike to the near post put Spurs up 5-0 (while most Spurs fans will probably remember this goal made him the youngest player to score in club history). Most people will not remember the details of the match itself, but everyone will remember the unbreakable bond forged by two clubs at opposite ends of the football pyramid. Everyone will remember how Spurs were kind enough to bring an extra set of kits to give to the Marine players since shirt swapping was banned at this time due to COVID-19 restrictions.

32,202…

The period of matches behind closed doors was an odd one. While clubs like Spurs would still move forward despite the loss at the ticket booths, club like Marine could not survive periods without fans in the stands. To combat this problem, Marine’s CEO decided to launch a campaign where fans could purchase a virtual ticket to the match. The hope was to “sell-out” the 3000-plus seat stadium and raise £30,000, which he claimed would be a “massive” sum for the club. Well fans responded. Not only Marine fans but Spurs fans as well. Not only fans of the two clubs playing but fans all over England. Not only fans all over England but fans from all over the globe! Fans bonded together over one single match was able to help keep a modest club from England’s eighth division alive. When it was all said and done, 32,202 tickets were “sold.” Rossett Park’s attendance record will never be equaled, and it was all in the name of FA Cup magic.

It is stories like this that make me love Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. While I have only been supporting this club since the 2016-17 season, I have always known this community to be selfless and willing to help those in need. Whenever there has been a need, Spurs supporters have risen to the occasion. I have seen supporters groups raise money for local food banks during the holiday season. I have seen them raise money and support for families who have lost loved ones who were Spurs fans. I have seen them stand up to bullying and racism across the world. I have even experienced it first hand when my hometown was ravaged by a string of tornados and supporters from all over were willing to give to the people of my community here in Kentucky. Being a supporter of this club has shown me that being a member of the Spurs community is bigger than what happens on the field, and it is what makes me proud to be a supporter of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club!

-Dustin Gentile

I am super excited to be apart of the Podspur Team. If you’d like to follow me on Twitter, you can do so by clicking here. Thanks for reading, and let me know your thoughts in the comments. COME ON YOU SPURS!

Published by dgentile25

Follower of Christ. Husband. WKU Alum. Teacher/Asst. Athletic Director. Let's Go Preds. Go Tops. Go Blue. Come on You Spurs. Let’s Go Reds. Psalm 105:4

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