Russell Martin | I want to give Swansea City fans a team that excites them
Russell Martin is determined to deliver a side to excite Swansea City supporters - and live up to the club’s reputation for attractive football - after being appointed head coach.
The 35-year-old has put pen to paper on a three-year contract at the Liberty Stadium and will take training with the first-team squad at Fairwood on Monday morning in preparation for the opening Championship fixture at Blackburn Rovers.
The former defender makes the move to SA1 after winning plaudits for his work with MK Dons. In his first senior managerial role Martin led them to safety during the 2019-20 campaign before a 13th place finish in League One last term.
The Dons had the third-highest share of possession of teams in Europe’s major leagues last season – only Barcelona and Manchester City could boast a higher percentage – while a goal at the end of a 56-pass move set a new British record for such a sequence.
And, having played against Swansea sides under the guidance of the likes of Brendan Rodgers and Michael Laudrup – as well as speaking with former Swans boss Graham Potter – Martin sees the club as an ideal fit.
“I am immensely proud and excited, to be honest,” said Martin, who previously played alongside current Swans Ryan Bennett, Kyle Naughton and Korey Smith during his time at Norwich.
“Everything I have heard about the club – be it from the owners, the people here who work inside the club, and people who have been here before that I know – underlines how special it is.
“I know the fanbase and what they expect in terms of the modern Swansea Way, that started under Roberto Martinez and continued under Brendan Rodgers and Michael Laudrup and people like that.
“I am familiar with that, and I played against most of those teams throughout the years and we, as a coaching team, are very much aligned with that. It excites me.
“We really believe in it, and I hope that is an immediate connection and something we can enjoy.
“There is a lot of work to be done, but I feel immensely excited.
“I spoke to Graham, and he spoke so highly of the club, of the people and of the area.
“He spoke about his connection with the fans and the staff who worked here.
“My mind was already made up to come here, but to hear that was nice and reassuring and gave me a lot of confidence that this is the right place to move forward and progress.
“I am looking forward to hopefully giving the fans a team they feel really connected with, that is strong in the Swansea Way, because there is no doubt the supporters and club are connected to a certain way of doing things.
“I am looking forward to giving them a team that excites them, that they enjoy. I want to watch our team from the side of the pitch and enjoy it, otherwise what’s the point?
“I don’t want to be involved anything that I don’t enjoy, and that includes watching our own team.
“I want to give the fans a team they can be proud of and identify with. A team that looks the same everywhere we go, be it at the Liberty Stadium or away from home.
“It will be a team that gives them everything they have got.”
Martin has brought Luke Williams, Matt Gill and Dean Thornton in from MK Dons to join his coaching staff, while Alan Tate will remain in his role as first-team coach having led the team in recent weeks.
And the new head coach is looking forward to working with club stalwart Tate, having enjoyed many battles with him on the field over the years.
“As a group I know we will give everything we have got,” added Martin.
“I have spoken to Tatey, we have mutual friends within the game. We played in the same era and played against each other a lot.
“He is a club legend, he is one of many and one of the pulls of this club is how they treat their ex-players.
“You look at players like Leon Britton, Alan Curtis and Lee Trundle and they are all still part of the fabric and culture of the club.
“It’s a family club, the people that work here support the club and that connection is really strong and Tatey is one of those guys.
“It will take time for the dynamic to work out and for everything to fit together, but I am looking forward to working with him, and I hope he will enjoy working with us as well.”