A former Carlisle United goalkeeper, Martin Burleigh, has died at the age of 70.
He joined Carlisle from Darlington in June 1975 when the Blues had just been relegated following their one season in the First Division.
He then returned to Darlington for a further two-year spell, in the first of which he was the club’s player of the season. Across his two spells, he played 101 games for the Quakers.
His professional career ended with three seasons at Fourth Division Hartlepool United, for whom he made 96 appearances in all competitions, before moving into non-league in 1982 with Bishop Auckland and then playing for Spennymoor United and Langley Park. He retired in 1985.
In total Burleigh racked up 222 appearances in the Football League with Newcastle, Darlington, Carlisle United, and Hartlepool but it was his early career that thrust him into the spotlight.
He signed pro for United in 1968 after playing for Willington in the Northern League and the following year was in a terrific junior side that did the Northern Intermediate League and cup double as well as winning the Rotterdam international youth tournament beating Arsenal in the final.
His first-team debut came on Boxing Day 1970 at Leeds in the old First Division but had to wait over a year before making another appearance – his home debut on January 8, 1972, in a 4–2 victory over Coventry City.
Unlucky enough to be deputy to the outstanding Willie McFaul, when Burleigh eventually claimed United’s green jersey as his own, he fractured a finger in a collision with Mick Channon at Southampton.
Instead, he began a round of the local Football League clubs – Darlington, Carlisle and Hartlepool.
Burleigh will be remembered at 3pm on Saturday in Newcastle, over 200 milesfrom where the Magpies are kicking off against Wolves.
Many former Newcastle players regularly meet at Tyneside Irish Centre in the city and Burleigh was one of them.
Former United favourites Bob Moncur (himself a former Carlisle manager), Alan Foggon and ‘Jinky’ Smith will lead a collection of old team-mates in a minute’s appreciation of the goalkeeper.