In the search for an extra bit of experience to shore up our back line, Boro’ re-signed Joe Martin at the end of January 2021. He came back to us from Northampton Town; the club he left us for in summer 2019 after two seasons at the Lamex. The move made quite a lot of sense when you consider he played in the same team as boss Alex Revell. What Boro’ were in most need of at the time of his second coming, however, was extra creativity. And Martin’s dead ball abilities would certainly do much to support that.
Revs said: “[Joe’s] experience, quality and set-piece prowess will help make him an extremely valuable addition to the squad. In addition to his technical strengths, during the brief time I played with Joe, it was obvious what a positive influence he was on the rest of the squad, and what a superb professional he is.”
The defender first joined us in June 2017; one of a number of additions to the squad made by our boss at the time, Darren Sarll. An ex-England U16 and U17 international, he signed from League One side Millwall. With him came much Football League experience for a 28-year-old. Under Sarll, he featured regularly for Boro’. But things were a little different once Sarll was replaced by Dino Maamria. After slipping down the pecking order at the start of the 2018-9 campaign, Martin went to Bristol Rovers on loan for the first half of the season.
Upon returning, he forced his way back into the reckoning for the final few games. There’d be no long-term future at the club, however; Martin released at the end of the season, and moving on to join Northampton Town.
Joe Martin: Before Boro’ (the first time)
The defender was born in Dagenham and started his career as a member of the academy at West Ham. In 2005, however, he swapped east for north London; joining Tottenham‘s academy and signing his first pro deal in 2007. A first taste of first team football wouldn’t be long in coming, but it wasn’t to be in the Premier League. Martin went even further north in March 2008, signing for Blackpool on loan.
Injury meant he had to wait to make his debut, eventually turning out for the Tangerines on the last day of the season. He made enough of an impact at the club for Blackpool to submit a bid for his services that summer. In July, the move was made a permanent one. The lure of Championship football had attracted him away from Spurs. Injuries, however, continued to play a part in his time at Blackpool.
In the two years he spent at the club, he probably made fewer appearances than he’d have hoped and was released in summer 2010 by Ian Holloway. Martin returned south, spending a number of months on trial with Gillingham before the then-League Two side opted to sign him. He made his debut in December 2010, turning out for the club for more than five years after that.
During that time, he won the 2012-3 League Two title with the Gills and earned a place in the PFA League Two Team of the Year. In 2015, however, he was let go by the club. Back to London, next up was Millwall. In his second season at the Den, he helped the club to win promotion to the Championship but, again, was surplus to requirements. That was to be to Boro’s gain, swooping to sign him and – in doing so – adding a wealth of valuable experience to the back line ahead of the 2017-8 League Two campaign.