Player Profile - Martin Filson (13th Jan 1990 - 10th May 2001)
On the 13th of January 1990 a tall slim central defender made his debut for Stalybridge Celtic. Eleven years and four months later, that man now somewhat less slim, made his final appearance for the blues. His career had spanned some of the most exciting seasons for Celtic and he had played a huge part in the success of the club. His name was Martin Filson.

Nobody would call him an elegant defender (not even Martin himself) but he had the heart of a lion and his strength and power would lead to his favourite Celtic nickname the Bear.

January 1990 and Celtic were joint bottom of the HFS Loans Premier League with 23 points from 28 games. Phil Wilson had just been appointed manager and within three weeks he signed Martin. Over the next 14 games Celtic amassed 22 points and safely stayed up. Martin played in most of these games and scored his first goal for the club in their last game at Caernarfon.

Season 1990-91 was eagerly awaited and Celtic started well. Martin had already played 20 games by November 24th but on that day, against South Liverpool at home, he suffered an appalling injury, a break of both tibia and fibula. He was already a favourite and the Reporter called the injury a considerable blow for Celtic. Martin was in hospital for some time and although on crutches for months he was determined to play again that season. It was not to be and even the next season (91-92) the injury was such that he was unable to start the season. Finally on 1st Feb 1992 after 15 months out he came on as substitute in the superb 3-1 FA Trophy win at Harrow. The season was to prove enormously frustrating for Martin who came on as a substitute 7 times but had no starts. Celtic won the league and promotion to the Conference and Martin was a proud member of the squad who were invited by the Mayor of Tameside to a celebration at Ashton town hall.

Martin was fit and ready for our first ever season in the Conference. The huge hero of the previous season had been Chris Camden, the mighty Buffalo who had scored 45 goals and terrorised opposing defences. In our first competitive outing for the HFS Challenge Shield, Martin faced Chris Camden who had left Celtic and joined Marine. It was a tight game and Martin shackled the Buffalo well. The game went to penalties and Martin missed! However, all his colleagues scored and Celtic won 4-2. After so long out of the game many people doubted if Martin would be up to the Conference, but by the fourth league game everyone knew the answer. Against Telford at home in front of 1300 fans he was Man of the Match and scored the equalizer. The season was a great challenge for Celtic who finished mid table. Martin was a star though some of his antics led to his first Celtic nickname Big and Daft.

Celtic fans had got used to the big man but it was time for Martin to move on. Halifax who were full time wanted him and Celtic sold him prior to season 1993-94. It was a disappointing time at Halifax, he found himself on the subs bench and when he did play he was sent off against Slough. Halifax played Celtic in October; in a drawn game Martin apparently stopped a certain Celtic goal. Shortly afterwards Martin was on his way again, this time to Dagenham. Because of the distance it was impossible to travel to Dagenham for training and so Celtic agreed he could train with the Celtic squad.

Celtic fans did not see anything more of Martin for a couple of seasons but in 1996-97 season he returned to Bower Fold with Leek in the FA cup 4th qualifying round. He played as a striker but could not stop the Celtic winning 1-0. Leek did win the Unibond league though and were promoted to the Conference. So, in August of season 1997-98 the two teams met at Bower Fold in the Conference. Martin played but Celtic were rampant that day with Brendan Burke scoring a hat trick in a 6-1 win. Unfortunately the season was a disaster for Celtic who were relegated.

The next season was almost deja vu. Following relegation Celtic were bottom of the Unibond and on October 31st the club appointed Phil Wilson as manager. Just as in season 1989-90 three weeks later on Nov 21st Martin Filson became a player at Bower Fold for the second time. Martin was a huge influence as Celtic moved from bottom to finish in the top half of the table. In his first 8 games back he was named Man of the Match twice against Lancaster & Frickley scoring in both games. A difficult season ended on a high when Celtic won the League cup 2-1 with Martin scoring the equalizer.

