MARINE may not have played since January’s historic meeting with Tottenham but Richard Cross is confident the momentum built by their remarkable FA Cup exploits will continue into the start of the new campaign.

The eighth-tier outfit made headlines across the globe ahead of the biggest ever mismatch in terms of league position in the competition’s history, selling more than 30,000 tickets to supporters in over 60 countries worldwide to put Marine’s name firmly on the map.

As club secretary, Cross – who attended his first Mariners match aged nine – was heavily involved in ensuring the game ran smoothly against the backdrop of Covid regulations and media commitments and was named by the FA as one of the competition’s unsung heroes ahead of this season’s final.

With attentions now turning towards the start of the new Pitching In Northern Premier League season on August 14, the 35-year-old believes the club are well set to capitalise on their new-found notoriety.

“The Spurs game was undoubtedly the highlight of my time at the club,” he said.

“Although I didn’t kick a ball, I’d like to think I helped that game go ahead and it’s something people will talk about for years to come.

“Through the virtual ticket appeal, we had people saying they’d never heard of us before but will now follow our results.

“We’re hoping to capture those people and build our fanbase from that – we’re also looking into things like introducing overseas supporters’ groups.

“We are keen to encapsulate the buzz around Marine and we’re hoping come August we can open the doors and welcome as many spectators as we can.”

The Mariners could also benefit from an influx of fans of the region’s heavyweights who have lost the habit of going to Anfield or Goodison Park over the past year – or, in the case of the former, been turned off by the European Super League fiasco.

“There’s only one super league – the Northern Premier League,” Cross said.

“We have really good working relationships with Liverpool and Everton but we have noticed over the past five or six years that a number of supporters have wanted to try something different.

“We introduced half-price admission for Everton, Liverpool and Tranmere season ticket holders and we’ve seen a good uptake on that.

“We had to pause that last season due to the limits on numbers and until restrictions are relaxed, it’s not something we can do but we have seen a number of disenchanted Premier League fans come to Marine.”

Marine are one of 228 clubs across the three Trident Leagues supported by Pitching In, a landmark grassroots sport investment programme established by Ladbrokes with the support of its owner Entain.

In addition to funding, the initiative places a focus on community and volunteering and with this being National Volunteers’ Week, Cross sees now as an opportune time for others to start getting involved with their local non-league side.

“Any non-league club will welcome volunteers with open arms,” he said.

“I used to help out in summer holidays by painting the ground or weeding and since then I’ve helped with the programme, club shop, supporters’ club committee – and I’ve been on the management committee since 2006.

“Volunteers are the lifeblood of a football club and I’d recommend going to your nearest club and seeing where you can assist.

“It feels really rewarding to be involved with something at the heart of your community.”

Ladbrokes, with the support of its owner Entain, has launched a multi-million pound investment programme, Pitching In, designed to support and promote grassroots sports. For more details see: