Meet The Team

Russell Martin
Owner and founder

Russell Martin attended Varndean school and then Varndean College, representing Brighton Boys (with Alan Sanders as his manager!) throughout his time at school. He was briefly at Brighton & Hove Albion until released at 16. He never gave up hope of becoming a professional player and was a member of the England Schools Under 18s side whilst at Varndean, also playing for Lewes FC. After A levels, he wrote to every league club asking for a trial. He got two replies; from Wycombe Wanderers and Swansea. He chose Wycombe because it was closer and therefore cheaper to get to and the rest is history. He played more than 100 times for Wycombe over four seasons and then moved on to Peterborough United where he became their youngest-ever captain, leading them to promotion to the Championship at the age of 22. He then moved to Norwich where he played more than 300 times over nine seasons, gaining three promotions, two of them to the Premier League. He currently holds the record for most appearances in the Premier League for the Canaries. He was club captain for five seasons and led the team up the famous Wembley steps to lift the play-off final trophy. Whilst playing for Norwich he also represented Scotland 30 times, qualifying through his father. RMF is something he would have loved to have known when he was a young aspiring player and is Russell’s way of giving back to the game and home town that has given him so much happiness and enjoyment over the years.

Dr Alan Sanders
Chief Executive

Alan became Chief Executive in September 2018. He was originally a PE teacher at King’s Manor School (now Shoreham Academy) before becoming Head of Department at the local sixth form college, BHASVIC. Whilst a teacher he managed several Brighton Boys district sides and managed Russ between the ages of 11 and 16. He was Sussex Schools U19 manager for several years. He has a PhD based on football apprenticeships and holds a UEFA B licence. Since leaving teaching in 2002, Alan has been Joint MD at Albion in the Community and Director of Charlton Athletic Community Trust, leading both to win the prestigious Football League Community Club of the Year award.

Donna Cox
General Manager

Donna is our general manager with many years’ experience. Her passion is providing solutions for her employers by helping them build their operations infrastructure through technology, compliance and people. She is also our welfare officer and has completed a number of FA-certified courses to ensure RMF is fully compliant with FA safeguarding guidelines. She is at the heart of the foundation and will go out of her way to help meet the needs of parents and children – she is often the first contact for players, parents and partners.

Gary Mansell
Head of the Russell Martin Football Academy

Gary coached his own successful youth grassroots team which is where his passion for coaching began. This led to him starting ‘Star Soccer’, a football academy that became part of the Russell Martin Academy, the core of the Russell Martin Foundation. Gary is a UEFA B qualified coach and has undertaken all of the specialist FA Youth Modules. He is a mentor to our coaches and has been recently named the Sussex Under 16s manager and Under 18s assistant manager.

Sergio Torres
Schools Football Co-ordinator

Sergio is a UEFA B qualified coach and ex-professional footballer with over 250 football league appearances for Wycombe Wanderers, Peterborough, Lincoln and Crawley. He flew to England 12 years ago with nothing to his name apart from the promise of a trial at Brighton & Hove Albion from an agent he had never met. His story has been turned into a book and a documentary under the title of ‘The Unknown Torres’. Sergio is a great friend and an ex-teammate of Russell’s. He is hugely popular in the professional and non-league games – he is still playing and captaining Eastbourne Borough at 38!

Jay Lovett
Post 16 Football Co-ordinator

Jay was born and bred in Brighton and went to Dorothy Stringer School. He played for Brighton Boys (and also had Alan Sanders as his manager) and Sussex Schools. At Varndean College he was spotted by a Plymouth Argyle scout and spent three years in the West Country doing his apprenticeship. At 19 he was released and came home to play for Crawley Town before transferring back into the Football League with Brentford. Jay has a UEFA A Licence and has built up his experience, coaching in many different countries. His passion is to help local players play to the highest level of their ability.

Charlie Oatway
Commercial Executive

Charlie is an ex-professional who has played over 380 games, 224 for Brighton. Since retiring in 2007, he has been part of Gus Poyet’s coaching staff at Sunderland, AEK Athens, Real Betis and Shanghai Shenhua. He has also played a significant role in working for Brighton and Charlton football community trusts. Charlie’s autobiography ‘Tackling Life’ was part of the national book series ‘Quick Reads’. He has a UEFA A Licence and is looking to complete his Pro Licence.