The Travel Village’s Richard Cross appeared on Match of the Day Live yesterday in his role as club secretary for Marine FC – who faced Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup.
The non-league club may have lost 0-5 to their Premier League visitors but Cross and club president Dave Thompson – managing director of Marine Travel – had an “incredible” day, despite Covid restrictions keeping fans away.
Cross’s day job is sales and commercial manager for The Travel Village’s Southampton Cruise Centre but he has also been Marine FC’s club secretary for the past 10 years.
Normally his secretarial role involves dealing with admin for the volunteer-run community club, which plays in the Northern Premier League Division One North West and is known as the Mariners.
In the run-up to the FA Cup fixture at the Marine Travel stadium, he liaised with his counterpart at Spurs, and then was interviewed live on BBC TV by Match of the Day presenter Kelly Somers (pictured).
He also met Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker and pundits Alan Shearer and Ian Wright.
“The interest was global – when we were drawn against Spurs, there was interest from as far afield as Australia and America, from TV, radio, newspapers and magazines,” he said.
Cross was also delighted with the virtual ticket scheme that the club held, which sold more than 30,000 tickets, raising £300,000.
“Alan, Gary and Ian also bought tickets,” said Cross, who lives near the Merseyside club and has been a fan since he was given a free ticket at the age of nine. “The experience has been great and I have built relationships up and down the country.”
Club president Dave Thompson has also been a fan since childhood and started sponsoring the club in 2012.
Four years later, Marine Travel offered the club a 10-year sponsorship plan and became the shirt and stadium sponsor for the ground in Crosby, which became the Marine Travel Arena.
“It was crazy and has been a great boost for the club,” he said. “The money raised enables us to move forward with our plans for the club.”
Now it’s back to the day jobs for Cross at The Travel Village and Thompson at Marine Travel – a specialist agency based in Canterbury, serving travellers in the maritime industry.