The poignant tributes in the MFW comments and on social media that followed the passing of our Martin were of great comfort to those who loved him. So too, according to the family, were the two tributes that appeared on this site, one of which is reproduced below.
In response to all of the above, Martin’s partner, Sue, wrote us this heartfelt thank you:
“Hi Bernie, lovely pieces written for Martin on My Football Writer. He was a lovely guy who loved his football, especially the writing side and answering all the comments. The football site gave him a purpose to keep going and he loved the ups and downs that Norwich City provided each year. Could you write a little thank you note for me?”
Sue, you wrote the thank you note, and it was brilliant.
There was an inevitability to the end when you said you had suffered a loss of liver function with little hope of it getting better soon. I was concerned, but you got yourself a good doctor and some treatment.
The liver is a canny organ and when we chatted about organ replacement you surprised me by saying that your liver had shown signs of regeneration and that a transplant might be not on the menu.
Then, in January of this year, I received that message from you in your own jocular style, telling me that you had been given a present to go with your liver – an inoperable mouth cancer that was already at stage four. Talk about taking bad news in your stride.
Shortly after that, I visited your little pad in Mundesley on a chilly February day. We enjoyed a trip out to the Ship Inn where you had coffee and we chatted about Norwich and tried to sort out the woes of the world. We failed of course.
Then back to your little house, and a quick viewing. Two electric guitars and an impressive amp.
Yes, Martin could play a bit. After all, he named one of his hounds Geezer. There were also multiple Norwich City shirts of various vintages on display, but we agreed you could not beat the bird poop shirt.
Martin had two passions apart from family: Norwich City and music. I once mentioned the gentle rock of Wishbone Ash to him and off he went – a story of how on one Saturday he was returning from Hackney Marshes after a game of football and he had to ask his dad to drive slower so he could listen to all of his new tape of Wishbone Ash before getting home.
But it was the Norwich City passion that we shared and which led us to meeting. We both contributed to BTL chatter on Pink Un stories. Martin used the name El Dingo and, as always, told the situation as he saw it.
Unbeknown to me, a group of these contributors knew each other and had irregular meets in the city. One of them invited me to join them on a Saturday for a beer and a chat. I accepted the invitation, took a train into Norwich, and walked into my first MOG (miserable old gits) meet-up.
It was a well-lived face that said, ‘Hello I’m Martin, you know me as Dingo, but here we use our names.’
That was me meeting Martin in the flesh for the first time.
Since then we had these meets four or five times a year until the COVID years. Now it’s all online chat.
One conversation back in 2016 took a funny turn in such that flagellation was brought up. Martin’s contribution was to tell us all an amusing tale of a director’s wife at Harlow Town FC in the early 1970s, who was apparently fond of a table tennis bat. Tbh, it might be true or just a tale.
As was the one about a PE teacher who was an ogre and beat the boys mercilessly, until one of Martin’s schoolmate’s older brother put said teacher into Whipps Cross Hospital. The Old Bill were obviously informed, but according to Martin did nothing, as the cops knew the teacher was a wrong ‘un. Martin’s Dad was a local constable.
When you look into Martin’s history he had a great grounding in music by working for the NME. He once shared with me a photo of a young Martin with a lady called Jilly Saward who went on to be lead singer with Shakatak. Well. Why not… it’s your job to chat with them for the article!
It’s not easy to get my head around the fact that Martin worked for the Met as a press liaison dude and later for BASF who sent him all around the world.
But he did and kept coming back, and we are desperately glad that he did.
Farewell, my friend.