During this period of enforced football inactivity Linfieldfc.com will provide occasional programme articles on our former players.
The series commenced eight weeks ago with an article on Jim Lemon and has continued over the past seven weeks with features on Tommy MacDonald, Stephen McKee, Eric Bowyer, Tony Gorman, Lindsay Curry, Damien Curran and Colin McCurdy.
In this week's article Linfieldfc.com reproduces a programme article from earlier this season in which the spotlight was focused on former star striker Martin McGaughey.
CULT HEROES – MARTIN McGAUGHEY
by James Kennedy
With over 300 goals in under 500 games, Martin ‘Buckets’ McGaughey is considered one of the best goal scorers in Irish League history. However, he wasn’t always a fans favourite.
Martin says, “I first went to Linfield in 1975 and stayed for just one night of training, but at the second time of trying, I played under Gordon Thompson for Linfield Rangers, after he had noticed me when playing for Lisnasharragh High School and for the Schoolboys international team’.
Making his 1st team debut against Glenavon at Windsor Park (scoring in a 4-1 win), Martin found himself up against Colin McCurdy for a place in the team.
“Big McCurd was the star striker and I had to be patient. He was great with me and schooled me to take over from him when the time was right”.
The 1981/82 season saw Martin start to make a name for himself, as Linfield went on a run of 6 League titles in a row. It was also the season when Martin won his only Irish Cup winners medal
“The benchmark at Linfield has always been winning the league, and we did that regularly during the 1980s.”
This led to big games in the European Cup, with November 7th 1984 very nearly a night to remember.
“We lost 2-1 to Panathinaikos in Greece, and in the second leg we set about having a go at them. It was 3-0 before the half hour, and I’d scored two of those goals, the second a penalty which just about crept over the line!”
Sadly, the Greeks pulled the score back to 3-3 on a wet Belfast night, winning 5-4 on aggregate, and that same team went on to play Liverpool in the semi-final of the competition.
With 56 goals, 34 in the League, Martin was awarded the European Silver Boot in 1985, second only to Fernando Gomes of Porto. But there was a sting in the tail. A late season injury led to a year out of the game.
“I injured my knee in a game against Newry Town and became one of the first players to have a successful cruciate ligament operation. I might have won the Golden Boot only for missing the last 4 games of the season”.
Returning to the Linfield team, Martin did what he was best at– scoring goals – which led to interest from Rapid Vienna and Barnsley.
“I thought I had done well in a trial game with Vienna, but nothing came of it, and soon Barnsley, managed by the Leeds great Allan Clarke, were offering me £400 a week”.
But the home loving Martin didn’t really want to go, so he asked for £600 per week, knowing that Barnsley wouldn’t go that high!
1987 saw Martin pick up another injury, this time to the pelvis, and while injections eased the pain, the condition remains with him to this day.
“I could only have a limited number of injections, and the condition was uncurable, so my weekends usually consisted of scoring goals on a Saturday and practically being unable to walk on the Sunday”.
Eventually, it was time to leave Windsor Park, and it was an old teammate who broke the news.
“Trevor Anderson, who took over as manager in 1992, was the one who broke the news to me, and I signed for Ards as that was my local team. Paul Malone was the manager I signed for, soon replaced by Roy Coyle. I hated every minute of my short spell at Ards, and when my father passed away in early 1994 I decided that it was time to hang up the boots”.
Martin is not involved in the game now, other than holding the post of President of Roden Blues and 1st Raven Linfield Supporters Clubs.
“It was a privilege to play for Linfield, and it’s a privilege to be remembered by the fans in this way”.