North Shields, Northumberland born goalkeeper Martin Spendiff began his football career in North East league football with South Shields Athletic, joining North Shields Athletic in 1901 before a move to First Division Grimsby Town in 1902, with his Football League debut coming at Sunderland that September. Initially understudy to Walter Whittaker, he had a run in the first team from the end of January 1903 and ended up playing 9 matches in his debut season, which ended with Grimsby’s relegation. He became their regular goalkeeper the following season, and made 72 appearances for The Mariners before a transfer to Hull City in the summer of 1905.
He was an ever present in Hull City’s first League season, and missed only one more match before being signed by Bradford City in April 1908 after 115 appearances for The Tigers, playing in the last 5 matches of Bradford’s season as they clinched the Second Division Championship. Although a regular the following season as City consolidated their position in the top flight, he lost the gloves to Mark Mellors and appeared only 19 times over the next three seasons, and was not part of The Bantams’ victorious 1911 FA Cup team, before joining Southern League Millwall Athletic in the 1912 close season after 57 appearances for the Valley Parade club. After a season at Millwall he returned to Grimsby Town the following summer, and played both sides of the First World War for Grimsby, making a further 58 appearances and retiring in 1920 after the club were relegated from the Second Division at the end of the 1919-20 season.