Striker Neil Martin was first to score 100 goals in Scotland and England

It is said imitation is the sincerest form of flattery so I guess I must be honoured that has just introduced a column entitled Parallel Lines which does something remarkably similar to this blog that I began last season.

That aside, and with no knowledge of which Nottingham Forest links the official Albion website is going to turn its attention to prior to this Friday’s game, I’m going to avoid the more obvious Clough-Taylor, Ward and Grummitt associations and look at Neil Martin who I discover via Wikipedia is now 75 years of age.

His youthful picture can still be found on the legends section of Queen of the South FC’s website where it notes he was the first player to score 100 league goals in both Scotland and England.

Martin scored 28 goals in 119 games for Forest having moved down from Scotland in the 1960s and begun his English league career with Sunderland.

It was while playing for the Wearsiders that he gained three Scotland international caps, all in 1965.

Martin partnered the legendary Denis Law up front in World Cup qualifiers against Poland and Finland and his third and final cap was earned in a 1-0 win over Italy playing alongside Tottenham’s Alan Gilzean.

One of his most prolific spells was at Coventry City where in three years, between 1968 and 1971, he scored 40 goals in 106 appearances.

He was slightly less prolific for Forest (although he was on the scoresheet in Clough’s first game in charge) before Peter Taylor brought him to the Albion on 26 June 1975.

Four new players were presented to the assembled press that pre-season and standing alongside Martin was one Peter Ward.

Martin scored on his league debut for Brighton as Rotherham United were dispatched 3-0 but he didn’t stay in the side long because Taylor brought in loan signing Barry Butlin, also from Forest, for five games to play up front alongside Fred Binney and Gerry Fell.

Martin did get a run back in the side during the autumn, when he added to his goals tally. But Taylor obviously felt the attack needed something extra and the £30,000 arrival of Northern Ireland international Sammy Morgan from Aston Villa spelt the beginning of the end of Martin’s short spell at the club.

He scored eight league goals and one in the FA Cup in 18 starts (plus four substitute appearances) but it all ended somewhat acrimoniously.

The Argus reported on February 13 1976 that the 32-year-old former Scotland international had been transfer listed and banned from the Goldstone.

Words had evidently been exchanged after Martin had been subbed off in a reserves game and, try though he did, reporter John Vinicombe couldn’t find out exactly what had gone on.

Taylor was renowned for his tough stance with players. He suspended six players in the September that season and he had fallings out with Ian Mellor, Joe Kinnear and reserve ‘keeper Derek Forster.

Martin didn’t play for the club again, instead being moved on to Crystal Palace where he scored just the once in nine appearances.

At the end of the season, he joined what was a familiar exodus for ageing English league players at the time and played alongside England’s World Cup winning captain Bobby Moore, and ex-Arsenal full back Bob McNab, for San Antonio Thunder in America.

But he didn’t play in England again. His final playing days were in the Republic of Ireland, interestingly being given a lifeline by another former international striker who’d played for Brighton – Barry Bridges.

The former Chelsea, Birmingham, QPR and Millwall striker had a couple of seasons managing Dublin side St Patrick’s Athletic, where Martin joined him.

The Scot had a brief managerial foray with Walsall, mainly in tandem with Alan Buckley, but it didn’t end well and he left the club in 1982.



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