George Martin’s Everton career only lasted four years, but it encompassed one of the most dramatic periods in the club’s history. He joined in March 1928 as Everton were in the process of winning their third League Championship, played all but two games as they were relegated two years later, encountered a Second Division Championship win and made a cameo as Everton lifted their fourth League title.
The talented inside forward had first made an impression on the Everton board when starring for Hull City in an FA Cup fourth round win in February 1927. The match had gone to its second replay and was played at neutral Villa Park; Martin was, according to ‘Bees’ in the Liverpool Post and Mercury ‘one of their best men in each of the three games.’ He got his just reward with the scores tied at 2-2 in extra time: a winner that he struck so hard that it burst the ball.
His arrival at Goodison for a fee of £1,750 thirteen months later was opportune. Everton were in the midst of a ten game run without a win and league title hopes were drifting away. His addition to the team in place of Bobby Irvine ‘certainly improved the line’ and ‘he played with great dash and determination.’ Another correspondent wrote: ‘He had a knack of opening out the game, could draw a man and pass the ball. Possibly he will prove deadlier in front goal.’
He would score three goals before the end of the season, none more crucial than the deciding effort in a 5-3 win at Burnley in the season’s penultimate game. A week later he was part of the team that helped Dean score his fifty-eighth, fifty-ninth, and sixtieth goals of the season and lift the League Championship.
That week Jimmy Dunn joined Everton, meaning that just two months after himself joining Everton, Martin’s place would always be under challenge. The only campaign he was a cast iron certainty in the Everton team was the year they were relegated.
In May 1932, having made just two first appearances all season, he left to join Middlesbrough in a joint deal with Arthur Rigby for £1,800. He played just six times at Ayresome Park before joining Luton and would later serve as coach and manager over two spells at Kenilworth Road. The height of his managerial career came at Newcastle, whom he led to promotion to the First Division in 1948. A subsequent spell in charge of Aston Villa was less happy and he left after falling out with the board.