FC Halifax Town: "I just want to get back to the best I can be," says new signing Martin

New signing Aaron Martin wants to turn what's been a negative season into a positive one by helping FC Halifax Town to promotion.

By Tom Scargill
Thursday, 27th January 2022, 1:38 pm
Aaron Martin. Photo: Marcus Branston
Aaron Martin. Photo: Marcus Branston

Martin made his debut for The Shaymen on Tuesday night in the 1-0 defeat at home to Boreham Wood, his first appearance since November 13 due to injury.

"I've only just been clear from my injury, I've done a week of training with Harrogate then I went to Halifax on Monday," he said.

"I had a knee operation on my meniscus, which has kept me out for three months.

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Aaron Martin. Photo: Marcus Branston

"So Tuesday was my first 90 minutes since pre-season, and I've not been involved in any games for three-and-a-half months, so it was crucial in getting some minutes under the belt."

Martin says he is now focused on putting the first-half of this season behind him, in which he made only eight appearances for Harrogate, six as a substitute.

"I've never had injuries like this, or times when I've been fit and not played, it's definitely been my worst season as a player, and my hardest, because of that," he said.

"It's been new to me in the way my career's gone, so I have struggled to get used to it at times.

"But I don't want that to be my season, I've got a wonderful opportunity now to really help the squad at Halifax and contribute to something that can ultimately go down in their history, to get promoted to the Football League.

"That would be a massive positive for me personally, to get promoted with them, in a season that's been very negative so far.

"So I'm just trying to make it positive and not dwell on the negative side, that's in the past now.

"It's not to show Harrogate but more to show myself that, as much that I've not played and I've had injuries, that I can still play and I'm still capable of playing at a good level.

"I just want to get back to the best I can be."

Martin says there were other clubs interested in signing him, but on a permanent basis.

"The gaffer (Pete Wild) had been keen on me for a while I believe and when he saw I wasn't playing, he was keen to get me as soon as he could," he said.

"The gaffer (Simon Weaver, Harrogate boss) made it clear I wasn't going to get much game time at the moment and he couldn't guarantee me game time.

"So I was quite happy to go, everyone was happy on the decision.

"I'm happy to be a part of what Halifax are trying to do and make that push to help them get promoted."

Martin says his first impressions of Halifax have been overwhelmingly positive.

"I've received a massively warm welcome from the staff, the players and the fans," he said.

"I said to the gaffer when I met him, before I made the decision to come, that I really wanted to get on board and my main effort would be to try and get the team promoted, and I'd do everything I can.

"There was a conversation about me trying to get fit, and they were very understanding about that.

"He just said 'look, take your time, the fitness will come, you just need to get back into the swing of things', so that belief in me fills you with confidence.

"He's seen me play before and he knows I can bring something to the table to help the squad, and the fact he believes in me now after hardly playing and having no match fitness and just coming back from injury, it says a lot.

"I think it'll take around a month to get back to where I'd want to be match fitness wise.

"I didn't feel too bad on Tuesday but I have certain standards where I want my game to be, which are usually higher than everyone else's.

"It's just about trying to get back there and getting confident."

Martin played for his first team aged nine, a Sunday team in Sheffield.

His first semi-professional club was Goole, before joining Sheffield FC and then Brighouse, where he feels his career really took off.

"When I went there, I kind of had a different feel about the game, I played a bit differently," he said.

"I realised the years were going by and I wanted more, I wanted to get to the Football League, that was always my aim.

"If I didn't start making moves soon, I'd never get there, so I played a bit more aggressively, with a bit more want in my game because I knew if I didn't try now, I'd never get there.

"That was massive because the goals started going in. I'm a big believer that, no matter what your age is, if you're a striker and you score goals, then people have to look at you because goals talk.

"I think I became a bit more ruthless in my approach."

Martin turned professional when he joined Harrogate in March 2020.

"I feel like the same basics are there but after a few years you get more experience, you play with different people and you try to pick up different things, how you gel with a team," Martin said when asked how much he felt he had changed as a player since his early days.

"All those things mould you into a better player.

"As I've gone up the levels there will be bits of my game that have changed that have helped me improve.

"Sometimes it does feel like you play the same but I'm sure from a management point of view they feel like there have been little improvements as time's gone by."

Martin says earning promotion with Harrogate in the summer of 2020 was a defining moment in his career so far.

"In my mind, National League would never have been enough," he said.

"I always had this thing in my head that it's a different gloss when people say they've played Football League compared to people who say they've played at a very, very good standard.

"When people say they've played in the league I feel like it's a bit of a different justification.

"So my aim was always to get to the Football League. I said I'd never be able to call myself a professional footballer if I didn't make it there, even though you are in the National League.

"But in my heart, it would never have felt right."

On life as a professional footballer, he said: "There is a different feel about it and that can come with the professionalism of the club, how you carry yourself in situations, at certain times you have to be aware that you're much more noticed in everyday life, you're more mindful of things you say on social media or when you're around fans.

"It's things like that which make you realise that, you know what, I actually am a professional footballer that can be recognised by random people at any time."

When Martin was at Brighouse, he was labouring for a scaffolding company.

"It was hard graft because I'd be doing a lot of lifting and a lot of mileage walking at work, and then I'd be going to train," he said.

"I wouldn't get back from training sometimes until 11pm, half eleven, and then I was up at half past five and going out to work.

"But it probably made me stronger as a person, made me want my goal even more, to be able to play football when I was tired and once I'd finished work."

And Martin is prepared to put the hard graft in again to help The Shaymen achieve promotion.

"I want to succeed as much as the other lads do," he said

"I've had the experience of getting promoted into the league through the play-offs, and I feel like, as a player and a fan, it's the best experience of going up.

"Obviously it's not guaranteed like if you win the league, but it's the best experience of doing that.

"I'm sure there are a few of the lads who've never played Football League before who are very keen to get there, and they feel like it's only an arm's length away.

"I'm on the same wavelength, I want to get promoted with Halifax just as much as they do.

"If I'm not scoring you can always expect hard work, I'll always give my all on the pitch.

"I don't mind being physical, I relish it at times, getting into a battle with defenders and the two of us going at it. I always have done.

"I don't feel like I'm a leader, I just feel like I'm a very good team player and I do what I can for my team-mates around me."