‘Why are we giving Jose Mourinho the advantage?’: Marine’s David Raven has some tricks up his sleeve for Tottenham ahead of historic FA Cup tie
- Marine’s David Raven made his professional debut against Spurs 17 years ago
- Now at the end of a long career, Raven has a swansong with Jose Mourinho
- Raven accused his own club of ‘bending over backwards’ for Tottenham’s arrival
- The centre-back said he would ‘turn the heating off’ in the visitors dressing room
Life has turned full circle for Marine’s David Raven who made his professional debut against Tottenham 17 years ago.
That night the rookie Liverpool defender marked Robbie Keane and Jermain Defoe in a League Cup tie that Rafa Benitez’s team won on penalties.
Now at the end of a long career in which he reached two cup finals in Scotland with Inverness, there is a most unexpected swansong with Jose Mourinho and his stars due at tiny Rossett Park.
Marine’s David Raven has some tricks up his sleeve for Tottenham’s visit in the FA Cup
The veteran defender Raven made his professional debut against Tottenham 17 years ago
At the end of his career, there is a most unexpected swansong with Jose Mourinho and Spurs
As the only non-leaguer with big-match experience, Raven’s presence is vital, and having once scored a winner for Caly against Celtic in a Scottish Cup semi-final he knows underdogs can have their day.
‘The key is removing any fear factor,’ says the 35-year-old. ‘Our lads can’t be worried about getting embarrassed or thinking they have to do things differently. Really, they don’t. I think it’s the belief that is more important than anything, that you are good enough to be on the same pitch. They’re not Gods. They’re human — you punch them and they bleed.
‘Our lads may get comfort from having someone there who knows it can be done. I’m hoping that’s the vibe I give off.’
The Marine story has gripped the country’s interest at a time when the FA Cup is having to deal with Covid.
The Marine story has gripped the country’s interest as the lowest ranking club left in the cup
Raven is old school and disappointed Harry Kane is being allowed to change in the more spacious bar area rather than a cramped dressing room. ‘For some reason our club have bent over backwards for Spurs because they have so many player and staff. I completely disagree — I think we should make it as uncomfortable as possible.
‘My answer would be they should bring less staff, get in that away changing room and deal with it. I’d turn off the heating, I’d do all sorts. When you are eight leagues below you need every help you can.’
Marine are in the Northern Premier north-west division. Midfielder James Barrigan is a binman and their captain Niall Cummins a teacher. But Raven has pedigree and played four times for Liverpool. He was at Anfield to witness Mourinho’s Chelsea beaten by Luis Garcia’s ‘ghost goal’. At the end of the season he was on the team coach that paraded the Champions League trophy.
Raven said Marine need ‘every help they can get’ as he claimed the club ‘bent over backwards’
Dealings with Benitez were brief. After the manager hadn’t followed up on a verbal contract offer, Raven went to his office. ‘He just said ‘sign it and shut up’ and that was it! I’ve always admired Mourinho. It will be a sight for sore eyes seeing him on the touchline.’
Raven, who works as a football coach at Ellesmere College in Shropshire, nearly retired last year before joining Marine in September.
‘I had accepted the fact my career was fizzling out,’ he admits. ‘There was a lot of soul searching before I decided to carry on, but it’s the best decision I could have made. To get this come around is pretty mind-blowing.
‘I’m hoping we break the game into 10-minute slots, get through each one. They will have the ball so our shape will be paramount.
‘We need to play out of our skins and get a bit of luck. But it’s doable.’
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