Former Ipswich footballer gets international call-up for the British Virgin Islands
PUBLISHED: 12:36 26 March 2019 | UPDATED: 15:54 26 March 2019
Another Ipswich name has followed in the footsteps of Town legends Terry Butcher, Kevin Beattie, Mick Mills and John Wark by playing at an international level.
Builder Marty Smith, who played for Cranes, Ipswich Athletic and Whitton United during his footballing career has had an international call-up for the British Virgin Islands in the Concacaf Nations League qualifying rounds.
The call-up comes at the grand age of 49 for the veteran goalkeeper.
Marty’s background is more modest than some of the other great Ipswich names who have gone before him.
In Suffolk, he played for Cranes, Whitton United and Ipswich Athletic on Saturdays in the SIL, as well as playing for Sunday side Taverners.
His international experience was limited to the annual Easter friendly tours to Belgium with Taverners.
But his fate changed after he went to work as a builder in the British Virgin Islands in recent years, making him eligible to play for their national side.
Then last week he got the call to pull on his gloves and join the BVI squad in the Concacaf Nations League.
He said: “It has been an fantastic week in Anguilla with the BVI national squad. I got a call on the 15th asking if I was available because of an injury to one of their keepers.
“Of course I didn’t hesitate to say ‘Yes’, we travelled a week ago for two internationals.
“Last Thursday we drew 2-2 with the Turks and Caicos Islands and yesterday we lost to Bonaire (2-1), and I was an unused sub in both games.
“It is amazing.”
The crowds were more modest than you might expect at an international level - around 500 fans watching each game.
Marty had been living in Tortola, the largest of the British Virgin Islands, and working on Richard Branson’s island Moskito helping to build luxury homes.
Like Ipswich, Totrola is a famed maritime and yachting centre.
Its beaches, including Cane Garden Bay and Smuggler’s Cove, offer sparkling white sands.