Alvin Martin has a special place in West Ham United’s history books as he was part of the FA Cup-winning side in 1980. Hee also won three Hammer of the Year award as a West Ham player.
He also became a mental health counsellor after his time in the game with Lone Survivor Foundation in North Carolina. He now has his practice – Peace of Mind Inc.
A stalwart at centre-back, Martin had been a key part of the West Ham side that won the FA Cup in 1980. A strong performer in the air and classy on the deck, he also scored a memorable hat-trick against three different Newcastle United goalkeepers in a thrilling 8-1 win in April 1986.
He was named Hammer of the Year for the third time in four seasons, and he helped the Irons to their best league finish since their first promotion back in 1979, finishing just three points behind champions Liverpool. He was a firm favourite of manager John Lyall, and after relegation in 1989, he remained loyal to the club until 1996.
After the season, Martin started a career in the media as a pundit on talkSPORT and Sky Sports TV football chat shows. He was capped 17 times by England, making two appearances in the 1986 World Cup.
In 1981, he was a key player for England in their World Cup qualifiers against Hungary and Finland. He marshalled the defence alongside Brighton’s Steve Foster and Ipswich’s Terry Butcher as Greenwood’s men made history by qualifying for the tournament in Spain. The team was also boosted by including West Ham’s Sir Trevor Brooking, Alan Devonshire and Paul Goddard.
Alvin was a dependable defender who kept his place in Greenwood’s squad for the next two years. He marshalled the defence as England won their second World Cup in six years, qualifying from Group 2 with a 3-0 win over Paraguay in Mexico. The Three Lions drew their last game against Argentina 3-0, but Alvin’s goalkeeping was not enough to stop them from falling out of the quarter-finals.
Martin was born in Walton, Liverpool, on 29 July 1958 and played junior football for Bootle and Lancashire before gaining schoolboy forms with Everton FC. He had a trial with Queens Park Rangers but failed to make any impression, leaving them to sign as an apprentice at West Ham United on 19 August 1974.
He had a strong start to his career at the club, establishing a formidable centre-back partnership with Tony Gale in 1981/82 as West Ham won promotion to the top flight and finished ninth. He made 35 appearances, scoring four goals – two in a 3-1 win at Leeds in October 1982, the other in an 8-1 League Cup victory over Newcastle United in April 1984, and a 1-0 home victory against Tottenham in December 1983.
A superb defensive record earned him an England call-up, his first by Ron Greenwood in May 1981 against Brazil at Wembley, and he won three more caps in the following season as Bobby Robson pushed for a place in his side. An injury kept him out of the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain, though he was included for the 1986 edition in Mexico, where he made 17 appearances as the Three Lions defeated Paraguay.
He was a loyal stalwart for the Irons, staying with the club despite their relegation in 1988/89. He was one of only a few players to refer to manager John Lyall as a ‘father figure’, and he helped the Hammers to regain promotion two years later. Martin appeared in 596 games for the Irons and was the fifth most-capped player in West Ham history behind Bobby Moore, Frank Lampard, Sir Trevor Brooking and Sir Bobby Charlton.
Alvin Martin was a regular starter for West Ham United in 1983/84, with the Irons again finishing a very strong ninth in the league. He was also capped for England that season, playing the first of his 17 caps against Brazil on 12 May 1981 at Wembley Stadium.
A defender who played centre-back and left-back, Martin made 596 appearances for the Irons and scored 34 goals in all competitions at Upton Park. He holds a special place in the club’s history, being fifth on their all-time list of appearances – behind only Frank Lampard, Bobby Moore and Sir Trevor Brooking – and was named Hammer of the Year three times.
After a spell out of the side with injury, which saw him miss many matches during 1990/91, he returned in 1991/92 as West Ham battled to stay up. He made seven appearances that season, including a crucial 4-0 win over Norwich that helped keep the Irons in the top flight.
