Last Saturday’s game against Crook Town marked the end of an era for Whitley Bay Football Club and their long-serving physio Glen Martin.
After 13 years and some 650 games at Hillheads and venues across the country, including of course three appearances at Wembley, Glen has decided to retire.
The hugely respected and popular Glaswegian has been involved in local non-league football for 25 years, having started at Dunston under then manager Peter Quigley, where he treated players such as former Newcastle United defender and now BBC Newcastle summariser John Anderson.
After four years with the ‘Fed’ he moved to Croft Park, where he worked alongside managers including John Burridge, Harry Dunn, Alan Shoulder, Paul Baker and then John Charlton.
When Charlton was appointed for a brief spell as boss at Hillheads in 2003, Glen came with him and was arguably Charlton’s best signing for Whitley.
The next 13 years included the greatest period in Whitley’s history and no small part in that success has been down to Glen, whose expert guidance ensured that the players were in the peak of condition for all three FA Vase Finals at Wembley. He has become part of what he calls the Hillheads family.
While he has lived the dream of every physio by taking care of players under the Wembley Arch, he never had anything serious to deal with in those Vase Finals and he thoroughly enjoyed the experience on all three occasions.
There have of course been serious injuries that Glen has had to deal with, the most recent being when Craig McFarlane suffered a broken ankle at West Allotment on Good Friday.
As well as looking after the Bay squad, Glen was often to be seen assisting with the treatment of injured players from the opposition.
During his 13 years at Hillheads, Glen has seen Whitley win the FA Vase three times, the Northumberland Senior Cup twice and the Northern League title once. That’s quite some record!
Bay football secretary Derek Breakwell said “Glen is a top man, he’s been a great servant to Whitley Bay, doing a terrific job and we all enjoy his company.”
Ahead of Saturday’s game against Crook Town, a special ceremony took place on the pitch, when Glen, a connoisseur of red wine, was presented with a wine decanter from club chairman Paul McIlduff, assisted by Northern League Chairman Mike Amos.
As for the game itself, Glen was able to enjoy a quiet afternoon with none of the players requiring treatment.
There will be one more occasion for fans to say goodbye to Glen when the club holds its annual presentation night at the Seahorse Clubhouse on Saturday evening, starting at 7.30pm. All Whitley Bay supporters are invited to attend.