A year not like any other for Russell Martin
It’s fair to say not many expected MK Dons to start 2020 the way they are, none more so than manager Russell Martin.
The club entered into the new decade in the League One relegation zone, it has been a bizarre year.
Beginning the year with a 6-0 win over Cambridge United, Dons stammered and stumbled towards promotion from League Two. Choice wins along the way, a February reset after as dreadful January bringing out a five-win streak which effectively gave them the platform to take the promotion battle to the final day.
But their return to League One has been a struggle, and after a torrid run from September, Paul Tisdale lost his job and was replaced by the man he signed a year ago - Russell Martin.
For the 33-year-old, it has been a whirlwind year too.
Waking up on January 1, 2019 as a Walsall player, his move to Stadium MK allowed him to complete his promotions collection, adding the fourth tier medal to his set.
Described as Tisdale’s best signing of the year, Martin would turn out to be his replacement too, taking over the hotseat in November with Dons in the drop zone after the worst run in the club’s history.
But the future looks brighter, with Martin’s football philosophy beginning to bear fruit after great wins over Oxford and Portsmouth.
Martin admitted to the Citizen he could not have predicted the way 2019 would unfold for him, but said he cannot wait for what the next year has in store.
“I’m not sure I can sum (2019) up,” he said. “ I certainly didn’t start the year thinking I’d be in the position I am now. I’m delighted I’m in the position I am now, though. We’ve had some brilliant moments, and some difficult ones too.
“I started the year in a difficult place at Walsall. I knew it wasn’t for me, and luckily I got the opportunity to come here, and I thank Tis for that. I have loved it being here, and sometimes you can just go to a place and know it’s for you.
“I’m in a position I’ve wanted to be in, I’d been planning to be in, but I’m in it much earlier than I expected to be, and I’m grateful for the opportunity.
“I’m genuinely excited for the next few games, months. We’re building something, we’re getting more and more in tune with each other and I’m excited for the next year to see what happens next.”