Season 1999-00 was to be his penultimate season and it was, to say the least, a mixed season. Martin was never consistently fit and probably played only half the games because of a groin injury. Celtic finished 7th but the season will be remembered for one of the most exciting games ever at Bower Fold and this match (of all his 193) was probably the one in which Martin contributed the most while in a Celtic shirt.

In the FA cup 4th qualifying round Celtic had got a superb draw at Altrincham and then won the replay 2-1. There was horror at Celtic when it was realised that Andy Mason who had scored one of our goals was ineligible. The ineligibility was not deemed by the FA serious enough to award the tie to Altrincham and it was ordered to be replayed at Bower Fold. In front of a crowd of over a 1000 people Celtic were understandably flat and could not raise their game. Altrincham led by the huge tough tackling Paul Ellender bullied Celtic and went into a 2-0 lead at half time. The Bear was not fit but after 48 minutes and with no way back for Celtic based on the balance of play, Phil Wilson sent Martin on as substitute to play as a striker. The description in the Reporter read Enter Martin Filson a giant with the heart of a lion. Suddenly it was Altrincham who were being bullied and Martin headed a goal to give the Celts some hope. With time running out he thumped home a second header to send the game into extra time where a great winner by Winfield Steel sent the Blues into the first round proper.

The next season is possibly our greatest ever. Is it a coincidence that Martin was able to play a full part, making 50 appearances? Much has been written about the amazing treble season where a team with few stars and on a relatively low wage bill but with supreme team spirit carried all before them. The league was the real prize and Martin scored the equalizing goal in the crucial match at Wakefield & Emley where 10 man Celtic came back from a goal down to win 3-2. The match though that epitomises Martin and his character most was the Presidents Cup final at Blyth Spartans. Celtic were playing many matches at the end of a tough season and were struggling to put out a first choice team. Martin was working in London at the time and could not make it to Stalybridge in time to travel up for the night match. But he decided he must be with the lads and paid for his own flight up to Newcastle. After a thrilling match which went to penalties (and Martin missed one) he celebrated with the team before staying in a Newcastle hotel and flying back to London the next morning.

The final match of the season was to be a great celebration as Celtic had already won the league. Martin`s father attended what was to be his son`s final game. Somehow Martin managed to get himself sent off and many supporters were very disappointed for him. However the end of the game saw an ecstatic Martin celebrating with the cup, his team mates and the fans, and any disappointment was forgotten. He still had a great day to cap an amazing season and a great non-league career.
Written by Nigel Mason

