Also known: The Mariners
Year Formed: 1894
Home: White Shirts, Black Shorts, Black Stockings
Away: Yellow with green trim. (On FM anyway.)
In an often quoted reference made to the club by one of its early officials, “Marine Football Club was founded in 1894 by a few well-known gentlemen of the district meeting at the Marine Hotel in Waterloo”. The Marine Hotel, shown below, still stands at the bottom of South Road. Marine Football Club, who initially played at Waterloo Park behind St Mary’s Church, are also of course still going though they moved to their current ground in College Road in 1904. The Marine pub has been through extensive refurbishment in recent years. Marine Football Club has also gone through some extensive changes since it first started.
The key word in the quote used above is ‘gentlemen’. This was never a mere ‘pub’ team but rather a club that in its early days had a reputation for exclusivity, perhaps reflected in the amateur status which it was able to maintain until the 1970s. In spite of its amateur status the club progressed at a remarkable rate in the first 50 years of its existence. The first league competition in which it competed was Liverpool’s I Zingari League. In the mid 1920s it changed to the Liverpool County Combination and then, in 1935, began a period in the Lancashire Combination which would last until the end of the 1960s.
Marine became known as one of the top amateur clubs in the country but, sadly, were unable to translate this into success in the F.A. Amateur Cup – the F.A.’s key national competition for amateur sides until it was replaced by the F.A. Trophy and F.A. Vase in the early 1970s. Marine pursued this goal with vigour throughout their first 70 years but only came close on two occasions. In 1932 they reached the final, played at West Ham United’s ground against Dulwich Hamlet. The Londoners proved the far stronger side and emerged 7 – 1 winners in a game often remembered for the quagmire of a pitch with which both teams were faced. Marine also reached the semi final in 1946 when, at the home of Dulwich Hamlet, they were beaten 1 – 0 by Barnet.
It was, perhaps, inevitable that Marine would one day have to acknowledge the fact that their amateur status was no longer sustainable. It was in 1974 that this occurred, the F.A Amateur Cup was no more, Marine were by then in the Cheshire County League but perhaps more significantly they were managed by Roly Howard. Already having secured the Cheshire County League Championship in 1973/1974, Roly Howard would continue to manage the club until 2005 and would bring many more trophies to the club in his reign. On two occasions they have reached the semi-finals of the F.A. Trophy but their best achievement under Roly’s leadership must have been the two consecutive Northern Premier League titles picked up in 1993/1994 and 1994/1995.
In the close season of 2005 Marine appointed Alvin McDonald as manager, who brought with him his assistant Peter Carroll. Alvin and Peter came to the club with a big reputation in non-League football in the North West. In their first two seasons they have not disappointed. Marine have finished in a play off place in the Unibond Premier Division in each of the past two seasons. In 2006/2007 they also reached the final of the United Co-Operatives Challenge Trophy (long known as the Lancashire Junior Cup and more recently as the ATS Challenge Trophy and Marsden Lancashire Trophy). Let’s hope it won’t be long before Marine gain promotion to the Conference North and again emulate some of their great cup runs of the past.
Club details and badge from www.napit.co.uk. Club history section from www.marinefc.co.uk