West Ham keeper Martin makes a stunning debut in win at Chelsea
PUBLISHED: 09:00 03 December 2019
PA Wire/PA Images
You couldn’t make it up! after emotional day at Stamford Bridge for Hammers debut boy
There were two moments on Saturday which tugged at the heartstrings of all West Ham fans.
After the brilliant 1-0 win at Chelsea, the players rushed headlong towards debut boy David Martin, who was collapsed on the ground crying his eyes out.
The West Ham players were united once again, coming together to show their gratitude for the efforts of the 33-year-old with the heart of a lion.
Minutes later it became even more emotional. Martin jumped into the press box where his dad, the West Ham legend that is Alvin Martin, was there for a match-winning hug.
You couldn't make it up. A story like that would be dismissed as unbelievable, but we had just seen it and thanks to Martin, West Ham had picked up a vital three points.
In his time as a journeyman with the likes of MK Dons and Millwall, Martin could scarcely believe that this day in the spotlight of the Premier League would ever come.
"Obviously you dream about moments like this," he said afterwards. "I knew my Dad was in the stand.
"It was tough keeping in the tears, but I just couldn't help it in the end, so I just kind of collapsed to the ground. To have all the lads see me after was a little bit embarrassing, but it was a great feeling! Hopefully I'll have that feeling for a long time to come."
There were no spectacular saves from Martin, but it was his composure and his unflappability under pressure which made it so special.
"You don't get many moments like this in your career," he said. "For my Dad to share this with me, I couldn't have asked for it to go any better.
"The lads helped me out and I got a bit lucky in certain times in the game, so to enjoy that with my Dad after was an unbelievable feeling."
It was the stuff that dreams are made of, but Martin knows that without a strong defence on the day, it could have turned into a nightmare.
"Tha lads in front of me really did protect me," he admitted. "There was a great block from Angelo Ogbonna in the first five minutes and the lads dug in when they needed to.
"It was great to be a part of it, and to get a clean sheet at somewhere like this. We haven't won here in a long time, so the feeling's great."
Perhaps the best moment for Martin and the rest of the West Ham defence came in the first half.
Chelsea delivered a corner and we all know what Roberto would have done with it.
While the Spaniard would have flapped, Martin jumped and caught the ball with confidence and that was the difference on Saturday, simple as that.
Alvin may be his dad, but skipper Mark Noble was like a proud uncle at the final whistle.
"You can't help but be buzzing for Dave" he said.
"He was not expecting to play at all when he came in in pre-season, and to have your Premier League debut at Chelsea away and go and get a 1-0 result and keep a clean sheet - it's what dreams are made of.
"I'm just so happy - I was nearly crying for him after the game.I saw him crying at the final whistle and I nearly went myself, because I know how much it means.
"He's a West Ham fan, he's been to games in the crowd, his dad's an absolute legend here. For him now, to sit at the Christmas table with his dad - what a lovely feeling."
Of course, when Lukasz Fabianski is fit again in a few weeks time, Martin will be out again, but at least he must have secured his place as back-up keeper and at least if injury strikes the Pole again, the Hammers need have no fear about who will come in.
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