City legend Russell Martin reveals impact of coronavirus pandemic on League One and Two clubs
PUBLISHED: 13:26 30 March 2020 | UPDATED: 13:26 30 March 2020
Norwich City legend and MK Dons boss Russell Martin has spoken of the effect the coronavirus pandemic is having on League One and Two clubs.
The former City captain has revealed that non-playing staff at Stadium MK have been furloughed as clubs look to take preventative measures to protect their finances.
MK Dons playing staff, including Martin, haven’t been furloughed as the club await further information from the EFL regarding plans going forward.
Martin was appointed as Dons boss in November, replacing Paul Tisdale and has masterminded a surge that has moved them closer to League One safety.
City duo Carlton Morris and Louis Thompson have joined Martin until the end of the season, but the nature of those deals remain uncertain, given the season could be extended beyond June.
Speaking about the effect the pandemic is having on the lower reaches of the professional game in England, Martin said: “It’s hugely impacted us. Everyone at the club has been furloughed, so none of the staff are now working. Staff have taken wage cuts because of no business and no football.
“Daily contact with the players is difficult, so it’s affected everything. People often say that out of all the things that aren’t important, football is the most important one.
“I think it means so much to a lot of people and they really identify with their football club and it’s their release. At the moment, nobody has that.
“For the people involved in football, the lack of routine, the lack of structure and the lack of controlled training is proving difficult for the players. Obviously there’s lots of people who are worse off, but it goes to show how it’s affecting everyone.”
Martin is aware that football pales into insignificance during this period, and has thanked the NHS for their work in conquering the virus.
“It’s completely surreal and completely different from anything I’ve ever experienced. It’s extremely humbling. It makes you appreciate and realise what you have and what you miss,” Martin told BT Sport.
“I think it’s really difficult looking at the news but it’s helping people get a little bit of perspective of what’s really important. “The clap for the NHS was really emotional. Everyone I spoke to about it or connected with on FaceTime or over the phone, everyone feels the same way, they’re coming together to get through this.”