Cult hero, Johnny Martin (66), passed away last Saturday with his funeral taking place in Tenerife on Friday.
Our condolences go to his nearest and dearest.
Ashington born, it was thought he would launch his career at St. James’ Park with his beloved Newcastle United but, much to everyone’s surprise, he opted for Aston Villa.
He made his First Division debut for them as a teenager but his first senior game also became his last at the top.
He moved to Colchester United, quickly established himself, and scored 11 goals in 78 league appearances.
A change of manager led to him leaving Layer Road with Brian Doyle signing him for Reds in June, 1969. Reds fans got their first public viewing of the tricky left winger in a pre-season friendly against Glasgow Rangers with his league debut (v. Grimsby Town) following soon after.
Clown prince, cult hero (before they were invented), King of the Derwent End and legend were just some of the titles bestowed on the terrace favourite.
For five seasons, Johnny was a regular in the side scoring 33 goals in 224 appearances. He only scored one FA Cup goal for Reds but that wonderful effort v. Rochdale at Borough Park in 1969 was certainly a ‘goal of the decade’ contender.
Johnny was transferred to Southport in August 1974 for a paltry £3,000 – the aforementioned goal was worth that much alone!
He would return for a second spell in 1977 playing in our first Northern Premier League game v. Stafford Rangers. The comeback lasted just twenty one games with his only goal, appropriately perhaps, on Tyneside at Gateshead.
There would be one final Borough Park appearance when he turned out in the centenary celebration friendly in May 1984.
He was the Workington equivalent of George Best, Stan Bowles or Rodney Marsh - a football maverick.
Thanks for so many wonderful memories.