Marine boss Neil Young has admitted that he fears their ‘dream’ FA Cup tie against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday might be derailed if there are positive tests in the eight-tier side’s camp.
According to The Evening Standard, a number of FA Cup third round ties are in doubt this weekend, with Shrewsbury’s visit to Southampton almost certain to be called off.
The Marine players underwent a first round of FA-funded coronavirus test last Friday and were tested again yesterday.
They are now awaiting the results of their second test and Young admitted that he fears that some of his players might test positive as they are not in bio-secure bubbles like their Premier League opponents.
He is quoted as saying: “These lads aren’t in bubbles like professional footballers, they’re in work environments.
“There were no issues whatsoever on Friday but [tonight] is a massive concern to me from a preparation perspective.
“It wouldn’t have to be the whole lot [who test positive] and we’d have to forfeit the game. We don’t have the luxury of reserve teams or youth teams or any lads sitting about. We’ve got 19 players, only 16 get paid if they’re in the squad.
“I want to make sure all the players who have got us here have that day out on Sunday.
“Friday night, Saturday morning is when we’ll know what we’ve got for the game, which from a preparation perspective is difficult. Fingers crossed everyone comes through.”
This is just the second time that an eighth-tier side have qualified for the third round of the FA Cup and the clash on Sunday represents the biggest ever gulf between two sides at this stage of the competition.
Young admitted that the match against Spurs will be the biggest in the club’s history and the culmination of their life’s work for many associated with the Crosby club.
He added: “It’s dream time for us. It means everything. I’ve been here two years but [for] some of our committee, it’s been their life’s work. They’ve supported the club all their lives, in some cases 50 or 60 years. And they’ve done all that work voluntarily.
“The satisfaction for me as a manager, to be able to get this far and bring Tottenham Hotspur to the club, is to see the look on the faces of our chairman, vice-chairman, secretary and some of the committee members. They can’t believe it. To get Tottenham Hotspur and one of the greatest managers to manage in the game is phenomenal.”
Although the match is set to be played behind closed doors, Young admitted that he expects spectators to watch on from the houses and trees overlooking Marine’s ground.
The 45-year-old said: “That’s the norm – someone’s having their roast dinner and someone’s having Prosecco.
“That’s part of the romance of the game, Jose Mourinho and Tottenham coming to our tight little ground with houses up against us.
“Our biggest worry is having enough balls because we can lose them at quite a rate.
“But we’re absolutely gutted at having no fans. When Tottenham came out the draw, everybody said we must keep our game at the ground.
“We were steadfast we wanted it here. Our club’s been going 126 years and we’ve never had a game like this. To make those memories, you want to talk about it in your own ground.”
Spurs Web Opinion
One can certainly understand how devastating it must be both emotionally and financially for Marine should the tie be called off in light of positive tests, especially considering how hard they had to work to get to this stage of the competition. However, the players’ safety has to be the priority and I suspect the game will be called off even if there are a few cases in the non-league side’s camp.
Have something to tell us about this article?