Thursday, 16 December 2010
222 Dean Martin
Position : Midfield (also played at centre half)
Played : 1994-95 (initially on loan from Scunthorpe) to 1996-97
Appearances : 53
Goals : 0
So Dave Sutton walked the plank at the end of November 1994 and Mick Docherty took over as caretaker. Nobody that was involved in the anti-Sutton protests was aiming to replace him with Docherty; indeed at that last game at Hartlepool Docherty was getting more of the stick as if to make it clear that we wanted to see the back of him too. But we had reckoned without the Board (some of whom are still with us) who now embarked on their darkest hour. Docherty wasn't even interviewed for the position; the Board negotiated with numerous better candidates but in the end it all fell through because none of them wanted Docherty around and the Board balked at sacking him despite doing the same to Sutton just weeks before. The only alternative that left them was giving Docherty the job on a non-contract basis and, having the pride and self-respect of Kerry Katona, he accepted. It was the worst possible outcome, a manager that neither the Board nor the fans had any real confidence in and that must have got through to the players. Alright, the prospect of watching Ian Atkins's long-ball tactics wasn't too appetising but we got that 18 months later with Barrow anyway. We'd have been better off keeping Sutton.
I don't think you can talk of a "Docherty era"; he was a postscript, an epilogue to the Sutton story. Aside from the relative brevity of his tenure (barely 18 months) he was heavily dependent on Sutton's players, particularly Whitehall and Stuart (without whom 1995-96 would have ended in relegation), his own signings being so poor.
Dean was a case in point. He was initially signed on loan from Scunthorpe, the only signing Docherty was allowed to make while the Board dithered over his future. His career began at Halifax in the mid-80s playing both in midfield and defence and picking up a fair few cards along the way. In 1991 he moved to Scunthorpe on a free and was a regular in their midfield for a couple of seasons before picking up a hamstring injury after which he struggled to get his place back in the side.
His 4 appearances on loan with us (in the latter two he was only a sub) were anonymous although we didn't lose in any of those games. He went back to Scunthorpe but a week or so later Docherty publicly mused that if he signed Dean it would give us another loan entitlement. Brilliant thinking - give a permanent contract to someone you don't really want to get another short-term fix perhaps of the calibre of Rimmer and Dickins. So with that underwhelming endorsement Dean signed on the dotted line and became our player.
Dean's reputation as a hard man went before him but he was clearly hampered by the injury and unable to make his presence felt in the same way as before. And there wasn't much else to his game, he had no real vision or goalscoring ability, he was just there. His best games were filling in at centre half where he looked pretty solid. His best moment was undoubtedly the goal that put us through to the FA Cup Third Round ar Darlington in 1995; a header from a very rare quality cross from Dave Thompson.
Graham Barrow wrote him off after his first game in charge away at Swansea and he never played for the first team again spending most of his final season on loan at Halifax. He later moved on to Stalybridge Celtic and Lancaster City.