Tribute to a beloved Red

Monday 13 May 2024 16:00

Mancunian music lovers – and many Reds – were left stunned in March, when Andy Martin, the landlord of seminal gig venue the Star & Garter, died at the age of just 52.

To outsiders, Manchester is legendary for its major music acts, but many grassroots spaces for live music have fallen away in recent years, amid rising gentrification.
Thanks to Andy, the Star & Garter, near Piccadilly station, remains a defiant exception, providing a vital platform for everything non-mainstream.
Heroically, he even fought off closure threats from Network Rail, when both friends and solicitors insisted he was fighting a losing battle.
A champion of Manchester music, United fan Andy built a legacy gig-goers will forever be grateful for.
“It’s a fantastic live music venue, and that was down to the earthy way Andy ran the place,” explains United fan and gig-goer Anthony Murphy.
“He never brown-nosed anyone – he’d talk to Johnny Marr the same way he’d talk to an ordinary bloke on the street. You could get someone like [Courteeners frontman] Liam Fray turning up and playing an acoustic set on a Saturday night, and nobody would blink an eye. Anywhere else, they’d get mithered to death.
“It’s dealt with all kinds of threats over the years, and survived it brilliantly,” Murphy continues. “And that’s all down to Andy’s tenacity. He had a fantastic sense of humour too. He could bring you to tears of laughter with a one-line observation. He’d do Half Man Half Biscuit covers on open-mic nights and you’d be in stitches. He was great.”
Hailing from north Manchester, Martin was a devoted music man, but he also loved talking United whenever fellow Reds would pop in. One such fan told our matchday programme United Review that Andy would always text them when Liverpool could no longer mathematically win the league.
“He was always happy to talk about United and knew what he was talking about,” states Anthony. “He had a passion for it. Whenever he saw me, or other fans, he’d talk so enthusiastically.”
Enthusiasm is what so many Mancunians feel towards Andy and the venue he steered for more than 20 years. Enthusiasm and, of course, gratitude.
Our condolences go to his many friends and loved ones.