Now it’s Wend it like Beckham...
THIS summer Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Wendy Martin made her acting debut but, rather than get stage fright, revealed she now feels more at home at London’s Phoenix Theatre than on the pitch.
Hit film Bend It Like Beckham has been adapted for the stage and, in order to put on a production fit for the west end, Martin was approached 12 months ago to sort the wheat from the chaff at the audition stage.
It was then revealed to the 33year-old that a professional would be required to perform in front of the 1,012-capacity crowd each night and Martin jumped at the chance to sign up.
She shares acting duties with team-mate Shannon Moloney, Amy Bradley from the development team and former Spurs star Robyn McEvoy.
But, rather than being a bag of nerves as she steps out of her comfort zone, Martin loves her new occupation.
“I’ve never done anything like it. I can’t sing and I can’t dance, but I get more nervous when I go out on the pitch,” said the former Chelsea star.
“I think it’s because the whole cast and crew are so supportive. I love it. It’s completely different to anything I have ever done before, everyone is very friendly.
“A year ago I got involved with the auditions and then was working alongside the choreographer on how to present football on a stage, working on common movements, etc.
“Once they started casting they said there was a role for a professional and asked if I wanted to get involved.
“There are eight shows a week and four players who rotate the role.
“I don’t have a speaking part, but I do a few touches and skills in a big opening scene and then pop up later and mime along.
“A few of the girls have learned some skills and have developed a nice touch – they’ve been putting the practice in.
“Some of them came to train with us at Hotspur Way and I think they loved it.”
In Martin’s less comfortable surroundings, Spurs have made an encouraging start to their campaign.
An unbeaten pre-season, which included matches with Women’s Super League clubs London Bees and Arsenal, has been followed by two wins from their opening three games in all competitions.
This included a 2-1 win over QPR at their new home pitch at Cheshunt FC and Martin says the ultimate ambition is to achieve promotion from the Premier League Southern Division and reach the WSL.
“The club has been very supportive this season and at the moment things are going well,” Martin added.
“It’s a brilliant pitch at Cheshunt, which suits us because we like to get the ball down and move it around quickly.
“We are looking to reach the WSL and we’re bringing in new staff to take on a more scientific approach – making sure we do our pre-hab activities, for example, and looking at small gains we can make to improve our performances.”
BLEND IT LIKE BECKHAM: The cast in Tottenham white and the Spurs team in purple PUTTING IN THE PRATICE: Cast member Kirstie Skivington hits a free-kick under the watchful eye of Tottenham’s Nacer Chadli and Jan Vertonghen Insets: Wendy Martin, top, and BendItLikeBeckham stars Natalie Dew and Lauren Samuels, bottom