21 in 21 – Marine

Marine are the focus of today’s 21 in 21.


When do we play them?

Home: Saturday 6th October
Away: Saturday 9th February

Name: Marine FC
Nickname: The Mariners
Founded: 1894
Ground: Marine Travel Arena
Manager: Tommy Lawson
Home Kit: White & Black
Away Kit: Yellow & Green
2017-2018 – Northern Premier League – Premier Division – 19th

Club History:

The club was formed in 1894 by a group of local businessmen and former college students. Marine takes its name from a hotel on the River Mersey sea front at Waterloo, seven miles to the north of Liverpool city centre, where the founders of the club met. Marine moved to its present ground, the Arriva Stadium (formerly known as Rossett Park), in 1903.

Marine quickly made an impression on local football, winning numerous titles in the I Zingari League and the Liverpool Combination. The club’s greatest success as an amateur team in this period culminated in an F.A. Amateur Cup Final appearance in 1931–32, when they lost 7–1 to Dulwich Hamlet in front of a 22,000 crowd at Upton Park.

In 1935–36 the club moved to the all-professional Lancashire Combination and enjoyed limited success before moving to the Cheshire County League in 1969–70. In 1972 Roly Howard was appointed first team manager and completed 1,975 competitive games over a 33-year period before he retired at the end of the 2004–05 season. He was recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the longest serving manager in world football as Marine enjoyed its most successful period, winning some 30 trophies.

The club relinquished its amateur status and became professional in 1974. Three Cheshire League Championships were won in five seasons, before Marine progressed to the Northern Premier League in 1979–80. They have twice been Champions (1993–94 and 1994–95) as well as twice being runners-up and have won the League Cup on four occasions (1984–85, 1991–92, 2002–03 and 2015–16).

In 2001, Marine were the subject of a six-part television series for Granada TV, titled Marine Lives. The series included footage of former player Jason McAteer returning to visit the club.
In 1999, the magazine Fourfourtwo did a monthly feature on the club sending Michael Hann to follow them for an entire season.

Under the new management team of Alvin McDonald and assistant Peter Carroll, Marine twice qualified for the Northern Premier Division play-offs twice in succession (2005–06 and 2006–07), losing to the eventual winners each time. In the 2007–08 season, the club finished seventh and won the Liverpool Senior Cup. McDonald left the club partway through the 2008–09 season following a poor run of form, with players Kevin Lynch and Phil Brazier being appointed caretakers. At the end of the season, Lynch was appointed permanent manager with Brazier as his assistant.

Lynch departed the club at the end of the 2012–13 season to become first team coach at Chesterfield FC, and was replaced by Brazier. However, Brazier was sacked at the end of the following season with the club having narrowly avoided relegation.

Former Vauxhall Motors boss Carl Macauley took over at the beginning of the 2014–15 season, but a poor run of form saw the club in the relegation zone, 11 points from safety, and he was sacked. Defender Sean Hessey was placed in temporary charge until the end of the season, and guided the club to a remarkable escape from relegation, with only one defeat in their final twelve games. The club were reprieved from relegation despite finishing in 21st place, due to having the highest average points per game of clubs in the highest relegation spots across the three equivalent divisions. This meant that the club continues to hold their record as the longest-serving members of the Northern Premier League. Hessey was confirmed as the club’s permanent manager prior to the end of the 2014–15 season.

In the 2015–16 season, Marine had a less turbulent ending to the league campaign culminating in a 15th-place finish. Trusting in many of the players that ensured the clubs survival the previous season, the club started the campaign well but with the weather leading to many postponements the winter saw not only a disjointed fixture list, but also a run of poor performances. Marine gained more stability in the latter stages of the season and this in particular led to a strong performance in the league cup, beating Glossop North End, Ramsbottom United and Workington to progress to the quarter-finals. A home draw saw Ossett Town narrowly beaten 1–0 before Colwyn Bay were drawn to visit Rossett Park in the semi finals.

Under new management and with relegation all but sealed, Colwyn Bay struggled in the game and were defeated 4–1 with Alan Burton, Andy Owens, James Foley and player-manager Sean Hessey getting on the score-sheet. This set up a final against Scarborough Athletic to be held at Throstle Nest, home of Farsley Celtic. Marine struggled in the match with Hessey dropping himself to the bench in place of defender Liam Willis who became captain in place of the unavailable Andy Nicholas. Going 0–1 down in the 58th minute, it wasn’t until the player-manager subbed himself on for Willis in the 80th minute that Marine looked dangerous. The defender taking a free-kick which was headed in by Warren Bellew in the 87th minute. At 1–1, the game looking destined for penalties, was turned on its head in the fourth minute of added time as that seasons highest club goalscorer Danny Mitchley curled in an effort from the edge of the box to win the game for Marine. This was the fourth time that Marine FC have won the league cup, a record for this competition.

Towards the end of a dismal 2016–2017 season. Hessey left the club and was replaced by Tommy Lawson. A mass walk-out of players didn’t help Lawson but he managed to assemble a squad at short notice. He then guided the club away from the relegation zone after 5 wins in 11 games. Marine finished in 18th place in the table.

The 2017-2018 season was once again a disappointment with Marine unable to improve on the previous campaign and ended up finishing in 19th place in the table. Very poor home form once again saw the Mariners win only 6 of their 23 league games at the Marine Travel Arena. However the team did do well in the cups reaching the final of the Liverpool Senior Cup. Home advantage at Marine didn’t help and 750 fans saw them well and truly beaten 4-0 by Prescot Cables. They also went on a decent run in the FA Trophy beating Whitby Town and Atherton Collieries. They then saw off teams from the division above in FC United and Chorley before a first ever visit to Dover Athletic saw them unlucky to lose 3-4 against the Conference National team.

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