Martyn Crook was born November 16, 1956 and died December 5, 2008, in Lancaster, California. Martyn was born in Hampton Court, Middlesex, England, the second of four sons of Arthur (b 1920) and the late Elsie (1931-2013)) Crook. Arthur was a former top amateur player for Walton & Hersham FC and Kingstonian FC. The family lived in Shepperton, Middlesex, and emigrated to Australia in August 1964, settling in Adelaide.
As a goalkeeper, he played for Para Hills SC from 1965 until he departed for Adelaide Hellas ten years later, playing in league and cup winning sides throughout his time there. He was a member of the Senior team from 1972. During his time at the club, he represented South Australia at the Under 14’s and Under 16’s level, winning the National Championship in 1972, as well as the Far North Zone from the Under 12 level. He was also a member of the Para Hills Primary School team which won the Referees’s Cup in 1968.
He was a member of the SA League and Ampol Cup winning side at Adelaide Hellas in 1976, before playing for West Adelaide SC, when the National Soccer league commenced in 1977. In 1978 West Adelaide won the Phillips League National championship and Martyn played with the club 192 times before returning to play at Para Hills in 1987.
Martyn represented the Australian national team fourteen times at the national level, and was a member of the Merlion Cup winning side in 1982 which beat South Korea in the final. He also represented SA eight times at a senior level.
In 1990, following his retirement as a player, he became Assistant Coach at Para Hills SC, becoming Head Coach for the 1991 and 1992 seasons. He then moved to coach Polonia (now Croydon) for the 1993 season. In 1992 and 1993 he was the South Australian State Coach as well. In 1994 he became the Head Coach of the South Australian Sports Institute National Training Centre, in 1999 becoming the Technical Director, a position which he held until his death. He was responsible for 31 Youth International & 17 AIS Scholarships passing through SASI NTC during his tenure.
At a national level, he was the Technical Assistant for the Australian national under-17 football team (known as the ‘Joeys’) World Cup team in 1999, Olympic Team Goalkeeper Coach in 2000, and then became Assistant Coach for the Under 17’s from 2000 until 2005 in three separate campaigns in Trinidad, Finland and Peru. In 2007 he was appointed as the Head Coach for the Joeys. In 2006, Martyn was inducted into the FFSA Hall of Fame in the Roll of Honour as a member for Distinguished Contribution.
He died of a suspected heart attack just before the team was scheduled to play the USA Under-17′s in an international junior tournament. He was just 52 years old, In 2010 he was posthumously inducted into the Football Federation Australia &’s Hall of Fame.
Although Martyn will be remembered as a complete professional, dedicated to football. There are many other aspects of Martyn’s life which are not so well-known.
If you live in or near Adelaide, it is just possible that you live in one of scores of homes built by Martyn, his Dad (Arthur) and his younger brother (Rick) before he became a full-time football coach
Martyn was proud to have personally built both homes occupied by him and Julie.
He often said, It’s great after you have travelled, when the plane goes over the hills and you see Adelaide below
The obituary at his funeral sums up Martyn as family man:
Treasured son of Arthur and Elsie
Cherished husband of Julie
Adored father of Andrew, Steven and Joseph
Very proud granddad of Harriet
Loved brother of Graeme, Richard, Barry and their families
Martyn had a sense of humour all of his own. His workmates at the Football Federation remarked on his renditions of any Monty Python skit. Tony Farrugia, then Federation CEO, was once rung up by Martyn, posing as Barney Roper, who could fix the pigeon problem at Hindmarsh Stadium by spraying a special mating fluid. Once, he was rung up by a lady asking for a carpet cleaning service. He not only undertook the job to do the cleaning but when she rang back the next day, claimed to have cleaned the carpets at the wrong house.
As singer and guitarist, Martyn was not perhaps as talented as he thought he was- one funeral notice said, I don’t miss your singing. Be that as it may, Martyn had a very good knowledge of 60’s and 70’s music, and would occasionally surprise his SASI boys by telling them that the latest video hit was, in fact not only older than they were, but sometimes nearly as old as he was. His devotion to The Rolling Stones was remarked on in several funeral notices.
Therapia’s funeral notice spoke of Martyn’s ability at this by no means easy job, for which his wide knowledge of people, places, sports, music and entertainment made him ideally suited.
A batsman and genuinely quick bowler, Martyn might have gone further in cricket, had football not intervened. He captained the Para Districts Cricket Association representative side on several occasions, and in the Para Districts competition, once scored 3 successive hundreds, being denied a 4th only by his captain’s declaration with Martyn on 94. As a golfer in his earlier days, he was so determined to break 80 that he played every day until he did. In recent years he always enjoyed his tennis tussles with his good friend, Rocky Aloisi.
Martyn’s tactical approach to football was carried over into any other kind of game: chess, cards, board games and the like, which he would win more often than not.
Martyn’s travels on behalf of football took him to Japan, Trinidad, Finland, SE Asia, Peru, Chile, even Uzbekistan. Perhaps most of all, though, he enjoyed his occasional trips to the Gold Coast in Queensland with Julie and Joseph.