Former Ħamrun Spartans player Martin Attard passed away, the Premier League club announced.
“The Executive Committee of Hamrun Spartans FC sends its condolences to the Attard family for the loss of our former player Martin Attard,” Ħamrun Spartans said in a statement.
Martin Attard was one of seven siblings who throughout the career donned the shirt of Ħamrun Spartans. The others were Pawlu, Sunny, Patistu, Cristinu and Ninu.
Attard was the most talented of the family. A classic half-back, he dominated the penalty area with his clever positional play and clean tackling.
Born on August 28, 1938 in Rabat, together with his brothers, he played football in the streets and empty spaces of his home town before joining Qormi Youngsters in 1956.
Martin stayed with Qormi for two seasons. He played regularly in the Minor and Reserve League but he never featured in the Third Division. His performances in the junior league, however, were not missed and to his surprise he was approached by Marsa FC in the summer of 1958 and offered a contract.
Marsa had just won promotion to the First Division. Therefore, the prospect of playing in the top division was too great for the youngster to ignore.
After being tried in the reserves against Żebbuġ Rangers in a game which Marsa won 6-2, Martin made his First Division debut on October 12, 1958 in the 4-1 victory against Rabat.
Martin had an excellent first season with Marsa and now all eyes were on him. It was inevitable that the other clubs would show interest in the future of this up-and-coming midfielder.
It was, therefore, no surprise when after two years with Marsa, during which he played 27 league matches, he moved to Ħamrun Spartans.
Martin played his first game for the Reds in November 1960 against Sliema Wanderers. He went on to make 116 appearances for the Spartans before he retired in 1969.
With Ħamrun, Martin dropped back from midfield into the heart of the defence.
It was a shrewd move which turned him into one of the best centre-halves on the island.
He received lucrative offers from Floriana, Sliema and Valletta but stood loyal to his club up to the end of his career.
Martin Attard was capped by Malta B, the MFA League XI, and the MFA XI. These, however, were meagre rewards for a player of his calibre.