MK Dons appoint former Canaries captain Martin as manager

PUBLISHED: 12:47 03 November 2019 | UPDATED: 13:00 03 November 2019

Russell Martin has been appointed manager of MK Dons  Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Russell Martin has been appointed manager of MK Dons Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

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Former Norwich City captain Russell Martin has been appointed the manager of MK Dons.

The 33-year-old former Canaries defender had been with the Dons as a player, helping to earn automatic promotion from League Two as a regular during the second half of last season.

That was achieved under the guidance of Paul Tisdale but the former Exeter boss departed following Saturday's 3-1 home defeat to Tranmere - an eighth defeat in nine games which left them 21st in the table.

Martin, who has been an unused substitute in recent weeks, is the man Dons bosses have turned to as he takes his first steps into management.

"I'm excited and proud to have been given this opportunity to become manager of MK Dons," Martin told his club's website. "Football management is something that I've been preparing for, for a long time and this is an opportunity I'm ready to take on.

"I would like to thank Paul Tisdale for bringing me to the football club and for his hard work during my time here. We will always remember celebrating that special moment at the end of last season.

"I must also thank Pete Winkelman and the board for placing their trust in me. I accept their challenge to improve on the recent results and the current league position, and I will give everything I've got to repay their faith.

Russell Martin was back at Carrow Road in May, for a charity fund-raising exhibition game Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus ImagesRussell Martin was back at Carrow Road in May, for a charity fund-raising exhibition game Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

"We've got work to do and we will need everyone working as one in order to achieve what we want to achieve - players, staff and fans included. We will turn this around together."

Martin's first game in charge will be a home FA Cup first round tie against mid-table League Two side Port Vale on Saturday.

In their confirmation of the change, the Dons point to Martin having over 580 appearances on his CV, as well as 29 caps for Scotland, and say the former City defender is currently completing his UEFA Pro Licence and League Managers' Association Diploma in Football Management.

Chairman Peter Winkelman added: "Ever since Russell joined the club, we recognised his potential to one day become a manager.

"It's certainly happening faster than we expected but I'm excited to give Russell the chance and show us all what we can do.

"He's taking over the club mid-season and faces an immediate challenge given recent form, but we have great confidence in his ability to turn this season's fortunes around and head the Club back in the right direction."

Norwich City's joint majority shareholders Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones presented Russell Martin with a gift ahead of his celebration match at Carrow Road Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus ImagesNorwich City's joint majority shareholders Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones presented Russell Martin with a gift ahead of his celebration match at Carrow Road Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Martin made 309 appearances for Norwich, playing a key role in the successive promotions from League One to the Premier League under Paul Lambert between 2009 and 2011, followed by three seasons in the top flight.

He then captained City at Wembley in the Championship play-off final success of 2015 under Alex Neil but, after coming straight back down, his time at Carrow Road came to an end in August 2018, coming to a mutual agreement to end his contract early having fallen out of favour under Daniel Farke.

The former Wycombe and Peterborough defender sits 22nd in the Canaries' all-time appearances list and was back at Carrow Road in May, for a celebration game alongside fellow legend Wes Hoolahan, in a successful fund-raising exhibition match featuring their former team-mates which almost 20,000 supporters attended.

Martin will have to wait until the final day of the season to face his former boss Lambert however, with Dons having already lost 1-0 at home to Town this season.

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