Harrogate Town's Aaron Martin out to boater his meteoric slope on the Wembley stage
After ending 2017/18 at Northern Premier League Division One South facet Sheffield FC, a 25-goal season at Brighouse earned a summer 2019 jettison to Conference North Guiseley.
Seventeen goals in 23 games gave the centre-forward the befall to turn full-time with Harrogate Town at the age of 28, only for the season to be abandoned midpoint the moment the ink dried on his contract.
Fortunately, the play-offs hold gone ahead, so tomorrow Martin consign be at Wembley playing Notts County for the rectify to become a Football League entertainer while his individual is hoping their daughter does not set about an early maw into the world.
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This fantastic story is lawful waiting for a cheery ending.
“As soon as I got the take to Harrogate one of my friends was extremely excited,” says Martin, who tainted 29 in July.
“Once he found out we were going to be in the play-offs, he uttered to me limp away: ‘If you don’t notch in the best merriment (back) it’s definitely written for you to nick in the final.’”
Just joining was nerve-wracking. The disburden happened days before non-league football went into coronavirus hibernation.
“We were waiting for the paperwork to come through on the Friday and Harrogate had a merriment condemn Solihull I was meant to aspect in,” recalls Martin.
“The employer [Simon Weaver] was receipt all sorts of phonecalls about covid, the sport might be in distrust [it was abandoned]. The EFL was cancelled and I concept the unload was going to decline through.
“I signed and there was an fault on the paperwork so that weekend I couldn’t sleep! We had to wait until Monday for it to be changed – an extra two days to cancel! I thought, ‘They’re going to withdraw!’”
Four months on, Sheffield-born Martin made his debut in last Saturday’s play-off semi-final win over Boreham Wood.
“In terms of football I wouldn’t speak I’ve got to recognize the players properly,” he admits.
“We didn’t posses a kindly before the semi-final so things are slightly different when you’re playing 11-a-side for the prime time.”
Martin, who played in Sheffield United and Barnsley’s academies, abstraction full-time football had passed him by.
“I had a period where I didn’t show for a few years and I fondle refreshed,” he says.
“Some folks theatre consistently for a enthusiasm circumstance and it starts to weather them. But union teams always go for younger players from non-league.
“I’ve always been a goodly believer that if you gouge goals folks retain to look at you. The other you’re scoring, the additional managers entrust say, ‘We’ve got to move a look or more teams might grasp him’.”
Of his circumstance out of the game, all he wants to chat is “it definitely made me hungrier. I missed it.”
Juggling working as a scaffolder at Brighouse, then an electrical wholesaler enunciation driver at Guiseley, added to his hunger.
“Part-time football is not for the weak-hearted,” he insists. “Sometimes I’d be that tired Brighouse would grant me a week or two off training.”
“Things retain been moral to me time-wise, the decisions I’ve made,” he reflects.
“Before I went to Guiseley I had Evo Stick Premier clubs reverberation me, one or two in National North. If I’d made a irony (to step up) too early, it might not keep worked out.
“Guiseley were entire for me. They were eager to secure me in and they tame not too far from where I lived.
“It’s been moral being able to spend a stack of situation with my son in lockdown. I would retain missed watching him learn recent things and seeing how he progresses if I was working. Where I worked, a mass of family worked through.”
Win tomorrow and Harrogate cede become Football League debutants on September 12, but victory would see County restored as the world’s oldest band club.
“A pile of players are fairly well-versed in football, they recognize all about players and transfers but I’m not really someone who looks into it,” says Martin.
Not that he is oblivious to what he bequeath be on the edge of during his Wembley debut.
“I’m remarkably excited, especially by the dormant of what could transpire if we win,” he says.
“I posses butterflies in the coalmine of my stomach. It’s scary to visualize about losing and how it would feel.”
“I’ve got a daughter due in a pair of weeks so my partner’s a bit worried because she feels like the adolescent might come early,” he reveals.
“She’s trembling I might be at Wembley and she might own to donate birth on her own.”