Christie Martin

For brief period, 1924 to 1932, Bo'ness F.C. was one of the top forty teams that made up Scotland's two divisions. And it is no coincidence that it was also the time when Christie Martin flourished. With just a single season away at Falkirk and a brief sojourn in American soccer the diminutive forward, just five foot three tall, notionally an outside-right, was five seasons at the club, for one of them, 1927-8, and after a tally the previous year of twenty-nine goals, not even his best, seeing it promoted to the First Division. And that same form again to 1927 would also win him two international caps, for two countries but neither being Scotland.     

Whilst Christopher "Christie" Martin was raised from about three years of age in Scotland, his football education being entirely Scots, he was not eligible for its national team. In 1911, aged 10, so probably born in 1901, and living in Clydebank he was the third child of seven of Patrick, a shipyard labourer, and Kate Martin with all his younger siblings reported as born there or in Glasgow and he and all his elder ones in Ireland. And from Irish records comes confirmation that he was indeed born in 1901, by Athlone in West Meath and further from the 1921 Scottish census, where he is recorded as Chris, living by then in Partick and working as a rivet-heater again in a shipyard, that it was in fact in neighbouring Co. Roscommon. 

It would be again in Partick that in 1923 Christie Martin would marry the girl next-door, Mary Kate Milmoe. Two children, Christopher and Catherine, were then born in 1927 and 1929, still in Partick, as Christie's football flourished, domestically, albeit on the other side of the country to Glasgow, and internationally. In 1925 he had been called up by the Belfast-based Irish FA for a single cap and against Scotland, a 0-3 defeat at Windsor Park. In 1927 it was the turn of the Dublin-based Football Association of Ireland again for one appearance, again in defeat, 1-2 at Lansdowne Rd. In the former he was in his normal position out on the right wing but with the genius of the equally Hiberno-Scots Patsy Gallagher inside him. In the latter he was at centre-forward.


They were to be Christie's only caps, after which personal and club success drifted away. His playing career is said to have come to an end following an accident in the shipyard where he was working concurrently. His skull was fractured. But it also seems to have coincided with the demise of Bo'ness. It was expelled from the league in 1932 for inability to pay "match guaranties", the minimum £50 for visiting teams. Martin was by then just turned thirty and it has to be assumed that he simply worked out the rest of his days in shipbuilding, dying relatively early in Glasgow. His wife predeceased him by two years, his own death was in 1956, so aged fifty-five and was the result of being knocked down by a bus as he was walking to church. He is buried in St. Kentigern's Cemetery, Glasgow.   

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