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Ex-Crystal Palace, Millwall, Luton, Southend winger joins Hastings United

A former Crystal Palace, Millwall, Luton, Southend winger joins Hastings United, and it’s gone down very well with fans on social media.

36 year old Dave Martin joins the Isthmian League South East Division outfit, who themselves have some big plans following a rebrand.

Now they have brought in a footballer who has played at every level of the English Football League including five seasons in the Championship, five in League One and two in League Two.


Dave, an experienced and exciting winger joins The U’s this season after spending the last couple of campaigns at Sussex rivals, Whitehawk.

Dave Martin said: “It was always a tough team to play against so it’s nice to be playing for Hastings United. It’s a great football club going places, with a brilliant fanbase and I can’t wait to get going. I am delighted to be part of it and hopefully we can do what Covid-19 has stopped for the last two seasons, and that’s to get that promotion!”

Manager Chris Agutter stated: “Dave’s given us a torrid time over the last couple of seasons playing for Whitehawk, a great player with bundles of quality and experience. For the likes of Freddie Legg he’ll be a brilliant role model to learn from, which on top of the immediate impact he will make on the pitch makes this one of the best bits of business the club’s done since I’ve been here.”

Hastings chairman Billy Wood added: “It’s great to be able to welcome Dave Martin to The ‘U’s. Having a shed ton of games in the football league under his belt, Dave brings a lot of class and experience with him. I believe Dave’s wand of a left peg plus the desire and aggression we will see from him on the pitch will make him an instant fan favourite. Welcome to The TGS Pilot Field!”

Former Crystal Palace, Millwall, Luton, Southend winger joins Hastings United (Photo Credit: travellingfan on Instagram)


Martin was spotted at the age of 10 by Brighton before moving to South East London side Slade Green and then onto Dartford. Martin’s time at Dartford proved productive, finding the net 14 times in 68 appearances and attracting the attention of then-Championship club Crystal Palace, who he joined for £25,000 in January 2007.

Martin made his debut for Crystal Palace as a substitute in a 1–0 win over Southend United at Roots Hall in February 2007, but only spent a year at Selhurst Park, where he suffered a thigh strain, and managerial changes meant he was restricted to just 14 appearances—primarily as substitute—before making the switch to Millwall for an initial fee of £50,000, rising to £100,000 depending on appearances.

Martin made his Millwall debut in the 2–0 defeat away to Nottingham Forest on the 9th of February 2008, before scoring a goal in each of his next two games: a 2–1 victory over Southend and a 3–0 win over Port Vale and finishing the season with 11 appearances and two goals.

Martin’s first full season at Millwall saw him become a fixture of Kenny Jackett’s first team squad, missing only three games (all through suspension) as Millwall reached the League One Playoff Final at Wembley Stadium, where they lost 3–2 to Scunthorpe.

His form attracted interest from Championship club Cardiff City, but Martin remained at the Lions for the 2009–10 campaign and played 21 times in the league, scoring three goals.

As he was entering the final year of his contract, Millwall offered Martin a new deal, which was rejected, prompting Jackett to state “We haven’t been able to get Dave to sign a new contract this year, so unfortunately halfway through the season we have to take what we can because we would lose him for nothing in the summer.

“From our point of view there is an offer of a contract on the table for the player. It obviously hasn’t been accepted and he isn’t going to sign it, so the next thing is after that if there is a bid then reluctantly we will take it.”

An offer from Championship side Derby, who he had impressed when playing against in both ties of the clubs FA Cup Third Round meeting, followed, with Derby boss Nigel Clough attempting to sign Martin in a £150,000 deal at the end of the January transfer window. The deal fell through, but Clough intimated a desire to make a fresh approach for Martin with the reopening of the emergency loan window on the 9th of February.

Martin went to Derby on loan until the end of the 2009–10 season, with a view to a permanent move on expiration of his Millwall contract. He went straight into the squad for Derby’s league game against Newcastle and came on as a late sub in their 3–0 victory.

Martin made one start and a further eight substitute appearances before the close of the season and Clough confirmed in an interview after a defeat at Bristol City that Martin would sign for the club permanently in the summer.

He scored his first goal for the club on the final day of the season with the second goal in a 2–0 win over Cardiff City and formally completed his move to the Rams on the 1st of June 2010, signing a two-year deal.

