Marine AFC are fighting for a play-off place that would take them into the National League North.

The Merseyside club hit national headlines with their 2021 FA Cup exploits which ended with a televised home clash with Tottenham Hotspur.

Speaking to Merseysportlive, chairman Paul Leary is proud of their great run and how they wasted no time in investing the money in the club.

They received more than £30,000 from virtual ticket sales alone from the Spurs game.

They installed a state of the art 3G Quality Pro football pitch in 2022 which was all self-funded.

They benefited from a recent government grant of up to £22,000 which they used to buy new LED flood lights.

Leary said: “Basically the pitch and associate works cost just under £600,000 and was predominately funding by us which is amazing.”

This means they now have a stadium that meets the stringent requirements of the National league.

It is a historic moment for the club and the product of a fairy-tale cup run, government funding and great management in the last 20 years.

However, there are still some limitations Marine have to face, like many clubs at their level.

For example, Premier league funding only goes as far as the National league which has led to many clubs below that either on the brink or bankrupt.

Leary added: “It is very difficult for non league clubs to balance the books and to invest in facilities.

“There is a stadium improvement fund by the premier league for them to help.

“The national league does receive some distribution from the premier league but the leagues below don’t receive any distribution from the Premier League.”

Leary believes talks are ongoing with the Premier League and he’s hopeful clubs like Marine currently in lower leagues could benefit from funding and help clubs get back on their feet.

Last season, Marine won promotion to the Northern Premier league with a 2-1 win against Runcorn Linnets in the play-off final.

This season has been very challenging as the club just missed out of going into the playoffs with a 3-1 defeat at home to Guiseley.

There is plenty of games left and Marine are still in a good position to get themselves in a play off place.

Leary says everyone at the club would love to see them reach the football league in the future.

But for now their sights are on a more realistic target – promotion at the end of this season.

(Featured Image by Oliver Green, MerseySportLive)