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Villa saddened by death of former player Con Martin

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Villa saddened by death of former player Con Martin

Villa are saddened to hear of the death of former player Con Martin, who passed away this week just a month short of his 90th birthday.

There was a time when players were permitted to represent both Northern and the Republic of Ireland - and in 1949 Con Martin became the first player to turn out for both in the same year.

He scored the first goal from the penalty spot for the history-making Republic team who won 2-0 at Goodison Park in September that year to become the first overseas opposition to beat England on home soil.

By then, he had already started to make a name for himself in claret and blue, having joined Villa from Leeds just over 12 months earlier.

He was rated at the time as one of the best centre-halves in the country and he enhanced his reputation at Villa Park.

And just to prove he could double up in positions as well, in 1951-52 he started the season at left-back but then played 27 games as Villa's goalkeeper when Joe Rutherford was injured and the club had no cover.

His best position, however, was at the heart of the defence and he performed admirably throughout his time with the club.

Although he did not manage an ever-present campaign, he was virtually an automatic choice over a period of eight seasons, with the exception of the 1953-54 campaign, when injury restricted him to just four appearances.

He scored only once for Villa, a penalty in a 4-1 win at Charlton in April 1950 but his lack of goals was of no consequence given his heroics at the other end of the pitch.

Martin left Villa in 1956, returning to his homeland to take over as player-manager of Waterford.

He is survived by wife Vera, sons Mick, Con Jnr, Edward and Phillip, daughters Mary, Elizabeth and Susan, many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

"Con Martin will go down in history as one of Irish football's great players and his family continued that tradition with his sons playing the game to a very high level," said FAI president Paddy McCaul.

FAI chief executive John Delaney added: "We were very proud to open our Hall of Fame alcove in tribute to Con at FAI headquarters in Abbotstown in 2009."

AVFC Official
By @AVFCOfficial 26th February 2013
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