martin peters - fact file

1970 - 1976            forward


Born on 8th November 1943 in Plaistow, East London, England.

Height :  . m  (5' 11")

Weight :  kg  (11st 10lb)

Martin Peters was a midfield player who made a name for himself with an ability to drift into goal-scoring positions un-noticed, thus earning him his nickname of "The Ghost".  His career started at West Ham United, but it was when he moved to Tottenham that his potential was fully realised.

As a schoolboy, this son of a Thames lighterman's ability was recognised at an early age, although he was a teenage goalkeeper at Fanshawe Primary School, but he was moved to centre forward in the school team and then back to a half back, giving him an appreciation of other positions within the team.  Martin was selected to play for Dagenham, London, Essex and England Boys and when playing for Dagenham Boys, he scored own goals in two successive losing finals.  Peters had moved to Dagenham, but was snapped up by local club West Ham United in 1959 stopping him following his father in a job as a lighterman on the River Thames and he made his debut in 1962, slotting into the team as a wing half, whose duty was to work between the boxes on the flank and work the ball through the midfield to the forward line.  The Irons team of the time was relatively successful compared to teams of other eras of their history.  An FA Cup win in 1964 was followed by victory in the European Cup-Winners Cup in 1965.  Such performances won him representation at England Under-23 level and for the Football League.

While at West Ham, his versatility was demonstrated by playing in many different positions, as required by the manager and in his third game for the club, Peters had to replaced the injured keeper Rhodes and even once started a reserve game as a goalkeeper.  He only suffered one major injury during his time at the Irons, which was a broken leg in training, inflicted by Bobby Moore.

His performances for his club had impressed England manager Sir Alf Ramsey and he was chosen to play in the preparation games for the World Cup Finals of 1966 in England, making his debut in May of that year.  His part in the wingless wonders says much for his discipline, as he was asked to play a different role to the one he was accustomed to at Upton Park, but he played all but the first group game in the finals and went on to score for England in the 1966 World Cup Final win over West Germany (4-2) - only his eighth game for his country.

Following the high of being a World Champion, the next few years at West Ham were barren and Peters grew impatient to win more silverware, thus he asked for a move away from the East London club.  His approach to the game had always been admired by Bill Nicholson and he joined Spurs in March 1970 for a then record fee of 200,000 that included Jimmy Greaves going the other way as part of the deal, as the Tottenham manager moved in quickly to secure a deal.  Many were surprised that Greaves was allowed to leave, but there had been a falling out with Nicholson and the boss felt that the striker was getting towards the end of his marvellous career, so was willing to let him go to get the player he wanted.

Peters made his Spurs debut at home on Good Friday scoring the Tottenham goal in a 1-2 defeat against Coventry City, with a trademark header.  The traditional memory of Peters was the player effortlessly moving in on goal beyond his marker to score unmarked, but there was another side to his game.  While everything he did looked simple, making difficult skill look easy, he also played in such a way that the effort he put into covering defensively almost went unnoticed too.  The hard work he put in when Spurs were defending came as a result of his earlier career at wing-half at West Ham United, but his athleticism made it easy for him to cover large amounts of ground without fans even noticing.

While at Tottenham, it became apparent that his link-up with players like Mullery, Gilzean, Perryman and Chivers was bringing the best out of his game and that some of the abilities of others allowed his skilful and thoughtful approach to flourish.  He was both a creator and a scorer of goals, thus becoming a player that other teams realised they needed to shut out to prevent Tottenham functioning efficiently.

His play with Mullery and Chivers continued at international level and they were a good trio, with the partnership with Chivers effective at club level especially, where they read each others' game well.  Throwing Gilzean into the mix made it an aerial attack that other teams struggled to handle.

The trophies Peters had sought came with a League Cup win in 1971 against Aston Villa and then European success with the UEFA Cup in 1972. The next time a final was won - a second League Cup in 1973 beating Norwich City - it was Peters who was lifting it, as he had replaced the departed Alan Mullery as skipper.  Unfortunately, he did not get the opportunity to raise the UEFA Cup, as Spurs lost the final in 1974. 

Perhaps his greatest game for Tottenham had come in the semi-final of the UEFA Cup in 1973 against Liverpool, who lead 1-0 from the first leg, with the second to be held under the floodlights at White Hart Lane.  Peters gave every ounce of effort to lead his side to the final.  He scored to give Spurs the lead and got a second, but Steve Heighway had scored a vital away goal for the Reds to give them the advantage on aggregate.  This did not stop Peters driving Tottenham forward and he hit the bar as he strove to get the one goal that would have seen Spurs through to a second successive final.  Unfortunately, it didn't come and he was left shattered, standing with his hands on his thighs at the end of the match.

When things started going downhill for the team and Bill Nicholson left as manager, Peters was not in the plans of new boss Terry Neill.  The former Arsenal man changed the team almost out of all recognition and Peters was allowed to leave to join Norwich City for 50,000.  He played there for a season, adding experience to a side who were lacking leadership.  Within a couple of months of signing, he had helped Norwich to gain a promotion place to the old First Division, where he helped the club re-establish itself in the top flight.

