With many things to be proud of, in a refereeing career that spans over 25 years, Martyn is taken back when talking of his proudest moments.
“I was lucky enough to do a cup final for the Brighton & Worthing League and I remember saying well the players won’t have me I’m too old! But they kept reiterating that I’d done well and deserved it.
“I loved it, honestly, it was a real proud moment for me. I had Robbie Carron with me on the line and he said to me ‘you’ll be alright today Martyn you can do it.’ He’s a good guy and it always helps when you have that.
“The main thing I have to look back on is that I hope I brought a bit of fair play to the game. I haven’t had too many critics anyway! You get one or two of course but usually it’s all in good jest.”
Now in his late 70s, Martyn is aware of the limitations that can come to him at that age. He often turns to his wife to repeat the questions asked to him due to his difficulty hearing! But for him to have the desire to carry on doing what he loves to do has to be admired. Despite many people writing him off, he has no plans to pack it in just yet.
“Everywhere I go seeing people in football I get the same comments, ‘you can’t still be involved in football!’ I always find it funny because I see people that I used to referee and now I’m refereeing their kids or grandkids!
“With the two knee replacements I've had, I always get people telling me I won’t come back from it, and I always say 100% that I will. After the heart attack I had in December, the doctors told me I was more than healthy enough to continue if I wanted to!
“The only time I really got knocked was a few years back, someone accidentally came in the back of me during a game and I done my hip. That time I was told I definitely wouldn’t come back! But here I am.”
The next question to Martyn seemed an obvious one. Just how does he retrieve the mental capacity to carry on despite so many setbacks. Martyn’s mindset, however, is just to keep doing what he loves to do.
“Football has just given me such a lovely momentum in life, and I feel like I’m achieving something, doing something useful. It’s given me purpose, discipline, communication skills, but health is the big thing and it’s free! I actually get paid for it, but I don’t do it for the money believe it or not.
“My mindset has always been well if they want me to ref and I’m allowed to then I will. If anything, it was more of a boost for me to continue because it gave me something to aim for. I just love the game and everything it has done for me and I’m so grateful to be on the pitch.”
It's always fascinating to talk to veteran referees who have given so much to football. Martyn, against all odds, is still doing what he loves to do, and that’s really inspiring.
Lastly, he added words of wisdom to aspiring referees: “From my experience, any young person who loves football, has a passport to a world of opportunity.
“Football is a global industry that can take you anywhere and it gives you the chance to obtain level of respect that is very unique.
“It could be crucial to young people to have refereeing on a CV showing that you have management skills, communication skills, the ability to control people, what a thing for young people to have.
“To any young person thinking of becoming a ref, it’s a no brainer to be part of such an iconic sport. Refereeing has given me, friendships, respect and richly rewarded my life.”
For more information about refereeing in Sussex please contact:
T: 01903 768573