West Ham United at the World Cup - '86

Alvin Martin and Frank McAvennie will never forget the experience of playing at the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico.

England centre-back Martin and Scotland striker Frank McAvennie had helped West Ham United to finish a record high of third in Division One in 1985/86, earning them both the opportunity to shine on football's biggest stage.

Then 27, Martin had made his England debut against Brazil in 1981, but he missed the 1982 FIFA World Cup finals in Spain before forcing his way into Bobby Robson's thoughts for Mexico.

After watching Terry Butcher and Terry Fenwick start England's three Group F matches against Portugal, Morocco and Poland, the Hammer was drafted into the starting XI at the expense of Fenwick for the Round of 16 tie with Paraguay in Mexico City.

England won comfortably, 3-0, with Gary Lineker scoring twice and Peter Beardsley once, to set up a quarter-final meeting with Maradona's Argentina.

Martin could have expected to keep his place for the last-eight clash, but instead Robson recalled Fenwick, Maradona scored one outstanding individual goal and one with his hand and, despite Lineker's late consolation, England were out.

While Martin could be forgiven for being bitter about missing the opportunity to help England reach a FIFA World Cup semi-final, instead he appreciates the one chance he was given to appear at the finals.

"I had 22 years as a club player at West Ham, but people around the country will always recognise you more for your international experiences," said Martin, whose 17th and final England cap came in a 1-0 friendly defeat in Sweden in September 1986.

"I had the experience of playing at the World Cup in 1986, which I shall never forget. Sir Bobby Robson picked me against Paraguay in the second round and then left me out against Argentina in the quarter-finals.

"I still look back and wonder why I was dropped, but Maradona would have done the same to me as he did to the other defenders that day!"

Frank McAvennie

Frank McAvennie appeared twice at Mexico 1986

McAvennie's Mexico 1986 experience was even briefer, lasting just 59 minutes and two substitute appearances in total as Scotland were eliminated at the group stage.

The blond-haired forward had been capped just twice - in the two-legged World Cup qualifying Play-Off victory over Australia - when he boarded the plane with the Tartan Army.

While McAvennie hoped to partner Charlie Nicholas, manager Alex Ferguson had other ideas, picking Dundee United's Paul Sturrock alongside the Arsenal man.

"I had scored 29 goals for West Ham that season. I was on fire and only Gary Lineker, with one goal more than me, could better my record," McAvennie told the Daily Record in a 2010 interview.

"In my mind I was a certainty to start up front with Charlie Nicholas, particularly after scoring the goal at Hampden that had beaten Australia and taken us to the World Cup as play-off winners.

"But Fergie had other ideas. He went with Paul Sturrock, who I don't think had scored 29 goals in his career up to that point."

Even face-to-face talks with Ferguson failed to earn the then 26-year-old a starting place, and he had to make do with substitute appearances in the Group E defeats by Denmark and West Germany.

"I took my grievance to Alex. He said to me, 'I'm the manager and I pick the team'. I replied, 'I'm the player left out and I don't have to agree with you'.

"We didn't score a goal while going down to Denmark in our first match and I think the press attention devoted to Charlie and me before that match might have done for me."

With Scotland needing to win to have any chance of progressing to the last 16, McAvennie was then left out altogether as ten-man Uruguay held Ferguson's men to a goalless draw in their final group match.

While he was again disappointed to be overlooked, the West Ham man was not susprised.

"I know why I got the heave from the team and the bench," he continued. "I'd questioned the manager's judgment and paid the price by being dropped. One goal in three games told its own story and that's why the memory of 1986 will always be tinged with sadness for me.

"It was fantastic for me to be part of a World Cup squad but we shot ourselves in the foot that year."