WE are sorry to hear of the death of Martin Harvey, former Argyle coach and twice caretaker manager of the Pilgrims, aged 78.
A Northern Ireland international half-back, Martin spent his entire club playing career with Sunderland, for who he made his debut at Home Park in a goal-less draw in October 1959.
As well as being in the Pilgrims' dug-out for the 1984 FA Cup run and helping towards promotion two seasons later, Martin was also part of the Northern Ireland management team that played in two World Cup finals.
Just 5ft 9in tall, Martin was a tremendous tackler, with style and timing were his greatest skills, and he formed part of the defence that helped Sunderland win promotion to the top flight in 1963-1964. By then, he was already a full international and, over the next ten years, he won 34 caps, scoring three goals.
During the 1971-1972 season, Martin sustained serious back and other injuries which forced his premature retirement at the age of 30. He stayed on at Sunderland, joining the coaching staff, and appeared in his testimonial match against Newcastle United in April 1975. He then took a similar job at Carlisle United under manager Bobby Moncur.
When Moncur was appointed manager of Argyle in 1981, he brought Martin with him as assistant manager. The following year, Martin was assistant to Northern Ireland manager Billy Bingham at the World Cup finals.
When Moncur left Argyle in September 1983, Martin found himself temporarily in charge. He did well, guiding the team to a 1-1 home draw with Arsenal in the EFL Cup, and, although Argyle lost both their league fixtures under him, he was considered a strong candidate for the permanent position. However, the board decided not to take the risk, and went instead for the experienced Johnny Hore.
Martin stayed on as assistant manager until, in October 1984, Hore was dismissed and he found himself in the driving seat again. This time, his stewardship lasted for some six weeks, during which Argyle won two and drew one of their six league fixtures, as well as winning their FA Cup first-round tie against Barnet. At the beginning of December, Dave Smith was appointed Argyle manager.
In 1985-1986, Martin left Argyle briefly to work with Billy Bingham in Saudi Arabia and, for the second time, as assistant manager at the World Cup finals. He returned to Home Park, however, and continued to work for the club as a coach until 1990.
Following a spell coaching for Millwall, Martin returned west to settle in Plymouth and remained a friend of the club.
Everyone at Home Park sends their sincere condolences to Martin's family and friends.
With thanks to Greens on Screen and Peggy Prior