English Northern Premier League Division One North West football club Marine has launched an effort to virtually fill its stadium for the highly-anticipated FA Cup clash against Tottenham Hotspur, after it was confirmed the game will be played behind closed doors due to Covid-19.
Merseyside-based Marine will face Premier League high-flyers Tottenham on Sunday and there had been hope that fans would be in attendance when the draw for the FA Cup third round was made. Merseyside had been one of the areas of England that was permitted fan attendance for football matches and Marine had received permission to have up to 500 home fans at the 3,185-capacity Marine Travel Arena.
However, the UK Government’s announcement of stricter Covid-19 on December 30 put paid to that, as the Merseyside region was moved up into Tier 3 having been in Tier 2. Marine said the decision means it will lose around £100,000 (€111,000/$136,000) in potential revenue, adding this is a “disastrous blow” for the club.
Marine had earlier offered Tottenham season ticket holders free tickets to a Marine game during the 2021-22 season as away fans would not be allowed to attend the FA Cup match, and now the club has detailed the virtual match ticket plan.
Tickets have been priced at £10, with all purchases entered into a raffle with prizes including the ability to become manager of Marine for one full pre-season friendly next season. The club is also offering two weekenders for four people in Liverpool including hotel and Marine match tickets, two Marine season tickets and a signed Marine shirt.
Marine said: “The Marine barometer will try and fill our 3,185 capacity stadium, the Marine Travel Arena. A club like Marine lives for this type of FA Cup run that can make or break the club’s future.
“With this support, our magical FA Cup run will hopefully allow us to secure our future for years to come. We can’t express our gratitude enough for the support we have received so far from across the footballing spectrum.”
Sunday’s game represents only the second time a team from the eighth tier of English football will play in the third round of the FA Cup after Chasetown FC was knocked out by Cardiff City in 2008.
Marine today (Monday) announced that the virtual ticket scheme had reached 4,700 sales, only 1,300 away from the club’s record match attendance.