25th Jun 1968
Last App
5th May 2001
Last Goal
28th Apr 2001
As Sub
Subbed off
Red Cards
Yellow Cards
267 / 423
Average Points
Total Pitch Time
11190 mins
Date Opposition Competition Season H/A Score Lineups Goals Assists R Y Sub
Sat 05 May 2001BurscoughNorthern Premier2000/2001H0-2      
Tue 01 May 2001DroylsdenNorthern Premier2000/2001A0-1      
Sat 28 April 2001Wakefield EmleyNorthern Premier2000/2001A2-3     
Tue 24 April 2001Blyth SpartansPresidents Cup2000/2001A5-6      
Wed 18 April 2001Blyth SpartansNorthern Premier2000/2001H2-0      
Mon 16 April 2001Runcorn FC HaltonNorthern Premier2000/2001A2-1      
Tue 10 April 2001Blyth SpartansNorthern Premier2000/2001A1-2     
Mon 02 April 2001Stockport CountyCheshire Senior Cup2000/2001A1-5      
Tue 27 March 2001Leek TownNorthern Premier2000/2001H1-2      
Fri 23 March 2001Bamber BridgeNorthern Premier2000/2001A0-2      
Tue 13 March 2001Worksop TownNorthern Premier2000/2001A1-1      
Sat 10 March 2001Frickley AthleticNorthern Premier2000/2001A0-0      
Tue 06 March 2001Hucknall TownNorthern Premier2000/2001H1-0      
Tue 27 February 2001BarrowNorthern Premier2000/2001A0-0      
Sat 24 February 2001AltrinchamNorthern Premier2000/2001H1-0      
Tue 06 February 2001Congleton TownUnibond Cup2000/2001A1-3      
Sat 03 February 2001Accrington StanleyNorthern Premier2000/2001H4-0     
Sat 27 January 2001GatesheadNorthern Premier2000/2001H2-1      
Mon 22 January 2001Hyde UnitedCheshire Senior Cup2000/2001A1-4      
Tue 09 January 2001Runcorn FC HaltonNorthern Premier2000/2001H3-1      
Sat 06 January 2001BarrowNorthern Premier2000/2001H1-0      
Tue 26 December 2000Hyde UnitedNorthern Premier2000/2001A1-2      
Sat 23 December 2000Frickley AthleticNorthern Premier2000/2001H3-0     Off @60mins
Sat 02 December 2000Witton AlbionFA Trophy2000/2001H2-0      
Sat 25 November 2000Wakefield EmleyNorthern Premier2000/2001H4-2      
Tue 21 November 2000Witton AlbionCheshire Senior Cup2000/2001A1-2      
Sat 18 November 2000Leek TownNorthern Premier2000/2001A0-2      
Sat 11 November 2000Bamber BridgeNorthern Premier2000/2001H3-0      
Tue 24 October 2000Worksop TownNorthern Premier2000/2001H1-0      
Sat 21 October 2000Gainsborough TrinityNorthern Premier2000/2001H7-1      
Sat 14 October 2000Billingham TownFA Cup2000/2001H1-1      
Fri 06 October 2000Lancaster CityNorthern Premier2000/2001H5-0     Off @60mins
Tue 03 October 2000AltrinchamNorthern Premier2000/2001A0-0      
Sat 30 September 2000Blyth SpartansFA Cup2000/2001H2-0      
Sat 23 September 2000Accrington StanleyNorthern Premier2000/2001A1-4      
Tue 12 September 2000Gainsborough TrinityNorthern Premier2000/2001A0-0      
Sat 09 September 2000Bishop AucklandNorthern Premier2000/2001H2-0      
Tue 05 September 2000DroylsdenNorthern Premier2000/2001H4-1      
Sat 02 September 2000GatesheadNorthern Premier2000/2001A2-2      
Mon 28 August 2000Whitby TownNorthern Premier2000/2001H1-1      
Sat 26 August 2000MarineNorthern Premier2000/2001A0-3      
Sat 01 April 2000BarrowNorthern Premier1999/2000H3-1    On @60mins
Sat 25 March 2000Runcorn FC HaltonNorthern Premier1999/2000A0-0     On @60mins
Sat 18 March 2000Frickley AthleticNorthern Premier1999/2000H2-3    On @60mins
Tue 18 January 2000Leigh GenesisNorthern Premier1999/2000H1-3     On @60mins
Mon 03 January 2000Hyde UnitedNorthern Premier1999/2000H3-1     On @60mins
