Club legend Martin opens up about his difficult third stint at MK Dons

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The goalkeeper said his third spell at MK Dons was a mixed bag for a multitude of reasons
MK Dons legend David Martin thought he was re-signing for the club to push Jamie Cumming for the number one spot last summer. Pic: Jane RussellMK Dons legend David Martin thought he was re-signing for the club to push Jamie Cumming for the number one spot last summer. Pic: Jane Russell
MK Dons legend David Martin thought he was re-signing for the club to push Jamie Cumming for the number one spot last summer. Pic: Jane Russell | Jane Russell

David Martin’s third spell at MK Dons was not what he expected when he signed a deal to return to the club last summer.

Having racked up nearly 350 appearances for the club across his first two spells, Martin never touched a competitive ball in his third stint for a multitude of reasons.

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The 36-year-old keeper, having spent the previous three seasons at West Ham, had initially signed to push Chelsea loanee Jamie Cumming for the number one spot. But after Lewis Price’s cancer diagnosis, Martin stepped up to coach the keepers for the short term.

But after Liam Manning and his staff were sacked following a poor start to the season, Martin helped out as assistant manager to both Dean Lewington and Bradley Johnson as they took caretaker charge, before rounding out the season as the goalkeeper coach for Mark Jackson.

David Martin spent more time on the sidelines as coach and assistant manager than he did playing for MK Dons in this third spell at the club last season. Pic: Jane RussellDavid Martin spent more time on the sidelines as coach and assistant manager than he did playing for MK Dons in this third spell at the club last season. Pic: Jane Russell
David Martin spent more time on the sidelines as coach and assistant manager than he did playing for MK Dons in this third spell at the club last season. Pic: Jane Russell | Jane Russell

Speaking on the Yours, Mine, Away Podcast with Mark Howard, Martin admitted he wanted a January move away from Milton Keynes after a challenging first-half of the season on his return.

Martin continued: “I went from not having a club to training with Milton Keynes again. There were good things and bad things, it was such a mixed bag.

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“I was there for about a month before we had the really bad news about Lewis Price - who is an amazing guy. He's such a good, well-balanced guy. He pulled me aside one say and told me he had cancer. It was really hard to take. I had only been there a month but I felt like I'd gotten really close to him. He told me he wanted me to take over with the keepers.

“I wasn't ready to retire yet. The manager offered me a player/coach role, and I thought about it and it went on for a few weeks before Pricey went into treatment. I thought we came to an agreement but it wasn't quite what I thought it was going to be.

“For the first two months or so, I found it really tough because I knew Jamie was going to play, but I still had to go out there and lead the sessions. Trying to find that balance was tough. I wanted to join in as well! I ended up telling them it wasn't for me, and that I'd made a mistake. They got another goalkeeper coach in, but after six weeks they were sacked.

“The sporting director (Liam Sweeting) asked me again to take over until they found a replacement, but I wanted to leave in January because I wanted to go and play. I was close here and there, I thought it would happen on the last day in January but it didn't come off.

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“When Mark Jackson came in, I was told to do what I wanted with the keepers rather than taking over from Pricey. And I felt I did that. I felt like I got better and better.

“For the last four or five months, I could see that it is something I want to do in the future. I still want to play, I've put the coaching to one side and concentrate on playing but I know I can do it.”

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