End of an era as Everton's beloved kit man Jimmy Martin retires

03/08/2023 43comments  |  Jump to last

Everton's long-serving and much-loved kit manager, Jimmy Martin, has announced his intention to call time on his career and retire. 

Jimmy has been part of the proverbial furniture at the club since the 1980s glory days when he started out as coach driver for the first-team and club staff.

He became the club’s first-ever kit man in 1990 and has held the role given to him by Howard Kendall ever since through a parade of ever-changing players and managers.

Club ambassador Graham Stuart, who remembers Jimmy being on the bench for the FA Cup Final in 1995 when the Toffees won their last trophy to date, admitted that his presence will be sorely missed around the club.

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“Jimmy is an Everton legend, no question about it,” Stuart said on evertonfc.com. “Finch Farm won’t be the same without him – it will certainly be quieter, that’s for sure!

"Nothing is ever too much trouble for Jimmy and he’s been a great friend of mine since the first day I walked through the door at Bellefield. I love the man.”

Meanwhile, Ian Snodin recounted a tale from the day Everton secured the League Championship in May 1987.

“There’s no quick way back from Norwich and the lads never wanted the journey to end," he said. "Jimmy was doing the minimum speed on the motorway but even then, Howard kept telling him to slow down!

“Jimmy has been a magnificent servant to Everton and I wish him and Marie all the very best for the future. Marie doesn’t know what she’s in for, having him under her feet all day!”


Reader Comments (43)

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Barry Hesketh
1 Posted 03/08/2023 at 14:20:35
I thought that Jimmy Martin had worked as a kit-man alongside Colin Harvey, but it seems I was wrong.

Everton's long-serving Kit Manager Jimmy Martin has announced his retirement.

Jimmy, who was the Men's Senior Team coach driver during the halcyon days of the mid-80s before becoming the Club's first-ever kit man in 1990, has decided to step down.

Initially employed as the coach driver, he drove the players and staff until Howard Kendall offered him his new role and he quickly became a hugely-popular member of the backroom staff.

At the time, only Manchester United had a kit man in English football but, during his time at Athletic Bilbao, Kendall saw the benefits of having someone in control full-time.

During his time in and around the dressing room, Jimmy worked with the likes of Kendall, Walter Smith, David Moyes, Roberto Martinez, Carlo Ancelotti and, of course, Sean Dyche.

He was on the bench in 1995 when Everton won the FA Cup at Wembley and Graham Stuart, in the team that day, said that his presence will be sorely missed around the Club.

Everton Kit manager retires

Jay Harris
2 Posted 03/08/2023 at 14:41:13
A real character from all accounts who will be sorely missed by the club.
Will Mabon
3 Posted 03/08/2023 at 14:42:37
Barry, thought the same. 1990 - doesn't seem to fit with how I remember it.

I bet he'll have trouble staying away.

Jack Convery
4 Posted 03/08/2023 at 14:47:54
Let's hope he writes a book about his time with the Blues. It would be a corker. The best of luck for your retirement.
John Raftery
5 Posted 03/08/2023 at 15:07:22
A really genuine guy. I met him a few times over the years, including once at a club event in San Francisco 10 years ago.

His stories of what went on behind the scenes at Bellefield and Finch Farm were always hilarious.

He was often on the receiving end of players' pranks including the bucket of water on top of the door trick. He took it all in the right spirit, just hating the lead perpetrator who was usually Leon Osman.

Peter Gorman
6 Posted 03/08/2023 at 15:10:43
Forgetting to bring socks to an away game at Southampton is a fond highlight but a mere blip in such a lengthy service.

Good luck to him, we have a ready made replacement in Gbamin.

Eddie Dunn
7 Posted 03/08/2023 at 15:36:11
Part of the furniture. Hope he enjoys his retirement.
Mal van Schaick
8 Posted 03/08/2023 at 15:59:02
Great bloke. He showed us around Bellefield when I did a tour in the '90s with my son. He gave us a couple of away shirts. Samways and Matt Jackson.

Thanks, Jimmy. Enjoy your retirement.

Rennie Smith
9 Posted 03/08/2023 at 15:59:43
All the best, Jimmy lad! It's always great to see him in the background with a smile on his face.

Please don't let the knobheads come on here saying good riddance since he's part of the old-school club image...

Sean Ryan
10 Posted 03/08/2023 at 16:18:22
I think the concept of kit manager was something that Howard Kendall brought back from Spain.

Jimmy was the Everton driver during the '80s when Eavesway were the coach firm Everton used

Tom Bowers
11 Posted 03/08/2023 at 16:46:13
I understand he was to replace Maupay on the bench in the next game but decided to retire anyway.
Ajay Gopal
12 Posted 03/08/2023 at 16:49:16
Ha… ha… Peter (6), that is wicked :-)
Tony Everan
13 Posted 03/08/2023 at 16:54:44
All the best to Jimmy. Is this true?

Are we sure he won't be doing the kits for Al Hilal next season for ten times the money?

