Scotland

The 102-year-old Hibs fan from Belize

Image caption Sam Martinez has been a Hibs fan since arriving in Edinburgh after the war

Sam Martinez has been a Hibernian supporter for almost 70 years and has never seen them lift the Scottish Cup.

In fact, the last time they won the trophy was in 1902, eight years before 102-year-old Mr Martinez was born, in the central American country of Belize.

Mr Martinez will not be at Hampden when his team plays Hearts in the all-Edinburgh cup final on Saturday because he stopped going to games in his 90s.

But he will be watching on TV in his local supporters' club.

And he is praying Hibs can win the cup at their ninth attempt during his lifetime.

Mr Martinez came to Scotland in 1942 to work as a lumberjack.

He was one of a group of 800 volunteers who took on forestry work in the Highlands.

After the war he moved to a hostel in Edinburgh.

"My very first month in Edinburgh I was walking down York Place and a crowd of people were coming down the road," he told BBC Scotland.

Media captionSam Martinez has been a Hibs fan since arriving in Edinburgh after the war

When he asked he was told there was a football match at Easter Road.

He joined the queue and someone gave him a free ticket

Mr Martinez said: "I thought he was taking the mickey out of me, being the only black man in the queue."

But he took the ticket and enjoyed the game so much he has remained a supporter ever since.

The early days of Mr Martinez's support coincided with the most success period in the club's history

Hibs won the league three times in the five years up to 1952, with the help of the players who have become known as the Famous Five - Gordon Smith, Eddie Turnbull, Lawrie Reilly, Bobby Johnstone and Willie Ormond.

There have been few major successes in recent years but Mr Martinez said the club had always been friendly and treated him well.

"They are really good to me there," he said.

"I can't desire any better.

"On my 100th birthday they gave me the hall for free. I had more than 300 guests there.

"They still invite me for my Christmas dinner. I am very happy in Edinburgh. There is absolutely no obstacle, no danger. Life is just wonderful."

Mr Martinez will be reading a poem as part of Poetry 2012 - The Written World on Saturday 19 May at 0958.

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