MK Dons: Fans feel “shocked and let down” by Martin departure

The feeling amongst the fan base is one of anger and that of betrayal - explains Joe Friess from MK1 Podcast.

Matthew Crist

MK Dons fans have expressed their surprise and disappointment following the news that Swansea City have appointed their former boss, Russell Martin, as their new head coach.

Martin, 35, has signed a three-year contract with the Championship club who are believed to have paid League One MK Dons around £400,000 in compensation to secure his services.

“It’s a feeling of shock, it’s a real shame and maybe a feeling of being let down,” Joe Friess from MK1 Podcast told FansBet.

“I think a lot of that comes from what’s gone on in the week with reports of approaches being turned down and interviews suggesting Russ would be staying.

Russell Martin

“He himself even spoke in his presser about wanting to build here on the Friday morning.”

The former Scotland international succeeds Steve Cooper, who left the Liberty Stadium last month.

Martin will be joined at Swansea by three members of his MK Dons coaching staff – Luke Williams, Matt Gill and Dean Thornton, while Alan Tate will continue as first-team coach.

“The feeling amongst the fan base is one of anger and that of betrayal,” says Joe.

“I think a lot of it isn’t necessarily down to the fact that he’s left but more the how it happened and the timing of it.

“He transformed the club. People may say we finished 19th and 13th and he didn’t do that much – but that doesn’t tell the true picture.

“He rescued us from near certain relegation and all that with a swagger and attractive play style.

“Last season from January onwards we had play off level form, we paid for a slow summer where not as much change as what Russ wanted went on.

“The club restructured this summer with a sporting director role being made and he was backed this window with an extra coach and a rumoured record signing in Mo Eisa.”

Swansea turned to Martin after Queens Park Rangers assistant manager John Eustace turned down a move to Wales last weekend.

The former defender made almost 600 appearances in a playing career which featured spells at Wycombe Wanderers, Peterborough United, Norwich City, Rangers and MK Dons.

Martin switched from Dons player to manager following the departure of Paul Tisdale in November 2019, when the club were 21st in League One.

MK Dons

His team avoided relegation as they finished 19th in the season curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic, and ended up 13th in 2020/21 while winning plaudits for their style of play.

MK Dons released a statement saying how “extremely disappointed” the club are by the timing of Martin’s departure.

“Nevertheless, the club would like to thank Russell for his contribution and work during his 21 months in charge and wish him, and his team, all the best for the future.”

But his sudden departure now leaves the club and its supporters in limbo on the eve of a new League one campaign which gets underway with a trip to Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.

“I’d be lying if I said I was as confident for the season as I was a week ago,” explains Joe

“This was the culmination of 21 months work and Russ had been backed and we’ve ended up with a real strong squad. B

“But I guess now we can use that as an advantage, the new manager will have a great base to work from and a competitive team, however you can’t help but think we may have a slow start as naturally a new manager will want to put his own spin on things.”

Frank Lampard

Some of the potential replacements for Martin include Chelsea legends John Terry and Frank Lampard.

Jody Morris, Michael Duff, Alex Revell and Dean Lewington have also been mentioned though Joe is keen that the club opt for a young, progressive coach to head-up their quest for promotion to the Championship.

“I want a young and hungry coach with an experienced number two,” he says.

“Someone who wants to play progressive football and can work with youth, we currently only have five players over 24-years of age.”

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