Mon 27 December 1999Hyde UnitedNorthern Premier1999/2000A1-0      
Sat 11 December 1999Blyth SpartansNorthern Premier1999/2000A1-4      
Tue 30 November 1999Gainsborough TrinityFA Trophy1999/2000A1-3    Off @60mins
Sat 27 November 1999Gainsborough TrinityFA Trophy1999/2000H1-1      
Sat 20 November 1999Chester FCFA Cup1999/2000H1-2     On @60mins
Tue 16 November 1999Warrington TownCheshire Senior Cup1999/2000H2-0      
Sat 13 November 1999Spennymoor UnitedNorthern Premier1999/2000H1-0      
Tue 09 November 1999Merthyr TydfilFA Cup1999/2000H3-1     On @60mins
Tue 02 November 1999Merthyr TydfilFA Cup1999/2000A2-2     On @60mins
Sat 23 October 1999Whitby TownNorthern Premier1999/2000A1-0     On @60mins
Sat 16 October 1999AltrinchamFA Cup1999/2000A0-0     On @60mins
Sat 02 October 1999Farsley CelticFA Cup1999/2000H4-2     On @60mins
Sat 11 September 1999GatesheadNorthern Premier1999/2000H1-0    On @60mins
Tue 07 September 1999Worksop TownNorthern Premier1999/2000A2-1     On @60mins
Mon 30 August 1999Colwyn BayNorthern Premier1999/2000A0-0      
Sat 07 August 1999AltrinchamLeague Challenge Shield1999/2000A2-0      
Tue 27 April 1999GuiseleyLeague Cup1998/1999H2-1     
Sat 24 April 1999Winsford UnitedNorthern Premier1998/1999A1-2      
Tue 20 April 1999Colwyn BayNorthern Premier1998/1999H1-0      
Thu 15 April 1999Hucknall TownLeague Cup1998/1999A1-2      
Tue 13 April 1999Hucknall TownLeague Cup1998/1999H1-1     
Sat 10 April 1999Blyth SpartansNorthern Premier1998/1999H4-0      
Thu 01 April 1999DroylsdenPresidents Cup1998/1999H2-3      
Tue 30 March 1999AltrinchamNorthern Premier1998/1999H3-1      
Sat 27 March 1999Whitby TownNorthern Premier1998/1999A4-1      
Tue 23 March 1999DroylsdenPresidents Cup1998/1999A1-1      
Sat 20 March 1999Wakefield EmleyNorthern Premier1998/1999H2-0      
Tue 16 March 1999BurscoughLeague Cup1998/1999H5-2      
Sat 13 March 1999MarineNorthern Premier1998/1999H2-1      
Sat 06 February 1999Leigh GenesisNorthern Premier1998/1999H4-4      
Tue 02 February 1999Witton AlbionLeague Cup1998/1999H4-1    Off @60mins
Sat 30 January 1999Frickley AthleticNorthern Premier1998/1999A3-2      
Sat 16 January 1999Hinckley UnitedFA Trophy1998/1999H0-3      
Sat 09 January 1999MarineNorthern Premier1998/1999A2-2      
Fri 01 January 1999Hyde UnitedNorthern Premier1998/1999H2-1      
Mon 28 December 1998Frickley AthleticNorthern Premier1998/1999H2-2     
Sat 26 December 1998Hyde UnitedNorthern Premier1998/1999A1-1      
Tue 22 December 1998Gainsborough TrinityPresidents Cup1998/1999H2-1      
Sat 19 December 1998Lancaster CityNorthern Premier1998/1999H3-1     
Sat 12 December 1998AltrinchamNorthern Premier1998/1999A2-1      
Wed 09 December 1998Gainsborough TrinityPresidents Cup1998/1999A2-2      
Sat 28 November 1998Gainsborough TrinityNorthern Premier1998/1999A1-4      
Sat 21 November 1998TamworthFA Trophy1998/1999A1-3      
Sat 14 November 1998ChorleyNorthern Premier1998/1999A2-1      
Sat 07 November 1998Bishop AucklandNorthern Premier1998/1999H3-1    Off @60mins
Tue 03 November 1998AltrinchamLeague Cup1998/1999H1-0      
Mon 12 April 1993GatesheadConference Premier1992/1993H2-1     Off @60mins
Sat 10 April 1993Macclesfield FCConference Premier1992/1993A1-0      
Tue 06 April 1993Farnborough TownConference Premier1992/1993H2-0     Off @60mins
