Russell Martin (footballer)

Russell Kenneth Alexander Martin (born 4 January 1986) is a professional football coach and former player. He is the head coach of Championship club Swansea City.

Russell Martin
RussellMartin.jpg
Martin in 2012
Personal information
Full name Russell Kenneth Alexander Martin[1]
Date of birth (1986-01-04) 4 January 1986 (age 35)[2]
Place of birth Brighton, England
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)[2]
Position(s) Defender
Club information
Current team
Swansea City (head coach)
Youth career
2003–2004 Brighton & Hove Albion
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2004 Lewes
2004–2008 Wycombe Wanderers 116 (5)
2008–2010 Peterborough United 56 (1)
2009–2010Norwich City (loan) 6 (0)
2010–2018 Norwich City 284 (16)
2018Rangers (loan) 15 (1)
2018–2019 Walsall 8 (0)
2019 Milton Keynes Dons 24 (2)
Total 509 (25)
National team
2011–2017 Scotland 29 (0)
Teams managed
2019–2021 Milton Keynes Dons
2021– Swansea City
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Martin was born in Brighton, England. A former defender, he began his playing career at Brighton & Hove Albion's youth academy. He established himself at Wycombe Wanderers in 2004, before moving to Peterborough United in 2008. Martin joined Norwich City in 2010 following a successful loan spell, and subsequently made 309 appearances for the club in all competitions, winning two Premier League promotions. He then had brief spells with Rangers and Walsall.

Although born in England, Martin is a former Scotland international. He played in 29 internationals for Scotland between 2011 and 2017. Martin finished his playing career at Milton Keynes Dons in 2019, and became the club's manager the same year. He was appointed head coach of Swansea City in 2021.

Club careerEdit

Early careerEdit

Born in Brighton, East Sussex,[2] Martin was educated at Varndean School, Brighton.[3] He joined Brighton & Hove Albion's youth academy before leaving by mutual consent in early 2004 to join Isthmian League Division One South side Lewes.[4] He then had trials with several clubs, including Charlton Athletic.[4][5]

Martin joined Wycombe Wanderers in 2004.[5] He made his debut in a 2–1 home victory over Cambridge United on 7 August 2004, then went on to make ten more appearances during the 2004–05 season.[6] Ahead of the 2006–07 season, Martin signed a new two-year contract with the club.[7] In the following season, he played in the League Two semi-final against Stockport County, which Wycombe lost 2–1 on aggregate.[8]

On 29 May 2008, Martin moved to Peterborough United, who had just been promoted to League One. He signed a three-year contract.[9] Martin became the club's youngest ever captain after taking over from Craig Morgan.[10][11] In his first season at Peterborough, Martin captained the club to gain promotion to the Championship.[11][12]

Norwich CityEdit

Following Mark Cooper's appointment as a replacement for Darren Ferguson in November 2009, Martin joined Norwich City on loan.[13] On 4 January 2010, his transfer was made permanent and he joined Norwich on a 2+12-year contract.[14] Martin scored his first goal for Norwich in the 3–1 defeat to Doncaster Rovers, with a diving header on 14 September 2010.[15] He scored the only goal in a 1–0 victory over Championship league leaders Queens Park Rangers on 1 January 2011,[16] and a last-minute equaliser against Cardiff City, leading fans to dub him "the Cafu of the Championship"[17] or "the Norfolk Cafu",[18] in honour of Cafu. On 7 May 2011, he was the runner up for the Norwich City Player of the Year award to winner Grant Holt, in a season where he played every minute of each game.[19]

After an impressive first season in the Premier League with Norwich, filling in well at centre back during some games, Martin signed a new three-year deal in June 2012.[20] On 29 December 2012, Martin scored two goals against Manchester City in a 4–3 home defeat.[21] On 9 July 2013, Martin agreed a new three-year deal with the club.[22] On 10 August 2013, he was officially named the club captain.[23] In a 2013 interview, Martin revealed his desire to take up management after the end of his playing career, stating, "I would eventually love to come and manage Norwich."[24]

On 22 November 2014, Martin made his 200th appearance for Norwich against his hometown club Brighton & Hove Albion.[25] He scored Norwich's second goal in a 3–3 draw.[26] Norwich were promoted to the Premier League in the 2014–15 season via the playoffs, a year after their relegation,[27] but were relegated again after just one season back in the top division.[28] Martin made his 300th appearance for Norwich on 21 April 2017, in a 2–0 win against Brighton & Hove Albion.[29] He signed a new contract with Norwich in July 2017,[30] but then had few first team appearances during the 2017–18 season.[31]

