FOOTBALL: A West Ham United footballing legend was the special guest at the King’s Lynn Irons Club’s Christmas meal on Friday.
Alvin Martin, who played nearly 600 times for the Hammers in a 19-year professional career at Upton Park, was one of the first to arrive and last to leave the annual event, held this year at Briarfields Hotel, Titchwell.
Martin, who earned 17 England caps, posed for pictures with members, signed West Ham memorabilia and recounted countless stories of his time at the Hammers, from signing as an apprentice in 1974 to making his first team debut in 1978 and leaving the club in 1996.
The 61-year-old also shared his tale of achieving the rare feat of scoring a hat-trick against three different Newcastle United goalkeepers — Martin Thomas, who was then injured, and outfield players Chris Hedworth and Peter Beardsley — in a First Division match in April 1986, which West Ham won 8-1.
Irons Club secretary Mark Steele said: “Having Alvin as our VIP guest was another special occasion in the history of the Lynn Irons Club. I had the privilege of sitting with Alvin and it was brilliant to hear the stories of his life with West Ham as well as his thoughts on the current side.
“He made sure he met all our members, answering their questions, and he also kindly donated two very special, money-can’t-buy prizes for our raffle, which proved very popular.
“Alvin was also refreshingly honest during our Q&A session and we all really liked everything about him.”
Martin – nicknamed Stretch – won the FA Cup and Second Division winners medals in successive seasons, 1980 and 1981. He was also part of the West Ham side in 1986 that recorded their highest ever top flight finish.
The attendance of Alvin followed appearances by fellow legends Tony Cottee, Brian Dear, Alan Taylor and Ronnie Boyce.
The Irons Club aims to give fans in Lynn and surrounding area the chance to get tickets to watch West Ham United. For more information, visit www.kingslynnirons.com