George Martin was a centre forward and inside forward who joined the Tigers in late October 1922, just seven weeks after he signed for his previous club Bo’ness. He went straight into City’s first team at centre forward and scored in his first three starts, two defeats against Rotherham County and Leicester City and a win in the return fixture against Leicester. Martin scored a brace against Barnsley in early December 1922 but by Christmas he had dropped out the first team picture, when he returned in late January 1923 manager Percy Lewis had resigned and Bill McCracken was in the process of being appointed the new manager. Martin rewarded McCracken’s faith by scoring seven goals in eight consecutive starts in February and March 1923, securing his first team place for the rest of the season. Martin missed only three games during the 1923/24 season and sealed his reputation as a dangerous creative forward that was also capable of chipping in with goals. This form carried forward into the 1924/25 season when he missed only six games and he remained a first choice forward for three more seasons, missing only one fixture all season in the 1926/27 season when he netted 14 times including a hattrick against Preston in April 1927. He left Hull City for pastures new in March 1928.
George Scott Martin was born in Bothwell, an historic town on the banks of the River Clyde south east of Glasgow near Hamilton. He joined the World War 1 effort in June 1918 when he enlisted for the Scottish Rifles but quickly received an injured foot and transferred to the Royal Air Force. At the end of war Martin played local junior football for Cadzow St Annes and scored enough goals to secure a move to Hamilton Academical in September 1920. He spent a season and a half at Hamilton, scoring seven times in 23 starts but by the latter part of the 1921/22 season George was loaned to Scottish Second Division side Bo’ness where he scored 11 goals in 13 games. He signed permanently for Bo’ness in September 1922, but within a few weeks he had added another eight goals in 7 appearances and had signed professional terms with the Tigers.
Martin signed for First Division side Everton in March 1928 and after scoring three goals in ten starts at the end of the 1927/28 season he missed the first half of the subsequent season, returning to the fold in December 1928 and netting six top flight goals. He was a near ever-present and scored 16 goals for the Toffees during the 1929/30 season, which ended in relegation for the Goodison Park side. He was used less regularly in the 1930/31 season as Everton bounced back immediately and won the Second Division title, then started only twice in the 1931/32 season as the resurgent Toffees lifted the First Division champions trophy. His Everton career drew to a close having made 86 appearances and scored 32 goals in four and a bit seasons.
In May 1932 George moved to First Division rivals Middlesbrough, he started only six times for his new club and moved on again a year later when he joined Division Three South side Luton Town. He scored regularly for the Hatters over the next three seasons, netting the final goal in a 12-0 thrashing of Bristol Rovers in April 1936 that saw stand-in forward Joe Payne put ten goals past future Hull City goalkeeper Jack Ellis. In the 1936/37 season George was used more sparingly and he hung up his boots in the summer of 1937 having scored 29 times in 105 senior starts for Luton Town.
His retirement from playing saw him quickly transition into his second career in football management, though he also demonstrated his artistic bent when he exhibited sculptures at the Edinburgh Arts festival and won a reputation as a fine singer. He joined Luton Town’s coaching staff in August 1937 and two years later he was appointed de facto first team manager when previous boss Neil McBain left the club. He led the Hatters through the wartime leagues of World War Two and piloted Luton to a mid-table finish in the Second Division when the Football League returned in the 1946/47 season.
In May 1947 Martin took charge at First Division side Newcastle United and he guided the Magpies to second place in the Second Division in his first season, earning promotion to the First Division. He led Newcastle to top 5 finishes in the next two seasons and introduced club legend Jackie Milburn to first team action. In December 1950, with the St James’s Park side again riding high in the First Division table, he was allowed to join rivals Aston Villa as manager. He led Villa for three and a half seasons before being relieved of the manager’s role in August 1953. Returning to Luton Town, he was chief scout for the Hatters for many years until he resumed the managerial reins in February 1965. He was unable to arrest the club’s decline and was relegated at the end of the 1964/65 season, he achieved a top six finish in Division Four in the 1965/66 season then left Luton a second time in November 1966. He remained in Luton for the rest of his days and died in November 1972.
Date/Place of Birth: 14 July 1899, Bothwell
Hull City First Game: 28 October 1922, Rotherham County H (Division Two), 23 years, 106 days old
Hull City Final Game: 10 March 1928, Blackpool A (Division Two), 28 years, 240 days old
Cadzow St Annes (1919-1920), Hamilton Academical (1920-1922), Bo’ness (1922, loan), Bo’ness (1922), Hull City (1922-1928), Everton (1928-1932), Middlesbrough (1932-1933), Luton Town (1933-1937)
Hull City Record
Career: 218 apps, 58 goalsGeorge Martin