Longden, Martin

Birth Date

11th November 1965

Birthplace

Perrivale, London

Occupation

Centre-Forward

Biographical Text

Martin is one of a handful of players to have made a single 'official' appearance for the Grecians, making his full debut against Newport County in 1982.

Originally scouted by Bristol City, Martin was offered apprenticeship terms, but turned down the opportunity to progress his career with the Robins due to the uncertain financial future of the club at that time.

Fortunately the young centre-forward's talent caught the eye of ECFC coach Alan Beer, who brought him to St James Park, where he quickly settled and began training with the first team squad.

Martin got his chance in the first XI much earlier than expected, filling the boots of an injured Tony Kellow in pre-season games against Leicester City and Torquay United.

In these games the teenager played against opponents such as Alan Smith and Gary Lineker (Leicester) and Torquay United's player-manager, Bruce Rioch, who Martin recalled "kicked the living day lights out of me for ninety minutes, and then shook my hand at the end"

Longden's official debut for the Grecian's came just weeks later. At 16 years old he is still one of the youngest players to have played for the club, although unfortunately it was not quite the dream debut as City lost heavily to Newport County, largely thanks to a John Aldridge hat-trick and the efforts of the opposition keeper.

Despite the promising start, Martin left ECFC at the end of the 82/83 season. A hernia during the second half of the campaign had slowed his progress, and while he was offered monthly terms by the club he decided to seek new opportunities.

Returning to Weston-Super-Mare, he joined the Air Force as a physical training instructor, and continued his passion for sports with a switch to Rugby Union, where he played for Bedford, Bristol and Weston-Super-Mare, until finally hanging up his boots at the age of 27 due to an ongoing knee injury.

Moving on from the RAF, Martin joined the Police Force, where he worked as a detective and training officer for aspiring detectives,

Remarkably, during this time, one of his trainees turned out to be Mark Kendall, who just so happened to be the Newport Goalkeeper who had denied him the perfect debut all those years before.

After retiring from the force, Martin remained in the South West, where he formed Karuta Sportswear Ltd, specialising in bespoke playing kits and team wear for all sports.

Appearances

1

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