Sat 03 April 1993Kettering TownConference Premier1992/1993A2-0      
Sat 27 March 1993AltrinchamConference Premier1992/1993H1-0      
Wed 24 March 1993Winsford UnitedCheshire Senior Cup1992/1993A1-0      
Sat 20 March 1993Macclesfield FCConference Premier1992/1993H2-1      
Sat 13 March 1993Yeovil TownConference Premier1992/1993A1-1      
Tue 09 March 1993AltrinchamConference Premier1992/1993A0-0      
Sat 27 February 1993Stafford RangersConference Premier1992/1993H1-0      
Tue 16 February 1993Runcorn FC HaltonCheshire Senior Cup1992/1993A0-1      
Sat 13 February 1993Kidderminster HarriersConference Premier1992/1993H2-2      
Sat 06 February 1993Slough TownConference Premier1992/1993A2-3      
Tue 02 February 1993Merthyr TydfilFA Trophy1992/1993A1-0     On @60mins
Sat 23 January 1993Wycombe WanderersConference Premier1992/1993H2-2     On @60mins
Tue 19 January 1993Runcorn FC HaltonCheshire Senior Cup1992/1993H0-0     Off @60mins
Sat 09 January 1993Accrington StanleyFA Trophy1992/1993H2-0      
Sat 02 January 1993Northwich VictoriaConference Premier1992/1993H0-6      
Mon 28 December 1992GatesheadConference Premier1992/1993A0-0      
Sat 19 December 1992Bath CityConference Premier1992/1993A1-1      
Sat 12 December 1992Dagenham RedbridgeConference Premier1992/1993H0-3      
Sat 05 December 1992Dagenham RedbridgeConference Premier1992/1993A1-2      
Tue 01 December 1992AFC TelfordConference Premier1992/1993A0-2      
Sat 28 November 1992Yeovil TownConference Premier1992/1993H1-1      
Tue 24 November 1992Colwyn BayCheshire Senior Cup1992/1993H1-0     On @60mins
Sat 21 November 1992Kidderminster HarriersConference Premier1992/1993A2-1     Off @60mins
Tue 17 November 1992Runcorn FC HaltonConference Premier1992/1993H0-0      
Sat 14 November 1992Boston UnitedConference Premier1992/1993A1-1      
Sat 07 November 1992Slough TownConference Premier1992/1993H0-0      
Sat 31 October 1992Farnborough TownConference Premier1992/1993A1-2     
Sat 24 October 1992Boston UnitedConference Premier1992/1993H2-1      
Tue 13 October 1992Runcorn FC HaltonConference Premier1992/1993A2-1     Off @60mins
Sat 10 October 1992Accrington StanleyFA Cup1992/1993H1-2     Off @60mins
Sat 03 October 1992Wycombe WanderersConference Premier1992/1993A4-0      
Tue 29 September 1992Northwich VictoriaConference Premier1992/1993A1-3      
Sat 26 September 1992Warrington TownFA Cup1992/1993A0-3     
Sat 19 September 1992Merthyr TydfilConference Premier1992/1993H2-2      
Tue 15 September 1992Witton AlbionConference Premier1992/1993A2-0      
Sat 12 September 1992Stocksbridge Park SteelsFA Cup1992/1993A0-4     Off @60mins
Tue 08 September 1992Kidderminster HarriersLeague Cup1992/1993H1-1      
Sat 05 September 1992Welling UnitedConference Premier1992/1993A1-4      
Mon 31 August 1992AFC TelfordConference Premier1992/1993H3-3     
Sat 29 August 1992WokingConference Premier1992/1993H3-0      
Tue 25 August 1992Stafford RangersConference Premier1992/1993A0-0      
Sat 22 August 1992Bath CityConference Premier1992/1993H1-1      
Sat 15 August 1992MarineLeague Challenge Shield1992/1993H6-4      
Sat 22 February 1992Witton AlbionFA Trophy1991/1992A1-0     On @60mins
Tue 18 February 1992Goole TownNorthern Premier1991/1992H7-0     On @60mins
Sat 01 February 1992Harrow TownFA Trophy1991/1992A1-3     On @60mins