Celebrating Cinco de Martin

Martin Linley - Santa Rosa Black Oaks Soccer Club

Long-time Black Oaks Soccer Player Martin Linley

There will never be another Cinco de Mayo without remembering my old friend Martin Linley.  Martin was a founding member of the Black Oaks and played for several years on the over 30 team.  He was a feisty Brit who played hard, but after the whistle blew he would go from swearing at you to drinking pints with you, and made friends wherever he traveled.

He had many famous quotes, some directed at me and other teammates, like: “Touch of a donkey, lad!” or “Get stuck in!” A stalwart fullback, Martin had one philosophy, “You can let the ball by you, or the man by you, but never both.”  We had many great memories, including a fun soccer tournament in Puerto Vallarta with his family and our 30+ soccer team, Black Oaks Sol.  I always thought of him like an uncle, big brother, or team captain.

Not only did I have the pleasure of playing soccer with Martin, I worked with him for many years.  He was a mechanical engineer and loved working on cars, motorcycles and carts, loved to drive fast and love to experiment, or as he puts it, “blow things up.”  He was always a source of inspiration and recreation for me, whether it was having pints after work, talking about English soccer, or playing soccer, often a couple times a week.

A long-time soccer coach, every Cinco de Mayo Martin would call all his soccer friends and say, “It’s Cinco de Martin!”  Just about everyone in California celebrates Cinco de Mayo with parties and beer, so that might have been a reason why it was one of his favorite holidays.  The other reason was that it was his birthday.  People would come from all over the North Bay to play soccer with Martin and, of course, afterwards we would all drink pints and barbecue, an afterwards that often went  into Seis de Mayo.

It’s been four years since Martin passed away and I think back on all the joy he brought to me and to so many soccer players, youth, parents, friends and family.  It was only 2 months before he passed away when my family ran into him at the North Coast Section high school soccer finals and I had an opportunity to introduce him to my son, also a soccer player.  Martin loved kids and called them “pups.”  He ruffled my son’s hair and said, “There’s a good pup!”  It’s a memory I’ll always cherish.

Happy Birthday, Martin!  And, Happy Cinco de Martin, everyone!

Read More: Santa Rosa Press Democrat – Martin Linley

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About Alex Campbell
“Alex” is a creative writer, editor, blogger, and digital marketing professional seeking freelance opportunities in marketing, communications, social media, public relations, investor relations, government relations, sales and service. Offers over 20 years experience elevating brands, sharing stories and driving sales for interesting, innovative and disruptive products, services and new technologies.

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