Written by: @AndyJPhipps
Martin is a surname that will not be forgotten by the West Ham faithful anytime soon. It’s a name that inspires loyalty, grit and determination, as well as no small amount of quality. A man that needs no introduction, Alvin Martin is a player that spent twenty years at the club and still retains a great connection with the fans. Somebody who does need a bit more close inspection, however, is his son David, a goalkeeper that today signed for West Ham United.
David Martin was born in Romford, the elder brother of fellow footballer Joe. Like his father and brother, David started life as a defender – but he was then converted into a goalkeeper sometime during his formative years at Tottenham, West Ham and the original Wimbledon FC. After some decent first team performances with Wimbledon/ MK Dons, the 20 year old David was invited to trial for Liverpool and was promptly snapped up.
In spite of some impressive displays for the Reds reserves (and a numerous loan spells to boot), the closest David got to the first team was providing injury cover for the bench. It was only with a return to MK Dons that the then 24 year old David’s career started to flourish. Nine seasons later, the stopper had completed 339 appearances for the Dons, picking up a player of the season award, before signing for League One play off winners Millwall.
Whilst first team appearances in his inaugural season with Millwall were hard to come by, starting once in the league and three times in the FA Cup, the option of a one year extension was promptly exercised, tying him to the South London club until the summer of 2019. Unfortunately for David, his most high profile moment in football came last season in the form of a last minute mistake, palming a Brighton shot into his own net when the ball was seemingly going wide. This in turn lead to penalties and resulted in Millwall being dumped out of the FA Cup.
In truth, the mistake was more an error of judgement, that happened to be performed on the big stage, than an out and out howler. While David is not likely ready to step straight into the Hammers first team, there’s more than meets the eye with this free transfer.
When asked about the signing, fans from one of his prior clubs described the 33 year old as ‘Solid, if not spectacular’, stating that the Brighton game goes completely against what the player is about. They also pointed out that (after Millwall manager Neil Harris’s assessment of regular goalkeeper Jordan Archer as having ‘mentality issues’ and the irregular form of loanee Ben Amos) Martin had been a breath of fresh air and his consistency played a big part in their escape from relegation. The fan went on to say that Millwall were ‘aware’ of West Ham talking to the player and, in spite of their best efforts, they were resigned to losing him.
The fans are entitled to vent their frustrations over a lack of funds but under no circumstances should they take it out on David. He’s there to push Nathan Trott and Joseph Anang. If Fabianski is out, Nathan will step up, gaining valuable experience. David is also a very good influence and it has been noted that the occasional nudge in the right direction won’t do Trott any harm. Described by Millwall boss Neil Harris as a ‘A top pro and one of the nicest guys…in football’ a humble, but extremely dedicated, player who knows the club inside out cannot be a bad thing- especially with some of our teams more inconsistent high earners. So, let’s welcome David. He’s not a starter but he’s a decent pair of hands- and he’s definitely one of our own.