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View from...a legend

Posted on 21 August 2009  - 12:00

In the latest of our 'View from...' series to preview forthcoming games, we speak to former Lane legend, West Ham great and World Cup winner Martin Peters.

View from...a legend

In the latest of our 'View from...' series to preview forthcoming games, we speak to former Lane legend, West Ham great and World Cup winner Martin Peters.

Martin scored 76 goals for us in 260 appearances between 1970-75. Before his move to the Lane in March, 1970, he bagged 81 goals in 302 games for West Ham. He also notched 20 times in 67 caps for England, most famously in the 1966 World Cup Final win against West Germany. After later spells with Norwich City and Sheffield United, Martin finished his domestic career with 174 goals in 721 appearances. He was awarded the MBE in 1978.

Almost 40 years on, Martin spoke to us about his move to Spurs as we prepare to face the Hammers at Upton Park on Sunday...

IMAGINE the pressure of being the country's most expensive player.

Then imagine the pressure of being the 'replacement' for the greatest goalscorer ever.

Martin Peters had all that pressure and more when he moved from West Ham to Spurs for a then-British record fee of £200,000 in March, 1970.

Jimmy Greaves, 266 goals in 379 appearances, went the other way to Upton Park as part of the deal.

The memories come flooding back for one of the all-time attacking midfield greats whenever Spurs meet West Ham.

Mike England, Phil Beal, Martin, Alan Mullery

"I didn't go to Tottenham to try and emulate Jimmy, no-one could, he was a one-off, and it took a little while for me to win the supporters over," Martin reflected this week.

"It took a reasonable period for the fans to accept that I wasn't another Jimmy Greaves. There was pressure, of course, but that was mainly because of the £200,000 fee.

"Fortunately, I scored after about 10 minutes of the first game I played - although we lost - I then scored in the second game and went on to have a decent run-in to that season.

"In the next season we won the League Cup and the team got stronger and better from there.

"I managed to fit in and we had Alan Mullery, a young Steve Perryman, Pat Jennings in goal, Cyril Knowles, Joe Kinnear, Martin Chivers playing out of his skin, Alan Gilzean - we had a great side.

"No disrespect to West Ham, but I do believe that Tottenham side was the best side I played in. At West Ham, we didn't have the same consistency, although we won the FA Cup in 1964 and Cup Winners Cup in 1965 and had good success under Ron Greenwood."

Martin admits both teams mean a lot to him and Sunday's match will divide his family between Spurs and West Ham fans!

"Ron Greenwood taught me so much in the way he wanted the club to play, the way the players should play and got me in with a chance of playing for England. I think he battered Alf Ramsey's ear about giving me a chance and it all worked out well for me, obviously.

"When I went to Tottenham, I took what I learned at West Ham and then it was the great Bill Nicholson at Spurs. It was great to work under those two managers."

Meanwhile, a familiar face broke through the West Ham ranks at the same time Martin was establishing himself as one of the most promising midfielders around - a certain Harry Redknapp, who made his debut for the Hammers in 1965.

"Harry was a flying winger, played very wide, was very quick and very excitable," recalled Martin. "He was an exciting player to have in the team, always gave 100 per cent and was good to play with.

"He was good enough to get into the first team at West Ham at that stage and he was a player who could win games for you with his pace on the wing, taking the full-backs on and trying to get crosses in for Geoff (Hurst) or even myself. He was a good player to have around."

Martin Chivers, Alan Mullery, Martin Peters


Martin v Rivelino, Brazil, World Cup 1970