Martin joined Old Longtonians on a wet Wednesday night in 1963 while playing for Trentham, when he had received a severe line-out lesson from Joe Holmes and Peter Henson, two of the most formidable second rows ever to wear the Longton shirt.

For the next few years, Martin enjoyed himself in the second team for OLRUFC with such stalwarts as Colin Broome, Nooker Thorley and Ron Bailey. This all came to a juddering halt, when it was ‘discovered’ that Martin could actually put up with the strains of playing at tight head prop. Longton were short in this position, so for the next few years, that’s where Martin played, until he had to leave the area in 1975 for job reasons. When he returned in 1980, Longton had just started a vet’s team which opened the door again for a golden period of fun rugby. This continued for another five years, before Martin finally hung up his boots.

Off the field, Martin’s career began as assistant social secretary, and who can forget the ill-fated trip to Mr Smith’s club, with the talking dog as the main act.

Building on that ‘success’, Martin then had a spell as Secretary and then as the Project Manager to establish the beloved ‘Roughcote in 1975. Farm buildings were converted to a cosy but effective clubhouse with one pitch. The above mentioned job move then intervened and when our first bar ever was opened on December 21st, Martin moved house to Evesham on 28th.

In 1980, fate swung Martin back to North Staffs with another job move and he was able to resurrect his contact with OLRUFC, while living at Stafford, becoming Chairman in 1985.This period lasted until 1989 when Martin was relocated to Halesowen. You would think that would be the end of matters, but in 1994, when Martin was stuck in an underpass at Five Ways, Birmingham, he received the fateful telephone call from the President at the time, Tony Smith, who said it would be a great favour to him if Martin would stand for President at the AGM that night. The rest as they say is history.

The next period for Martin is all about the project of a lifetime, the creation of Trentham Fields. Based on the long term goal of growing junior rugby under the guidance of Doug Finney, the case was painstakingly made to market Roughcote and to persuade Stoke on Trent Council to have faith in Longton to be worthy of a new site at Trentham Fields. This was far from being a one-man show, and depended on solid support from the committee of the day, with Terry Keeling, [living in Ilkley] Mick Wheat, Steve Lodey, Steve Tams [our man in SOT] , with Bob Beckett and John Till keeping the club running throughout the transfer and many others too numerous to mention.

To be able to play rugby with some fine [and not so fine] players and to work with them to such a worthy goal has been a rare privilege.


Post script. The pictures on the Club’s website of the massed ranks of juniors makes it all worthwhile.