So, it’s official. After days of speculation, Des Buckingham is the new Oxford United head coach.
The club unexpectedly found themselves in this position after Liam Manning left his role after just eight months to take over at Bristol City.
However, the board have acted both quickly and smartly in recruiting Buckingham but many people will be asking; who is he?
✍️ We are delighted to announce the appointment of Des Buckingham as the club’s new men's first team Head Coach.
Welcome home, Des! 🏡💛
— Oxford United FC (@OUFCOfficial) November 16, 2023
Des Buckingham: Oxford United’s New Head Coach
Born in Oxford, Des Buckingham was part of the U’s academy but failed to make it as a professional footballer. Instead, he immediately took on coaching roles at both a school in the county and at the club.
He worked under Chris Wilder as a first-team coach before moving abroad – something we will touch on later.
But now, the Oxford-born, Oxford United fan has almost followed in the footsteps of Wilder by becoming the manager of his hometown club.
Coaching Career So Far
After leaving Oxford, Buckingham made the move to New Zealand. He became assistant head coach at Wellington Phoenix before taking his first management role after the head coach was sacked.
He returned to England to be a part of Stoke City’s U23 side but went back to New Zealand at international level – first with the U20s, where he won the OFC U-20 Championship, before further success with the U23s, winning both the OFC U-23 Championship and Pacific Games.
Buckingham then joined the City Football Group. He picked up more accolades. First, he won the A-League Premiership and A-League Championship with Melbourne City before winning the Indian Super League Winners’ Shield during his time at Mumbai.
Links With the Job
When Karl Robinson was sacked back in March, Buckingham, along with his eventual successor Liam Manning, made the shortlist.
Clearly, the 38-year-old has been highly regarded for some time but the move didn’t materialise before the club appointed Manning.
Both share a similar football and tactical philosophy, emanating from their work with CFG.
This time around, Buckingham was also a candidate at League One rivals Lincoln and Charlton but Mumbai’s compensation package was deemed too high.
Also, there is a sense that the head coach would only return to England for the right role – and that is returning to his hometown club where fans, and himself, will be hoping to finish off the bright start they have already made and secure promotion to the Championship.