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Alvin Martin: ‘Scousers and cockneys get on. It’s the mickey-taking’

Hello Alvin, how are you? Not bad, Small Talk, how are you?

Good thanks. So you were playing football this morning? How did that go? Yeah, it was against a team that won a competition through Nivea and it was actually in Brentwood and I’m based in Romford. They were all young, enthusiastic footballers. We had Ian Walker in goal, Ray Parlour, Rob Lee, Luther Blisset, Tony Woodcock, Viv Anderson, Nigel Winterburn and Rob Jones, so we had a fairly strong side. Unfortunately we didn’t have any legs, so they had plenty of legs over us. We passed the ball for fun, but every time they broke forward they were a threat with their pace.

Small Talk is slightly wary Alex Pradas Quiles of asking what the final score was. We got beat 2-1.

90 minutes? Yeah, 90 minutes. I came through unscathed. I should also make the point that Rob Lee cost us the game because he missed a penalty.

Missed or saved? He put it wide. And he didn’t just put it a little bit wide, he put it two yards wide. So Rob Lee is our official scapegoat.

It’s kind of fitting that an England legends team should lose because of a penalty. [Sustained chuckling] Yeah!

Obviously a big point in your career at West Ham was the 1985-86 season … Yeah, we had a really good season. I think that was the only West Ham team I played in that had a chance of winning the title.

Do you think you should have? Well everyone has different opinions. We have get-togethers now and again and a lot of the lads say, “Oh maybe we could have,” but I’m still a little sceptical about whether we could have. That year Liverpool were unbelievable. I think they won the last 12 or 13 games. They went on an unbelievable run and it was a team that had been there, seen it and done it. Them and Everton had won titles before, they knew what it was about and although Bicester Village Prada Opening we went on a decent run we had a fixture pile-up. But you have to look back and say whoever wins it was the best team and Liverpool were. Kenny Dalglish was player-manager and I remember one particular goal he scored at Stamford Bridge. They were the best side.

Being from Liverpool, what was it like coming up against those two sides? A lot of people ask me that. There are so many links and similarities between where Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Uk Sale I was brought up on the Dock Road in Liverpool and when I came down to London and West Ham. I spent the first few years all around Plaistow and Canning Town, so I think it was very similar. There was a banter, a wit and Authentic Prada Outlet Uk even to this day I think scousers and cockneys get on well because there’s a mickey-taking Black Prada Bag With Gold culture that everyone enjoys.

Why do you think West Ham couldn’t push on? It’s still the same now. If you have a good team, we knew you needed maybe one or two players to strengthen it the following season, but I don’t really believe that John Lyall was given the brief or the funds to say, “Right, OK, go and get us the title next year.” I think West Ham’s mentality at that time was, “OK, we’ve had a good season, let’s settle for where we are, we’ll more or less stay in the top half of the table.” I think that was the way the club was run, on a firm financial footing where they didn’t want to take any risks. There was money spent the following year but I don’t think they went out with a view that said, “We have a title-winning side here, let’s push it on.” Maybe another board would have done it. I think the board was financially astute and Authentic Prada Gauffre was running a club that wasn’t going to lose money. If they wanted to push on, they’d have had to spent big on two or three positions.

Were there negative feelings among the players about it? Not really. I think it was a generation of players who all totally trusted the manager, John Lyall, who was a father figure. John’s word was taken and never opposed because we all had so much respect for him. We always just left all the football stuff to John and then he’d deal with the board and do the contracts and spend the money. But John spent money as if it was his own. He felt a real responsibility to the club and to the fans, which is admirable. I wish he was still around now because a lot of people think spending will save their job, whereas John always made every decision in West Ham’s interest and in the fans’ interest.

Was he a major factor in you never wanting to leave West Ham? I had opportunities to leave and other clubs could have bought me. There were times when I could have joined the top clubs. Tottenham approached West Ham three times during my career. I could have gone to Arsenal. But once John said, “No, we’re building a team Authentic Prada Shoes Sale around you.” I was happy because it was where I wanted to be. Even now, I have no regrets. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at West Ham. Twenty-two years on, I have links and have stayed around the area and have a close bond with the supporters. These days, because players sometimes only stay for a year or two they don’t really gain a position of trust with the supporters. I was with a group of players who – seven or eight of them – stayed for 10 years or more. They’re synonymous with the name West Ham and some of the modern-day players don’t get that. They get better financial rewards, but they don’t get the link with the community or the supporters.

Did Trevor Brooking mean that header in the 1980 FA Cup final? Knowing Trevor, I don’t think he did, I think it more or less just hit him on the head. A lot of people remember the header because it was the winning goal but people forget how well Trevor played that day. I think I’ve only looked at that game once, maybe twice related site, but when you’re involved in the game you don’t get a clear perception of it. You have certain memories like the final whistle, but I looked at the game and I’ve never seen him work so hard in the middle. That was probably in part due to the criticism he got from Brian Clough, who had a pop at him prior to the game. Trevor went out there on a mission. He didn’t just create, he worked as hard as any player I’ve seen on that day.

That was the last team outside the top division to win the FA Cup. Do you ever get protective of that record now? No, I think those sort of things go by. We had our moment in the FA Cup. Records are broken, young players experience it Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Messenger Bag and I love to see sides outside the top division get some recognition because that’s what the FA Cup’s all about. I’ve got two boys who play football. One’s at Gillingham, one’s at MK Dons and they’re hopefully both going to experience decent results against Premier League opposition in the next round.