Brent Stephens
14 Posted 03/08/2023 at 17:29:16
I think this is the special announcement / tribute that Rob Halligan was anticipating before the final (?) home game of last season?
Christy Ring
15 Posted 03/08/2023 at 17:35:22
A true legend, met him years ago with my brother and he gave me Big Dunc”s jersey, have it framed on my wall.
Philip Bunting
16 Posted 03/08/2023 at 17:42:16
Proper blue...recall him popping into the Winslow on one of my trips across the Irish Sea.
Tom Plant
17 Posted 03/08/2023 at 18:12:17
Well done, Jimmy! Have a great and well-deserved retirement. Thank you for great work behind the scenes.
Les Callan
18 Posted 03/08/2023 at 18:22:13
Best of luck, Jim. I first met Jim when my lads played for Park Lane FC in Ashton when he drove for Eavesway. He must have been the longest-serving kit man in history!
Jason Hewly
19 Posted 03/08/2023 at 19:30:41
Best of luck to Jimmy Martin in his retirement. Club legend. It would be nice to see him get an ovation at Goodison.
Oliver Molloy
20 Posted 03/08/2023 at 19:54:23
Strange timing (with the new ground not far away) but hope its all good and wish you well – chihuahua!
Derek Valentine
21 Posted 03/08/2023 at 20:06:16
I remember he drove one of the supporters coaches in the late '70s before he got the job of driving the team coach.
David West
22 Posted 03/08/2023 at 20:07:28
Nowadays managers, coaches & their staff change so often. We can't expect modern managers and coaches to be Evertonians if we want to progress.

What we can do and is vital, is fill positions around the club with characters like Jimmy. Who, unlike managers or coaches, can connect with players, school them on what it means to be at our club, tell them in no uncertain terms what fans expect.

Good luck Jimmy in whatever comes next. Get your pen out, we want them stories!!!

Barry Hesketh
23 Posted 03/08/2023 at 20:15:22
Is there any truth in the rumour that the next kit person will be a female, and that a certain professor is showing a keen interest, so long as the salary matches or betters her last one?

Also could be a place for a former player to get closer to the football side of things, a certain Scotsman springs to mind, not Duncan the other guy who was on the board.

Seriously though, it's people like Jimmy that make the club a little bit more special than the usual corporate monolith that so many clubs are becoming. He will be difficult to replace, because there's no doubt he's one of Goodison's greatest characters. Good luck in your retirement, Jimmy.

Keith Harrison
24 Posted 03/08/2023 at 22:56:58
Met him, Joe Parkinson and Diamond Stuart over 30 years ago in the company of a certain Patrick O’Sullivan.

Absolute legend, daft as a brush, and generous to a fault. Took a few of us in the changing room before a night match against Coventry. Joe Royle went ballistic and threw us out!!

Still got the fully signed shirts he got for my lad on an impromptu stadium tour.

Have a long and happy retirement, Jimmy, one of the best Scottish imports to Everton!!

Andy McNabb
25 Posted 03/08/2023 at 22:59:20
Did a tour of Goodison years ago just before the season started. Jimmy chatted with us all the way round. Real 'salt of the earth' type.

Enjoy the rest, Jimmy. You will find it hard to stay away!

Lee Courtliff
26 Posted 04/08/2023 at 09:31:45
Keith, that would have been the game that saw Nicky Barmby make his debut for us in Nov '96, I think? We drew 1 apiece.

Thank you, Jimmy, and good luck in your retirement.

Whatever happened to Les Helm? He was the physio back in the 90s when I was a kid.

Mal van Schaick
27 Posted 04/08/2023 at 11:14:34
ps: Write a book, Jimmy. I would love to read some of your anecdotes about the goings on behind the scenes in your time at Everton.
John Atkins
28 Posted 04/08/2023 at 12:10:29
I remember using Eavesway a few times for private events in the '80s and Jimmy was the driver, top bloke then and used to tell us great stories about Howard and Colin.

A lifetime dedicated to serving the club through thick and thin, well… more thick and thick.

He'd have some book alright!!!

Get it done, Jimmy, and good luck with your retirement.

Francis van Lierop
29 Posted 04/08/2023 at 12:34:15
Have seen him at countless matches, but never knew his name.

Thanks, and enjoy your retirement.

Roger Helm
30 Posted 04/08/2023 at 13:37:57
Kit men often are characters. I recommend the BBC film Marvellous about the Stoke City kit man Neil Baldwin, a fantastic film.
Paul Kossoff
31 Posted 04/08/2023 at 15:13:48
Here is some important news for our beloved club.

Making progress on this front, with talks continuing with Sporting CP to sign striker Youssef Chermiti. Meanwhile, the Echo understands tentative discussions have taken place with Southampton about Che Adams.

Elsewhere, Everton have been linked with interest in FC Midtjylland's Emiliano Martinez and Manchester United's Harry Maguire.

Everton have told Manchester United they must pay £25M if they wish to sign Jarrad Branthwaite.