However, Martin failed to break into the Derby first team and after just two substitute appearances in his first six months he moved to then-League One side Notts County on a month’s loan.

His loan spell, however came to an end earlier than hoped due to an abductor strain injury. He played three times for Notts, twice in the league and once in the FA Cup.

He rejoined Notts on a two-month loan on the 24th of February 2011, then returned to Derby on the 24th of April 2011, after making 11 appearances for Notts.

On the 13th of September 2011, Martin joined then-League One side Walsall on a one-month loan. He made five appearances for The Saddlers, which included a red card in his last game against Preston.

On the 4th of January 2012, Martin was sold to Southend United for an undisclosed fee, signing an 18-month contract. His contract was terminated on the 25th of January 2013, after he struggled to get into the Southend first-team during the 2012–13 season. He left having made 35 appearances and scoring four goals in the process.

Following his release from the Shrimpers, Martin trained with then-Conference Premier side Luton Town.

After impressing manager Paul Buckle he signed an 18-month contract with the club on the 29th of January 2013.

Buckle departed from the Hatters shortly afterwards, but his replacement John Still continued to play Martin in the squad.

Martin signed a one-year contract extension until May 2015 following strong performances towards the end of the 2012–13 season

Injuries and poor form at the beginning of the 2013–14 season led to Martin falling out of first-team contention at Luton and on the 18th of November 2013, he signed for fellow Conference Premier side Dartford on loan, where he made nine league appearances. Martin was added on the transfer list by Luton at the end of the campaign.

Martin joined then-Conference Premier side Bristol Rovers on a five-month loan in August 2014, a year later was released by Stevenage, went on to sign for National League South side Whitehawk in July 2015 and then joined Bromley for the 2016–17 season.

Martin re-joined Whitehawk in 2019–20 and was appointed player-coach for the 2020–21 season. He was released by Whitehawk in January 2021 before signing for Hastings United in August 2021.


Youth career
Brighton & Hove Albion

Senior career
2004–2005 – Slade Green – 66 games (14 goals)
2005–2007 – Dartford – 68 games (14 goals)
2007–2008 – Crystal Palace – 14 games (0 goals)
2008–2010 – Millwall – 78 games (9 goals)
2010 → Derby County (loan) – 11 games (1 goal)
2010–2012 – Derby County – 2 games (0 goals)
2011 → Notts County (loan) – 10 games (0 goals)
2011 → Walsall (loan) – 4 games (0 goals)
2012–2013 – Southend United – 31 games (4 goals)
2013–2015 – Luton Town – 23 games (3 goals)
2013–2014 → Dartford (loan) – 9 games (0 goals)
2014 → Bristol Rovers (loan) – 15 games (0 goals)
2015 – Stevenage – 10 games (1 goal)
2015–2016 – Whitehawk – 43 games (6 goals)
2016–2017 – Bromley – 29 games (1 goal)
2017 → Margate (loan) – 7 games (0 goals)
2017–2018 – Margate
2018–2019 – Eastbourne Borough – 21 games (2 goals)
2018–2019 → Margate (loan) – 10 games (1 goal)
2019–2021 – Whitehawk – 30 games (3 goals)
2021– Hastings United

Fans reacted as the former Crystal Palace, Millwall, Luton, Southend winger joins Hastings United, see what they said below…

@BobJQuinn: Blimey, that is a first class piece of business 👍 He has always impressed whenever we’ve gone up against Whitehawk.

@veness_phil: Really decent signing this. Played most of his career at a very high league standard. Will be a great addition to the team.

@JoeKnightHUFC97: Big signing 👏🏻 welcome to Hastings United Dave ⚽️💪🏻

@Mike23West: Great signing 🙌🏼

@Patfooty: Massive signing – massive statement

@paul_springett: We wish Dave all the best @hastingsufc it was an unbelievable offer that was too good to turn down at this stage in his career. A good friend of mine who has been nothing but professional since coming in. At @EBTheDeres like with any player we won’t stand in the way of progress.

Peter Cutler: Was a decent player when he was at Millwall, set up the equaliser at Leeds that got us into playoff final

Chris Young: All the best, Microwave. Shame we didn’t see more of you in a Palace kit. You’ve got some serious ability 👍

Chris Laverick: BIG SIGNING 👌

Sam Elvis Lebat: Very good

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