Martin Ling

One of Our Own | Exhibition Images

Exeter City have always had the reputation of a club that gives young players a chance, helping them develop and reach their maximum potential. This is one of the many reasons that attracted 16-year-old Martin Ling to switch east London for west Devon, upheaving his life in West Ham to join City’s academy. Shortly after signing his first professional contract in January 1984, Martin had established himself as a regular on the wing of the Grecians’ midfield, hugging the touchline and tormenting fullbacks on a regular basis. This attracted the attention of third tier Swindon Town and Martin made the move for £25,000. Despite his impressive showings for the Grecians, the midfielder couldn’t replicate it at Town and after making just two appearances Martin was sold to Southend, where he would win promotion from the Fourth Division twice in five years. Martin returned to Swindon for a second crack at breaking into the Robins’ side in 1991, and he did exactly that and more, being one of Town’s standout players as they were promoted to the Premier League in 1993. The winger became a fans’ favourite at Town before leaving for Leyton Orient in 1996, where he was similarly beloved by the supporters. Heading into management, Martin became synonymous with Orient during a six-year spell in charge of the club, winning promotion into League One during that time. He’s also been in charge of Cambridge, Torquay and Swindon but Martin’s currently back at Orient as Director of Football.