Rangers (loan)Edit

In January 2018, Martin moved on loan to Scottish Premiership club Rangers.[31] He made his competitive debut for the club on 24 January, in a 2–0 win against Aberdeen.[32] Martin was one of four players to make their first appearance for Rangers in that game.[32] He scored his first (and only) goal for Rangers in a 2–0 win against Hearts on 24 February 2018.[33]

Following his loan with Rangers, Martin left Norwich City on 31 August 2018 after his contract was terminated by mutual consent.[34] He made 309 appearances for Norwich, placing him 22nd in the club's all-time appearance list.[34]

Final years and retirementEdit

Martin signed for League One club Walsall in October 2018 in a player-coach role.[35] He left by mutual consent in January 2019, for family reasons, having made twelve appearances for the club.[36]

On 15 January 2019, Martin joined League Two club Milton Keynes Dons on a short-term deal until the end of the season,[37] and played a key role in the club clinching promotion on the final day of the season.[38] Following the departure of manager Paul Tisdale on 2 November 2019, Martin was appointed as his successor in his first managerial position the following day and later announced his retirement as a player to concentrate on the role.[39]

International careerEdit

Martin, who was born in England, qualifies to play for Scotland through his Scottish father.[18] On 17 May 2011, he was named in the Scotland squad for the Nations Cup games against Wales and the Republic of Ireland,[40] making his debut as a late substitute against Wales. Martin remarked before a game against Croatia in June 2013 that he was not recognised by Scottish taxi drivers transporting him for Scotland matches.[41] Martin made his first competitive appearance for Scotland in that match against Croatia,[41] which Scotland won 1–0 with then Norwich City teammate Robert Snodgrass scoring the only goal.[42]

Managerial careerEdit

Milton Keynes DonsEdit

On 3 November 2019, following the departure of manager Paul Tisdale, Martin was announced as the new permanent first-team manager of League One club Milton Keynes Dons – the club he had joined as a player earlier in the year.[43] Following his appointment, the club finished 19th in League One, with the season finishing prematurely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[44] In his first full season as manager, Martin led the club to 13th in the league.[45]

Martin, alongside assistant Luke Williams, installed a possession-based style of play at the club which received widespread plaudits.[46] On 2 March 2021, Martin's side scored after a 56-pass move, a new British record at the time.[47] At the culmination of the 2020–21 season, only Manchester City and Barcelona had a higher average possession percentage in Europe than Martin's MK Dons.[47][48] His team also had the most touches in the opposition box in League One.[49] Defender Zak Jules commented on Martin's style of play, stating: "The way we play, we almost demoralise teams. We keep the ball so much that when teams do get the chance to keep possession – they’ve got no legs and, within no time, we’ve got the ball back and they don’t see the ball again for a while."[46]

On 31 July 2021, MK Dons released a statement confirming that Championship club Swansea City had requested to speak to Martin about him becoming their new manager.[50] The approach was made less than 24 hours before MK Dons' first competitive match of the 2021–22 season, an EFL Cup game against AFC Bournemouth.[50]

Swansea CityEdit

On 1 August 2021, Martin was named head coach of Swansea City, signing a three-year contract.[51] He was appointed six days before the first game of the 2021–22 Championship season.[51] He was joined by his assistants Luke Williams, Matthew Gill, and Dean Thornton.[51] Swansea coach Alan Tate opined that Martin's "passing style" made him a good fit for the club.[52] In his first interview, Martin said, "I know the fanbase and what they expect in terms of the modern Swansea Way, that started under Roberto Martínez and continued under Brendan Rodgers and Michael Laudrup. We, as a coaching team, are very much aligned with that. It excites me."[53]

His first game in charge was a 2–1 away loss to Blackburn Rovers, which was followed by a 3–0 away win against Reading in the EFL Cup.[54][55] Martin's first home game was a 0–0 draw with Sheffield United at the Swansea.com Stadium.[56] On 20 August, Martin won his first league game as Swansea beat Bristol City 1–0.[57]

Managerial styleEdit

"I played in teams who were dominant with the ball and loved it. I also played in teams who didn’t have much of the ball and hated it. My style is probably shaped by that and the teams I’ve enjoyed watching play football like Barcelona, Manchester City and Spain. I’ve tried to replicate that at the level I’m at and with the players I’ve had. If I didn’t do that, I probably wouldn’t have gone into coaching or management."

