David Martin has made his return to MK Dons official, putting pen to paper on a player-coach contract with the Football Club.
Martin, 36, spent the summer training with the Dons but has recently stepped up to lead the goalkeeper department in the absence of Goalkeeper Coach Lewis Price, who is battling testicular cancer.
The goalkeeper has now made his return to Stadium MK a permanent one, officially beginning a third spell with the Football Club. Martin, who was a member of the inaugural MK Dons squad in 2004/05, has totalled 341 club appearances and kept 111 clean sheets.
“It’s brilliant being back,” said Martin, who has made the second-most appearances in Club history, behind only Dean Lewington. “MK Dons is a massive part of my career, I’ve been here for a number of years and we’ve gone through a lot together.
“It’s been no secret that I have been around the place for the best part of a couple of months now - credit to the Gaffer and the coaches for letting me come and train at the start of the season to keep sharp and fit.
“It’s a unique situation, obviously in difficult circumstances. I still want to play but this is an opportunity for me to step in and help a Club that means a lot to me. It’s my responsibility to take care of the department and the other goalkeepers here but, at the same time, I want to stay competitive as a player within the group.
“Pricey has been unbelievable for me, which is testament to his character considering what he’s going through. He cares so much about the Club, the staff and the players here and he’s been there to help me, just like we will all continue to be there for him.”
Born in Romford, Martin began his youth career with Tottenham Hotspur before joining Wimbledon in 2003. He made his professional debut for Wimbledon away at Burnley in April 2004.
Martin was a member of the inaugural MK Dons squad in 2004/05, totalling 23 appearances before joining Liverpool in January 2006. He spent four-and-a-half years at Anfield while also spending time on loan with Accrington Stanley, Leicester City, Tranmere Rovers, Leeds United and Derby County.
In July 2010, after leaving Liverpool, Martin returned to MK Dons and he would spend the next seven seasons at Stadium MK, adding a further 318 appearances to his name and helping the Club reach the Sky Bet Championship for the first time in 2015.
Martin departed the Dons in June 2017 and soon joined Millwall, before making the switch to his boyhood club West Ham United two years later. Alongside being a key member of the Hammers’ squad, he made five Premier League appearances with his debut coming against Chelsea in November 2019 – an occasion he marked with a clean sheet in a memorable 1-0 win.
The goalkeeper left the London Stadium this June and spent pre-season training with MK Dons before stepping up to lead the Club’s goalkeeper department due to Goalkeeper Coach Lewis Price’s battle with testicular cancer.
Sporting Director Liam Sweeting said: “We are delighted to have David back with us. As many are aware, he has been training with us for a period of time and it became clear the qualities and characteristics he could bring to our group.
“He joins us in a unique role which will see him register as a player first and foremost, but then also be responsible for the coaching provision of our First Team Goalkeeper group whilst Lewis Price gets the treatment and time he requires.
“David is incredibly well respected by our Goalkeepers at the club and had been completing his coaching education outside of playing. We look forward to having him available for us and the positive impact he will inevitably make amongst the goalkeeper group.”
Head Coach Liam Manning added: “David is someone who knows the Club inside and out and his experiences, both here and throughout his playing career, will be invaluable to the squad. He is also a fantastic character and brings some excellent qualities on and off the pitch.
“He has made it clear that he wants to continue playing and he will have an opportunity to compete to do so here, but this is also an opportunity for him to lead the Club’s goalkeeping department while we are without Lewis Price.”