You’ve got a friend in me…..
It feels as though we have a real life Buzz and Woody in Dean Keates and Russell Martin but being friends has certainly helped the Saddlers fend off competition for the signing of Martin.
Martin had been on trial with West Bromwich Albion and there was very late interest from two of the biggest clubs in League 1 (Sunderland/Barnsley cough) but the fact that Martin and Keates have been friends for sometime persuaded the former Norwich and Rangers defender to sign with the Saddlers.
Keates and Martin played alongside each other in 2008 when Peterborough United got promoted from League 1 to the Championship. Martin was ever present for the Posh that season and Keates played thirty-six games. Martin was installed as club captain in September that year before moving onto Norwich City.
However Keates and Martin have remained in touch and Keates identified him as the perfect addition not only to his playing staff but also his coaching team.
Speaking to Express and Star, Keates said
“I don’t think I would have got him (Martin) if we weren’t friends,”
“I’ve been chasing him for weeks. There was a possibility of a move to a Championship club and he wanted to wait and see.”
“But he bought into what I want him to do and his role at the football club. I want him to have a role on the pitch but also off the pitch.”
Martin is available for Keates now and despite not playing any pre-season games or games this season, Keates is confident that Martin will be ready to go very shortly.
The Saddlers have been needing experience at the back for a few years since the departure of James O’Connor and despite Jack Fitzwater and Jon Guthrie doing their best for the club that little bit of know-how can go a long way.