In the media whirlwind that is transfer deadline day it really is unusual for any club to make anything which can be considered a surprise signing. Even the most basic of loan deals is likely to have been trotted out on a messageboard rumour-mill courtesy of the player’s agent’s next-door neighbour’s babysitter. So we were a little taken aback here at Viva Towers to come online an hour ago and find that Rovers have made a signing, and not even a loan one either. Look everyone Shelton Maris is back, and this time it’s permanent.
Even more of a welcome shock to the system was the fact that the news was broken on the club’s official website for once. Which is nice. So, Rovers have indeed signed central defender Shelton Martis from West Bromwich Albion on a full contract. The big Dutch Antilles international is a welcome and timely addition to the club, with Adam Lockwood still unavailable and Jason Shackell sidelined by a hernia problem Rovers’ backline has looked a little makeweight at times in recent matches and Martis’ presence will be a welcome boost.
Martis spent an impressive month with Rovers in November last season, and was a key contributor as Rovers began to turn their season around, conceding just a single goal in four matches with Martis in the backline. The defender even got himself on the scoresheet as well, nodding home the only goal of the game in a televised match against Ipswich. Those who do believe lightning strikes twice will no doubt have noticed that Martis looks set to make his debut against Reading this coming Saturday in another televised evening game. We’ll see you all at the bookies.
The defender began his career in the Netherlands as he made over twenty appearances for his first club Excelsior Rotterdam. Martis moved on to FC Eindhoven in 2004 (not PSV Eindhoven as reported by the Rovers’ official club website), spending the 2004/05 season with the Blauw-witten before a move to the UK in the Summer of 2005 saw him pitch up at Darlington. The centre-back had an impressive season with The Quakers scoring twice in forty-two appearances during a signle season with the club, before moving north of the border to Hibernian. Despite making twenty-seven appearances in the Scottish top flight Martis was never popular amongst the Hibs fans, thanks in part to notching three own goals and also a key mistake in a derby game with Hearts.
Martis moved to West Brom in 2007 with whom he has remained since, but for a loan spell at Scunthorpe and the aforementioned month with Rovers. At The Hawthorns Shelton Martis’ appearances have been limited though he did make a number of appearances for The Baggies in the Premier League towards the end of last season. The twenty-seven year-old defender looked set to be a key part of West Brom’s plans this season too after he scored in their opening game of the season. However he has dropped down the pecking order for the Midlands club since and so today joins Rovers in search of first-team football. Good news too for those of you who rushed out and bought shirts with Martis’ name and number on after his goal against Ipswich last November as he will return to the number thirty shirt. So you better get your gear back off ebay quickly.