Sam Martinez, 106, hopes this is Hibs’ year

Sam Martinez celebrates his birthday with Pat Denzler. Picture: Jane Barlow
Sam Martinez celebrates his birthday with Pat Denzler. Picture: Jane Barlow
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HE is one of Scotland’s oldest men, who enjoys reading his paper in the morning and spending time with his grandchildren.

But Sam Martinez is still one of the city’s most loyal Hibbies, and is hopeful this year that the team will bring home the Scottish Cup for the first time in his life.

Today, Mr Martinez is celebrating his 106th birthday and will party in style this Saturday, when his family throw him a birthday bash at his local pub in Wester Hailes – where more than 60 people are expected to attend.

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Mr Martinez is the oldest member of the Hibs Supporters Club and said he was “over the moon” following the team’s success on Tuesday night in the Edinburgh derby.

His daughter, Carol Martinez, said: “My dad is doing amazing for his age – he is really looking forward to his party in the Hailes pub.

“He still lives by myself and cooks his own meals – he still makes us all pots of soup.

“He doesn’t really go out the house very often any more, but if he does it will be for something to do with Hibs.”

Sam came to Edinburgh from his native Belize to aid the war effort in 1942.

He was one of more than 800 men who travelled by ship to Scotland, where he worked as a forester.

He decided to stay in the Capital, where he had his family of six children.

Shortly after he moved to the city, he stumbled across a crowd of Hibs supporters making their way to Easter Road, while he was on his way back to his hostel.

Mr Martinez told the News previously: “There was this big crowd – at first I thought it was a riot. I got into the queue and a laddie gave me a 
complimentary ticket. I was the only black man in the queue.

“I said I could pay my way and he said ‘No, genuinely, take it’.”

Mr Martinez has been a big Hibs supporter ever since – he attended every match at Easter Road in his younger days and, up until recently, would head to the bookies every morning to put on a bet.

Carol added: “He still has his mind. His passions are football and politics – he loves a debate.

“We want to make a fuss of him since it’s his birthday – he’s like a little celebrity.”

Yesterday, Mr Martinez was treated to an early birthday meal at The Merchants’ Hall in Hanover Street, where he was presented with a cake, given a special lunch and spent time with some of the members of the Merchants Company reminiscing about events in his life.

Pat Denzler, master of the company, said: “It has been a great joy for us at The 
Merchant Company to celebrate Sam’s 106th birthday. He has had a remarkable life, having been through two world wars, and has seen so many changes in the world. We wished him not only a happy birthday but many happy returns.”

courtney.cameron@edinburghnews.com