He was to enjoy the best league season of his career in 1985/86 as the Irons finished third in the league – he scored four goals in 50 appearances, all at Upton Park, and was part of the back four which beat Chelsea and Arsenal at home in the run-in. He was also a crucial figure in the Hammers’ League Cup journey, scoring a goal from a free kick in the second leg of the semi-final against Oldham in March 1986 and coming off the bench to score the winning goal in a 1-0 victory over Southampton at the Boleyn in April.
On 21 April 1986, Martin achieved one of the rarest feats in his career – scoring a hat-trick against three different Newcastle United goalkeepers. Playing in front of a 25,000 crowd, Martin opened the scoring with a header from a corner, and he then added a penalty for his third goal – not the allocated one – as a crowd chanted his name to claim what is probably his only hat-trick.
Alvin Martin is among the most famous and successful West Ham United footballers ever. He played for the club for 21 years and was capped 17 times by England during the 1980s. After retiring from playing, he became a manager at Southend United in 1997. He also became a pundit on Sky Sports TV football talk shows, having previously worked with national radio station talkSPORT.
He remained loyal to the club throughout their relegation and promotion campaigns, winning the 1980 FA Cup and the Second Division winners medals in 1979 and 1981. He was voted Hammer of the Year in 1979/80, and in 1983/84 scored four goals in 35 appearances as the Hammers finished ninth.
In addition to his goal contributions, Martin was one of the Hammers’ most important players as they battled against adversity in 1984/85. The season was marred by hooliganism and crowd disturbances, the infamous ‘Valentine’s Day Massacre’ at Boleyn Park, and a fierce battle between TV bosses and club chairmen, which led to football being off the TV screens in Britain for the first time in a decade.
Despite being heavily weakened, the Hammers beat Second Division table-toppers Blackburn Rovers 1-0 at Upton Park in the Fifth Round of the FA Cup. However, with the flu affecting Alan Devonshire, Steve Walford, Dave Swindlehurst, Bobby Barnes and Goddard, the Hammers were far from their best that night.
The next day the Hammers won a rearranged match with Manchester United at Old Trafford. This meant they had a two-leg Semi-Final to play. It was a tight affair, with Tony Cottee cancelling out Stewart Evans’s strike in the first leg, but West Ham managed to win the second tie 5-1 to reach their first-ever League Cup Final.
As the Hammers entered their most successful league season ever, captain Alvin martin was one of the stars who made the club’s rise so dramatic. Martin played in 40 of the 42 games and scored a remarkable hat-trick against Newcastle – one of only four he has managed.
West Ham had a brilliant squad, with Ray Stewart and Steve Walford sharing the right-back duties while Martin, Alan Devonshire and Tony Gale formed a strong central defence. The front line was rounded off by the prolific Frank McAvennie, who smashed in 46 goals, and Tony Cottee, who formed a prolific partnership with his brother and was named Hammer of the Year.
Lyall’s side was a joy to watch in 1985/86, finishing third in the top flight and beating Everton in a 3-1 final-day win at Goodison Park. But the real highlight was the emergence of a new generation of young players, with Alan Dickens, Steve Ward and Neil Orr all enjoying success at the club for the first time.
Martin, a regular under Ron Greenwood in 1981, was included in England’s squad for the World Cup in Mexico in 1986 by Bobby Robson and won 17 caps. He replaced Terry Fenwick in the 3-0 victory over Paraguay but was dropped for the quarter-final defeat by Argentina’s notorious ‘Hand of God’.
After retiring as a player, Alvin martin began a career in the media, taking up punditry on talkSPORT and Sky Sports. He also went on to manage Southend United, though he only managed the club for two seasons before it was relegated to League One.
Martin was born on 29 July 1958 in Walton, Liverpool, Lancashire. Before moving to Queen’s Park Rangers and West Ham United, he became a junior footballer with Bootle and Lancashire. He became a professional in 1976. He has been capped 17 times for England and is a Sky Sports TV and TalkSport radio pundit.