—Martin on his coaching philosophy, 2021.[58]

Martin began studying for his coaching badges at age 22, and studied for his UEFA Pro Licence at the Scottish FA in 2019.[59][60] His managerial style has been influenced by such managers as Chris Hughton, Daniel Farke, and Pep Guardiola.[47] Inspired by Guardiola's Barcelona and Manchester City teams, Martin prefers his teams to dominate ball possession.[47] Tactically, he prefers the 3–4–2–1 or 3–5–2 formations, with an emphasis on passing the ball and pressing the opposition.[47][61] If his teams suffer a bad result, Martin prefers to improve his game plan, rather than changing the style of play.[62]

After his MK Dons side scored a record-breaking 56-pass goal, Martin said, "People still react to that and say it’s boring, but everyone has a different opinion...the more we have the ball, the more we can control the game and take the fight out of opposition teams. It’s a 90-minute game plan to try and dominate the ball."[58]

Personal lifeEdit

Martin established a charitable foundation in his hometown of Brighton, initially set up as a football academy, named the Russell Martin Foundation.[63] The charity aims to use "the power of football to help change people’s lives" by providing access to football, education, and health courses in the local community.[63] Martin has been a vegan since 2014, initially for health reasons as he sought to manage issues with ulcerative colitis.[64] He is also a part-owner of Erpingham House, the largest vegan restaurant in the UK.[65] In a 2018 interview, he stated that he had joined the Green Party of England and Wales.[65] He is also a proponent of Buddhism.[49]

Career statisticsEdit

ClubEdit

Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League FA Cup League Cup Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Wycombe Wanderers 2004–05[66] League Two 7 0 1 0 0 0 3[a] 0 11 0
2005–06[67] League Two 23 3 1 0 0 0 5[b] 0 29 3
2006–07[68] League Two 42 2 2 0 7 0 2[a] 0 53 2
2007–08[69] League Two 44 0 1 0 1 0 3[c] 0 49 0
Total 116 5 5 0 8 0 13 0 142 5
Peterborough United 2008–09[70] League One 46 1 4 0 1 0 1[a] 0 52 1
2009–10[71] Championship 10 0 4 0 14 0
Total 56 1 4 0 5 0 1 0 66 1
Norwich City 2009–10[71] League One 26 0 0 0 1[a] 0 27 0
2010–11[72] Championship 46 5 1 0 2 0 49 5
2011–12[73] Premier League 33 2 3 0 1 0 37 2
2012–13[74] Premier League 31 3 2 0 1 0 34 3
2013–14[75] Premier League 31 0 2 0 2 0 35 0
2014–15[76] Championship 45 2 0 0 1 0 3[d] 0 49 2
2015–16[77] Premier League 30 3 1 0 0 0 31 3
2016–17[78] Championship 37 1 2 0 1 1 40 2
2017–18[79] Championship 5 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 7 0
2018–19[80] Championship 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 284 16 11 0 9 1 4 0 308 17
Rangers (loan) 2017–18[79] Scottish Premiership 15 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 17 1
Walsall 2018–19[80] League One 8 0 3 0 0 0 1 0 12 0
Milton Keynes Dons 2018–19[80] League Two 18 1 18 1
2019–20[81] League One 11 1 0 0 3 0 1 0 15 1
Total 29 2 0 0 3 0 2 0 34 2
Career total 508 25 25 0 25 1 21 0 579 26
  1. ^ a b c d Appearance(s) in Football League Trophy
  2. ^ Three appearances in Football League Trophy, two in League Two play-offs
  3. ^ One appearance in Football League Trophy, two in League Two play-offs
  4. ^ Appearances in Championship play-offs

InternationalEdit

As of 16 January 2018[82]
Appearances and goals by national team and year
National team Year Apps Goals
Scotland 2011 1 0
2012 3 0
2013 6 0
2014 6 0
2015 6 0
2016 6 0
2017 1 0
Total 29 0

Managerial recordEdit

As of match played 17 October 2021
Managerial record by team and tenure
Team Nat From To Record Ref
G W D L GF GA GD Win %
Milton Keynes Dons   3 November 2019 31 July 2021 80 30 19 31 107 105 +2 037.50 [83][84]
Swansea City   1 August 2021 Present 15 5 5 5 19 17 +2 033.33 [84]
Total 95 35 24 36 126 122 +4 036.84

HonoursEdit

Peterborough United

Norwich City

Milton Keynes Dons

Individual

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 April 2011. Retrieved 3 May 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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External linksEdit