MARTIN RILEY | DEFENCE

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BORN
DoB
HEIGHT
TWITTER

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Wolverhampton
5.12.1986
6ft 2"
@lifeofriley06

PLAYER BIO

Vastly experienced centre-back who joined the Pitmen in December 2021 from league rivals Tamworth

Wolverhampton-born and a trainee at his hometown club from a young age, Riley was regular in the Wolves' reserve side until his release in the summer of 2008, via a short loan spell at Shrewsbury Town

The youngster linked up with Blue Square Premier side Kidderminster Harriers in August 2008 after a trial period and became a regular at Aggborough over the next two seasons, making over seventy appearances and scoring four goals. This form attracted interest from professional clubs once more, with League Two side Cheltenham Town making an offer to the player in the summer of 2010 to take the player to Whaddon Road. Riley was so keen to make the move happen that he arranged the transfer himself and paid the fee out of his own pocket to join Mark Yates' side

His one season at Cheltenham saw Riley make nearly thirty appearances for the Robins as they struggled to retain their Football league status with a seventeenth place finish. Riley stepped back into non-league football in the summer of 2011 with a move to Mansfield Town, making the central defensive role his own once more at Field Mill with thirty appearances for the Stags as they finished in the play-off places in the Blue Square Premier, losing in the semi-finals to York City

His one-year deal at Field Mill came to an end in the summer of 2013, allowing Riley to join league rivals Wrexham on another one-year contract. Under future Hednesford manager Andy Morrell and playing alongside Chris Westwood, the Red Dragons made the Blue Square Premier play-offs but lost to Newport County in an all-Welsh final at Wembley Stadium. They had already played at the home of football in March 2013, lifting the F.A. Trophy after beating Grimsby Town on penalties

Despite an offer to remain at the Racecourse Ground from Morrell, Riley elected to return to Mansfield in July 2013, with the Stags having clinched promotion back to the Football League after winning the Blue Square Premier the previous season. His two-season return to Field Mill saw Mansfield finish in mid-table in 2013-2014 but struggle in his second season and avoid relation by a clutch of points. Nevertheless, Rily was once again a virtual ever-present throughout his two years and chalked up over seventy appearances in all competitions

Vanarama National League new-boys Tranmere Rovers - looking for some non-league experience - brought the defender in on a one-year contract in the summer of 2015. His spell at Prenton Park was not a memorable one, as Riley made only a handful of appearances as Rovers finished just outside the play-off places

A return to Wrexham was in the offing in May 2016, as Gary Mills brought the experienced step one defender back to the Racecourse Ground on a one-year deal. It was to prove a disappointing campaign for the Welsh side as they finished in a mediocre mid-table position in the National League

A move to newly-promoted National League side FC Halifax Town came about in July 2017, although a serious injury picked up at the start of the season saw Riley limited to only three appearances at the Shay during the season as Halifax finished sixteenth

Riley dropped to step two for the first time in his career in July 2018 with a move to Alfreton Town, who were now managed by his former Halifax manager Billy Heath. Playing alongside ex-Hednesford man Reece Styche, Riley got back to form and was a regular in the Reds defence as they finished in a mid-table position in Vanarama National League North. Riley was also taking steps towards life after football by setting up a coaching school in his hometown of Wolverhampton, helping children from the ages of 2-11 with their skills

Riley moved to league rivals Hereford in July 2019 on a one-year deal, but injury once again saw him struggle for minutes on the pitch for the Bulls and he departed in the summer of 2020 after only twelve games. He did, however, play in a game against York City in March 2020 with a dislocated shoulder, having to have his shoulder 'popped' back in after the game

He made the short switch to Southern Premier League Central side Stourbridge in the summer of 2020, linking up again with his former Cheltenham manager Mark Yates in the process. He was a regular starter in the Glassboys' defence at the start of the season, only for the coronavirus to end it a dozen games into the new campaign and subsequently void the season

A move to league rivals Tamworth followed in August 2021, with Riley missing the first few games through injury before working his way into an inconsistent Lambs side. After eight starts at the Lamb, Riley made the move down the A5 to Hednesford a couple of days short of his 35th birthday

His spell at Keys Park was topsy-turvy, with the veteran suffering a dislocated shoulder in a game at Redditch United in February 2022 that kept him out for much of the remainder of the season. At the end of the season, Riley initially announced that he was to retire from football but made a u-turn in June 2022 and confirmed that he was to return to the RACE Stadium for pre-season

 

* Denotes playing records removed after 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons were voided due to coronavirus pandemic