Marine striker Niall Cummins will be hoping to keep his school children happy when he comes up against Tottenham in the FA Cup third round on Sunday.
The Northern Premier League side, playing in the eighth tier of English football, welcome Jose Mourinho’s superstars to the Marine Travel Arena for the biggest mismatch in FA Cup history.
By day Cummins is a secondary school teacher but this weekend he will be trying to get the better of the likes of Eric Dier, Toby Alderweireld and Davinson Sanchez.
His pupils have been ribbing him about the challenge that lies ahead and been giving him a list of Spurs players he might want to tussle with.
“Since the moment the game was drawn out there has been a buzz absolutely everywhere from the club and wider to family and friends, people I have never spoken to before coming out of the hatch,” he said.
“I am a high school teacher in a secondary school in south Manchester. Every kid has give me some stick, ‘Are you going to do this to this player, are you going to score, whose shirt are you going to ask for’.
“Then you’re thinking if you do something bad then you are going to be a GIF by the end of the week. Everyone has been really supportive.
“We are an eighth-tier team playing against World Cup winners and Golden Boot winners, you don’t get that anywhere else.”
Cummins admits that having an opposing manager with the profile of Mourinho coming to the quaint club based in Crosby will be a day to remember.
“To have Jose Mourinho here, you see his CV, it’s frightening, it’s unbelievable,” he added. “But he is a born winner and that is going to be our downfall, he will want to come here and win.
“We’ve all seen him when he runs 10 or 15 yards to the fourth official and if he does that here he will be on the halfway line, we have about a one-yard touchline.”
The standout story of Marine’s memorable FA Cup run so far was goalkeeper Bayleigh Passant going to the Co-Op to buy some celebratory beers after their second-round win over Havant & Waterlooville.
That will not be a problem for this game as Budweiser have donated a fridge full of beer, which has taken pride of place in the home dressing room.
Boss Neil Young will be hoping he will be able to share a post-match drink with Mourinho after the game, even though just coming up against him is a big enough moment.
“Being opposite Jose in the dugout is incredible for our football club,” he said. “To be able to bring Tottenham here for the third round of the FA Cup is unbelievable.
“He is a world-class manager, his record and CV speaks for itself. To be able to manage against Jose is a real proud moment.
“It is a proud moment to show our little football club off. It is our biggest disappointment that we can’t have any fans in. We were very keen to have it here to get our fans in.”
With the match now being played behind closed doors, the club have sold virtual match tickets and Budweiser is also providing free beers to every Marine season ticket holder.
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