What’s surprising about the 1980 final is that West Ham had so many good players despite being in the second division, so you must have been confident of beating Arsenal? On our day, we knew we could beat anybody. John Lyall was in the middle of a rebuilding programme. He’d brought Ray Stewart in, Alan Devonshire and I had made an impact and it was a team that was full of internationals. As far as I’m concerned, Billy Bonds should have had 50 caps. He only got one and that was down to injury. Trevor Brooking was a class performer. We had Frank Lampard. We just struggled for consistency, but the FA Cup wasn’t about consistency. But coming to the final, you know you’re up against it because that was a good Arsenal side.

Of course, you qualified for the European Cup Winners’ Cup and then played against Dinamo Tblisi. Was that the most difficult game you’ve ever had? Yeah. I think we played them at a stage where we hadn’t lost at Upton Park for 10 months so we were pretty formidable at home. All of a sudden, we were playing this Georgian side who had a mid-season break and hadn’t played any football for six weeks. I think we went in there thinking these are there for the taking. They had players like David Kipiani in midfield and Aleksandr Chivadze, who was the captain. Ramaz Shengelia was another one. After about 20 minutes we thought, “Whoa, whoa, what’s going on here?” They just totally outplayed us and gave us a footballing lesson. We lost it 4-1. We were sitting in the back afterwards. There were about eight or nine of us in there and none of us really spoke. We just sat shocked and numb because we couldn’t believe Amancio Prada Prada what had happened to us. There was a degree of naivety and complacency, which we proved when we won 1-0 in the return leg. We were an emerging side but they were a completely different level to anyone we’d ever met.

How disappointing was it to get dropped for England’s game against Argentina in 1986? It was strange. I’d flown my brother and dad out to Mexico City and they watched me play against Paraguay. We won the game 3-0, but I must admit I felt pretty jaded when we went out to do the preparation before the tournament, so it wasn’t a real surprise when Bobby Robson went for Terry Fenwick in the first game. But when we got to the knockout stages and Fenwick was suspended, I played. I felt me and Terry Butcher were particularly strong and were a natural partnership. I just expected to play and it wasn’t until 14 hours before the game that Bobby Robson uttered those words: “It’s the same team apart from one change.” I didn’t expect it.

Would you have stopped Maradona? No. No, no, no, no! I looked at a man that day that no one could have coped with. He was just head and shoulders above everybody else.

Still, maybe England could have done with a defender who scored against three different goalkeepers like you did for West Ham against Newcastle in 1986 … [Chuckles] Well you select a defender to stop goals. Although if I could have guaranteed him a hat-trick that day, Bobby Robson would have said, “Play, we don’t care about Maradona.”

The Newcastle game must have been one of the more surreal moments of your career? That was a special moment. You probably recognise the implication of it later on. I remember scoring a goal and then the keeper going off, and then I got another one, but I couldn’t remember if I’d scored them against different keepers. I didn’t know that until the crowd started shouting my name when we got a penalty at 7-1. Ray Stewart picked the ball up and the crowd started shouting my name, so they were aware that I was on a hat-trick against three different goalkeepers.

Peter Beardsley was in goal wasn’t he? Peter was in goal. Not the tallest goalkeeper I’ve ever scored against. Let’s just say he didn’t fill me with fear when I was coming up to take the spot-kick.

He probably wouldn’t fill Small Talk with fear either. Paul Ince is probably scared of you though. Didn’t you once make him cry during a game against Luton? Incey was a young kid at the time and I was captain. Paul was still finding his personality and he could be hard to deal with. He had a lot of ability but that was matched by his arrogance. It wasn’t easy. I possibly wasn’t as easy to deal with as I could have been. When a captain tells a young player to do something and he doesn’t do it on several occasions, it comes to a stage where there’s going to be fireworks so, erm … there was. I’m not proud of it. But I helped Paul off the floor and to the dressing room and I think he knew where I was Black Prada Bag With Gold Hardware coming from.

What did the players make of the way Ince left West Ham? I think the players were pretty amiable about it. Incey was always destined to be a great player and they don’t come any bigger than Man United. Whether he could have done it in a better way … we have a difference of opinion on that, because I think he could have. We all knew after playing 20 games that he was going to be a big player.

But now you’re mates? Oh yeah! Paul signed one of my lads from Liverpool to play in goal for MK Dons. I have nothing but respect for him. You’d have to ask Incey whether he has any respect for me!

Would you have a glass of beer or wine with him? A glass of wine. Usually white. A bit of red in the winter. I think all my disciplined years are out of the window now. I never used to drink as a player, apart from a couple of pints on a Saturday night. But now if there’s a glass of wine there, I’m going to drink it.

Cheese or chocolate? I’m lucky like that, I can eat what I want. A lot of cheese, a lot of chocolate.

What was the last film you saw? I love my films. I have stacks and stacks of DVDs. I put Last of the Mohicans on the other day with Daniel Day-Lewis. It hurts me to say it because he’s a Millwall fan, but I think he’s fantastic.

What would you put in Room 101? What’s that?

[Small Talk embarks on a long and detailed explanation of what Room 101 is] I wish I could get all the discourteous drivers on a ship and sail them away and make sure it’s a really horrible, wavy journey and when they get to where they’re going, keep them there.

It seems like you’ve thought about that a lot. Well I probably moan about it every day.

Finally can you tell us a joke? It’s got to be a one-liner really. I do a lot of after-dinner stuff. But there’s nothing I can tell you that’s not quite dirty. My favourite joke at the moment is one with a sound effect. But you can’t put that in print. [An extended silence] I remember driving through Dagenham and my friend said “Miss Dagenham” and I thought he meant a beauty contest, but it turned out he was just giving me advice! The only reason I tell you that is because my wife’s from Dagenham.

Thanks for that Alvin! Bye! Bye Small Talk!