A FOOTBALL coach at Ellesmere College will come face to face with some of the world’s best players after his non-league side in the eighth tier of English football drew Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup.

David Raven plays centre-back for Marine AFC, who have defied odds to reach the third round of the famous competition, and were rewarded for their efforts with a home match against José Mourinho’s Spurs.

Raven and his teammates celebrated reaching the third round after a 1-0 win in extra time against Havant & Waterlooville at the weekend.

The celebrations at the end of the game were repeated again on Monday night as Robbie Savage pulled the names out of the bowl for the third round draw, leaving Raven in disbelief.

“I couldn’t believe it – my family was going absolutely mental,” he said.

“It was one of them – I either wanted a team like Tottenham or some of the other top clubs, or someone beatable.

“I didn’t really want anything in-between. There aren’t many teams still in the competition that you’d say are beatable now, so it was always a few of the top teams we were hoping it would be.

“It’s the best draw we could’ve hoped for.

“We’re not going to win the cup and it’s a massive ask to get through to the fourth round, but it gives the local population something to dream about and shout about, especially after this year which has been so challenging – it’s what it’s all about.”

The 35-year-old centre-back is happy to have drawn one of the competitions bigger names, with Tottenham currently joint at the top of the Premier League table.

However, he insists his side will not be intimidated about the quality they are set to come up against.

He said: “I think Mourinho is the sort of guy who puts out the good players because he wants the community here to be able to say they’ve seen the likes of Harry Kane, Gareth Bale and so on.

“I think he’s really good like that and I think they’ll put out a strong side.

“I’ll give them the respect they deserve for the careers they’ve had, but at the same time, they’re just human and just footballers, so we’ll just give it everything we’ve got.

“They’re going to be sharper, stronger and fitter but we’ll be in there for a fight and give it all we’ve got.

“It’s a difficult mentality to have by going into a game to enjoy it, because if you relax too much you’re going to get a battering.

“We’re going to be switched on and as well-drilled as we possibly can be.

“We don’t want to be there to make up the numbers, we want to give them as good a game as we possibly can.”

So far, the only thing missing from Marine’s dream FA Cup run has been the fans filling the ground at Rossett Park, but with new Covid-19 rules regarding spectators for live sports, there is hope some supporters will be permitted to attend the match.

Raven said: “We could possibly have 1,600 in our ground, which would mean the place would be bouncing.

“I’m sure there’ll be people hanging off chimneys and all-sorts around the ground, and it’s definitely something for them to look forward to.”

“If fans are allowed, tickets will be like gold-dust – I’ve had a few people message me about tickets already but it just won’t be doable to give them to everyone we know!”

To add extra sentiment to the game for Raven, Tottenham Hotspur were the opponents when he made his professional debut for Liverpool in December 2004.

Now 16 years on, he is amazed to be coming up against such high-calibre opposition again, and believes anything could happen on the day.

“It’s a bit mindblowing to be honest,” he said.

“My professional debut was at White Hart Lane and that marked the start of a career which has been up and down, left and right.“I’m at a point in my career now where playing part-time at the age of 35, and you never really think stuff like this will come along again.

“I just accepted that it wouldn’t happen again.

“It is astonishing and it’s what the cup’s about – making people dream and think ‘what if’.

“You buy a lottery ticket because you think you might win it, it’s the same with us coming up against Tottenham.”