They say the centre-half is seeking a move away from Goodison Park, the Red Devils have made an enquiry, and the new asking price is a steep rise on the £6M Branthwaite was valued at only a few months ago.

Wait for a player swap deal with Bill's friends at Man Utd.

Nick White
32 Posted 04/08/2023 at 17:50:22
Great servant and by all accounts a lovely man.

I remember travelling home from Middlesbrough in the '90s after a 4-2 defeat on either Boxing Day or New Year's Day. Awful game, absolutely freezing and my mate got head butted by some lunatic Boro fan. Horrible day.

We overtook the team coach on the way home and we waved (honestly) and the only person to acknowledge us with a wave back was Jimmy. Royle was gone later that season. Pity.

Colin Glassar
33 Posted 04/08/2023 at 19:56:31
Good lad, Jimmy. They don't make them like him any more, ie, loyal, hardworking, honest etc… Enjoy your retirement.
Tony Abrahams
34 Posted 04/08/2023 at 20:16:48
Jimmy Martin is a lovely man who looked like he “really appreciated” every single minute of his time working for Everton.

I remember that game Nick, it was absolutely freezing that Boxing Day (we are all going to need big coats in the winter at Bramley-Moore Dock) and when we passed the Everton coach just before the Rocket, I couldn't believe it when I could see Joe Royle playing cards.

Dave Watson had just got injured, Everton's defence had just capitulated without our leader, and it was obvious we needed a replacement right away. I'm sure we went badly downhill because one wasn't found and it wasn't long before big Joe was on his way out of the club.

I still can't believe we haven't won a cup since Joe Royle, it absolutely sickens me.

Danny O’Neill
35 Posted 04/08/2023 at 20:50:51
At the time, it may have been frustration, but in hindsight, a sign of what was to come, Tony.

Joe Royle wanted to pursue certain players, but was blocked by the board. "Back me or sack me." He walked before they had the chance because they made their choice.

Another greatest Evertonian candidate, though, given the conversations around Colin Harvey of late. A boy from Norris Green who played for and managed his boyhood club and won trophies in both roles. The dream we all dreamed of.

The likes of Colin Harvey, Joe Royle and Kevin Sheedy (there you go!!) are those who should be cutting the ribbon at Bramley-Moore Dock and taking the absent seats.

Big Neville taking place for an opening penalty shootout with the mascots before kick-off, before heading off for a cup of tea.

Tony Abrahams
36 Posted 04/08/2023 at 21:08:30
I remember that Everton were even getting talked about as dark horses for the title after winning at Derby and putting themselves in the Top 6, Danny, but it unravelled very quickly after that for Big Joe.

I knew we were in trouble after losing Waggy, and couldn't believe our manager was playing cards seemingly without a care in the world.

"That wouldn't be me" was my first thought when we went past the team coach, because even though I was coming to the end of my life as a football geek, it was obvious not to know Watson was going to be very badly missed.

Keith Harrison
37 Posted 04/08/2023 at 21:46:40
Lee, 26. That's right, mate. I have a photo of him and me somewhere, and he makes me look tall.

That was the game some. A wag behind us was shouting "Putty nose" all night at Ogrozovic in the Sky Blue nets. They were camped in our half. 1-1 was correct.

Keith Harrison
38 Posted 04/08/2023 at 21:50:58
Nick 32, and others.

I went to that game on Boxing Day from Cumbria. Coldest game I've ever been to.

I seem to remember an early defensive injury, and Peter Clarke(?) came on. I am sure he was subbed off just after half-time. Juninho was making twats of us in midfield.

Barry Hesketh
39 Posted 04/08/2023 at 22:16:44
Keith @38,

Dave Watson went off after 15 minutes and was replaced by Graham Allan who himself was replaced by Hottiger 20 mins from the end.

Boro Boxing Day

Derek Knox
40 Posted 04/08/2023 at 23:57:33
I used to work alongside Jimmy's cousin, but never actually met him, mind you he was a Redneck Gobshite, (the cousin) but full kudos to Jimmy, wish him all the very best !
Tony Abrahams
41 Posted 05/08/2023 at 07:57:51
Thanks for that link, Barry, because it enables you to go right through the fixture list and it looks like Watson never missed that many games through injury and he even ended up as our caretaker manager before the season had ended.

We regressed very badly with the only positive being the introduction of young Michael Ball towards the end of that horrible season – even though things were about to start getting a whole lot worse.

Peter Moore
42 Posted 05/08/2023 at 10:28:47
"Confessions of The Kitman"
What a superb read that could be. Go on Jimmy, get scribbling!
Danny O’Neill
43 Posted 23/08/2023 at 2023/08/23 : 16:16:43

Watch this.


Total respect.

Drove the team to Wembley 11 times. Drove them to the airport and picked them up from Rotterdam. I don't know whether to smile or cry.

The journey back from Norwich. I don't even know what time I got home.

Fascination tales of the apprentices taking the kit to the laundrette.

Holding a trophy.

His criticism of Eto and telling him this was Everton.

Talking of Harvey and Rooney. 

We talk about servants to the club, but what a servant.

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