He was granted a testimonial on 18th October 1978 against a 1966 England World Cup squad.

In August 1980, he moved on to Sheffield United, then in the Third Division, as a player-coach.  He stayed at Bramall Lane, initially under manager Harry Haslam, but took over as manager there when Haslam could not continue in the post, because of ill-health.  However, after a run of bad results, Peters resigned and returned to Norfolk to play for non-league Gorleston.

His playing career saw him play 882 games and score 220 goals, with a reputation as a player who trained hard and played hard, making him most managers' dream player.  His ability to lose his marker and later in his career to pull the strings from a deeper position made it difficult to know where he would be or what he would do next.

On leaving the game set up a car insurance company with Geoff Hurst called Motor-Plan insurance and subsequently became a non-executive director at Spurs, advising on football matters and as a match-day host, which duty he also carried out at West Ham United.  Peters has an autobiography called "Ghost of '66" and is an after dinner speaker.



MIDDLE NAME :  Stanford

NICKNAME :  "The Ghost"

Career Record
Club Signed Fee Debut Apps Goals
West Ham United (apprentice) May 1959 - ??  - -
West Ham United (professional) November 1960 - 20th April 1962  v  Cardiff City  (Second Division)  ?? ??
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR March 1970 200,000 (incl. Jimmy Greaves) 21st March 1970  v  Coventry City  (First Division)  (home)  lost 1-2  -  scored once 260 76
Norwich City March 1975 50,000 15th March 1975 v Manchester United (First Division) (Away) 232 50
Sheffield United August 1980 ?? ??  ?? ??

Career Record
West Ham United
- League appearances; goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
European appearances; goals
189 League appearances; 46 goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
European appearances; goals
Norwich City
207 League appearances; 44 goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
Other appearances; goals
Sheffield United
- League appearances; goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
Other appearances; goals

England international
67 full caps;  20 goals
?? Under-23 caps; ?? goals
World Cup winners medal 1966
European Cup Winners Cup winners medal 1964-65 (West Ham United)
League Cup winners medal 1970-71, 1972-73 (Tottenham Hotspur)
UEFA Cup winners medal 1971-72 (Tottenham Hotspur)
UEFA Cup runners-up medal 1973-74 (Tottenham Hotspur)
Norwich City Player of the Year 1975-76, 1976-77
Represented the Football League



Lived in Hornchurch.

Married to Kathleen and lived in Hornchurch, with 5 year old daughter Lee Ann and 15 month old son Grant.

Enjoyed his three second half goals against WBA in the League Cup this season.


Lived with his wife Kathleen, 7 year old daughter Lee Ann and 2 year old son Grant in Hornchurch.


Lived in Hornchurch.


Lived in Hornchurch.


Was voted in the Greatest Norwich City team of all time.



What they said about Martin Peters
? ...  .. ()




What Martin Peters said about ...
... his early footballing days ...  1978 (Marshall Cavendish Football Handbook)

"I only really started playing football after my family moved from the East End out to Dagenham, in Essex.  I was about 8 and till then, I was a mad speedway fan.  Because I was on the tall side I got into the school team, but I don't remember receiving much coaching till I went to West Ham.  It was there that I developed my touch."

...taking over from Jimmy Greaves at Spurs ...  21.08.2009 (THFC website)

"I didn't go to Tottenham to try and emulate Jimmy, no-one could, he was a one-off, and it took a little while for me to win the supporters over.  It took a reasonable period for the fans to accept that I wasn't another Jimmy Greaves. There was pressure, of course, but that was mainly because of the 200,000 fee.  Fortunately, I scored after about 10 minutes of the first game I played - although we lost - I then scored in the second game and went on to have a decent run-in to that season."

... joining Spurs ...  21.08.2009 (THFC website)

"I managed to fit in and we had Alan Mullery, a young Steve Perryman, Pat Jennings in goal, Cyril Knowles, Joe Kinnear, Martin Chivers playing out of his skin, Alan Gilzean - we had a great side.  No disrespect to West Ham, but I do believe that Tottenham side was the best side I played in. At West Ham, we didn't have the same consistency, although we won the FA Cup in 1964 and Cup Winners Cup in 1965 and had good success under Ron Greenwood.  When I went to Tottenham, I took what I learned at West Ham and then it was the great Bill Nicholson at Spurs. It was great to work under those two managers."

... ? ...  .. ()





Season League FA Cup League Cup UEFA Cup
1969-70 7 (2 goals) - - -
1970-71 42 (9 goals) 5 (2 goals) 7  (4 goals) -
1971-72 35 (10 goals) 5 (2 goals) 7  (3 goals) 12  (2 goals)
1972-73 41 (15 goals) 3  (1 goal) 3  (1 goal) 8  (3 goals)
1973-74 32 (6 goals) 1 1 8  (7 goals)



For other articles on Martin Peters
By - Justin Carrington
By - -
By - -
Books on Martin Peters
"The Ghost of '66 : The Autobiography" by Martin Peters (Orion) (3rd May 2006)
                                              ISBN-10 :  07528690876                               ISBN-13 : 978-0752869087



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