West Ham legend Alvin Martin - England versus Scotland fixtures are 'always special'

Alvin Martin


Just 15 West Ham United players have featured in the 113 matches contested between England and Scotland since the neighbours first clashed on a football pitch in 1872.

Some of the biggest names in Hammers’ history are among them – all-time record goalscorer Vic Watson, 1923 FA Cup finalists Ted Hufton, Jack Tresadern and Jimmy Ruffell, 1966 FIFA World Cup winners Bobby Moore, Martin Peters and Geoff Hurst, five-time Hammer of the Year Trevor Brooking and penalty king Ray Stewart have all featured in previous meetings.

Another of the 13 English Hammers to line up to face the Scots was Alvin Martin, who earned the second of his 17 caps in a 1-0 British Home Championship defeat by club-mate Stewart’s Auld Enemy at Wembley in May 1981.

It’s still a special fixture and always will be

Alvin Martin

“I remember it well,” Martin told whufc.com at a special event for Club London members held at London Stadium this week. “Both myself and Ray had made our debuts the previous week – me for England against Brazil and him for Scotland against Wales.

“I was on the bench and Dave Watson got injured, so Ron Greenwood sent me on at half-time, but Bryan Robson gave a penalty away and John Robertson scored the winner.

“Scotland had a decent team back then, with Asa Hartford and Joe Jordan up front, Robertson on the left wing, Steve Archibald in midfield and Willie Miller, Danny McGrain and Alex McLeish in defence alongside Ray.”


Alvin Martin


What made Martin and Stewart’s appearances more impressive was that, at a time when the both the English and Scottish leagues were still full of British players, they were called-up from a West Ham team which had just won the Second Division championship. It was a memorable occasion for all concerned.

“I remember they had banned the Scottish fans from travelling because, two years previously, they had invaded the pitch at Wembley and tried to nick the goal posts!” Martin laughed, as he recalled the amazing scenes.

“When we walked out, we thought there wouldn’t be any Scots there, but it was like Hampden Park! They had somehow all got hold of tickets and turned out in their thousands.

“Ron Greenwood was the manager, who had obviously brought me to West Ham, then gave me my England debut against Brazil and I can remember him calling me to put me on. It was such a fiery game and hard to get up to the pace of it, but it was unforgettable.”

Thirty-six years on, Martin says that while the profile of the fixture may be lower due to the relative struggles of each nation on the pitch, England versus Scotland remains a mouth-watering fixture.

“The games seemed to mean a lot more then and the Home Internationals tournament was a big part of the end of the season,” recalled the centre-half, who made 596 West Ham appearances between 1978 and 1996.

Ron Greenwood was the manager, who had obviously brought me to West Ham, then gave me my England debut against Brazil and I can remember him calling me to put me on

Alvin Martin

“It’s still a special fixture and always will be. Without wanting to undermine where Scotland are at the moment, at the time I played against them, they had European Cup winners and were well represented in the dominant team in England, Liverpool. So, when you played against them, there was an extra edge there, which was fantastic.

“It always means a lot to the Scots, and I think they look on us as patronising them in some ways, and I can understand why, and that filtered over into the game. It didn’t mean any less to us, though, as the motivation was there whenever you pulled on the England shirt, and I’m sure it’ll be the same for Aaron Cresswell and company on Saturday.”

The 10 June fixture will kick-off at 5pm in Glasgow and be screened live in the UK by both ITV and Sky Sports.