School of Sport and Service Management

Russell Martin at the podium during his talk

A management masterclass from one of Brighton’s best-known footballers

Former Scotland and Norwich defender Russell Martin, and current manager of League One MK Dons, visited University of Brighton students to offer his tips on leadership in sport.

The founder of the Brighton & Hove based charity The Russell Martin Foundation hung up his boots late last year before moving into football management and was invited to give a guest lecture to students on sport-related courses at the Eastbourne campus.

The ex-Norwich captain, who led the Canaries in the Premier League and also counts Glasgow giants Rangers among his former clubs, shared his thoughts on building high-performance culture and the importance of honest, self-critical reflection for achieving success. Martin advised students to have a clear vision about what they wanted to achieve and realise what they need to do to get there.

Martin grew up in Sussex and came through the youth system at Brighton & Hove Albion before eventually starting his senior Football League career at Wycombe. He has since set up a charity in his hometown which uses the sport to help change people’s lives.

Martin said: “I’d like to thank the university for having me in to talk to students on a wide range of courses about my experiences in football and in business. I really enjoyed it, especially the questions from students at the end.

“I hope to come back again at some point in the future and look forward to building a strong relationship between the university and The Russell Martin Foundation, where we hope to create some work experience and job opportunities for the students.”

The talk went down well with students, who were keen to ask questions about Martin’s leadership and management philosophies, as well as his thoughts on the future of the sport.

Samuel May, a first year Sport and Exercise Science student said: “Football hasn’t been a sport I’ve always gravitated towards, but regardless of this fact I was locked in to what Russell had to say from start to finish, and so was everyone else.

“My advice to anyone who’s passed up the opportunity to attend these types of guest lectures in the past, is that even if it’s something different to what you’re interested in, you’ll be surprised as to how much you can learn and use in order to continue moving forward.”

Dr Alex Channon, Course Leader for Sport Management BSc(Hons) and Sport Studies BA(Hons), said: “Russell’s experiences neatly mirror many of our students’ ambitions, and the theoretical ideas he discussed were demonstrated brilliantly by practical contexts which they can clearly relate to. It was a great addition to the semester’s content for many of our students.”

Find out more about The Russell Martin Foundation.

Kerry Burnett • February 25, 2020


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