Leeds United F.C. History
Leeds United F.C. History : Foreword
1919-29 - The Twenties
1930-39 - The Thirties
1939-46 - The War Years
1947-49 - Post War Depression
1949-57 - The Reign of King John
1957-63 - From Charles to Revie
1961-75 - The Revie Years
1975-82 - The Downward Spiral
1982-88 - The Dark Years
1988-96 - The Wilko Years
1996-04 - The Rollercoaster Ride
2004-17 - Down Among The Deadmen
100 Greatest LUFC Players Ever
Greatest Leeds United Games
Players' Profiles
Managers' Profiles
Leeds City F.C. History
Leeds City F.C. Player and Manager Profiles
Leeds United/City Statistics
Leeds United/City Captains
Leeds United/City Friendlies and Other Games
Leeds United/City Reserves and Other Teams

Buckley: Franklin Charles (Major/Frank)

1948-1953 (Manager Details) (Manager Details)

Buckley was born in Urmston, Manchester on 9th November 1882,and his brother Chris Buckley played with Aston Villa, which was also his first football club. He joined the Army but bought himself out and signed for Villa in 1904 but never played for their first team. He moved to Non-League Brighton & Hove Albion before returning to the First Division with Manchester United in 1906. He only played three League games before he moved across the city to Maine Road and joined the "Sky Blues" of Manchester City playing seven games in the 1907/08 season and managed only four games the following season before joining Second Division Birmingham City. There he was a regular and played fifty-five League matches in the next two seasons, and scored four goals. He moved across the Midlands to Second Division Derby County for the start of the 1911/12 season and played twenty-eight games and scored once as the Rams gained promotion to Division One. He gained his only England cap while at the Baseball Ground when he played for his country in a surprise 3-0 defeat by Ireland at Ayresome Park, Middlesbrough in 1914. He stayed until the end of the 1913/14, playing a total of ninety-two League games and notching three goals before Derby were relegated and he joined First Division Bradford City but only played four League games for the Yorkshire side before Worl War One curtailed their association. Buckley enlisted with the 17th Middlesex Regiment, where he commanded "the Footballers’ Battalion". He saw action and received wounds to his lung and shoulder in the Battle of the Somme and rose to the rank of Major. On his return, he joined Non-League Norwich City and was appointed Manager. The Canaries had been so debt-ridden that the receivers had wound the club up, but following an extraordinary general meeting, the club was resurrected and Buckley was placed in charge in February 1919 and returned the club to Southern League football. His stay was short and he left in July 1920 he was gone as financial disputes brought wholesale changes of personnel. He then spent some time as a commercial traveller. Buckley became the first version of the modern football Manager, not content to settle for the Manager/Secretary which had been normal before him. He believed in encoraging the production of players by the club rather than buying success as most of the successful clubs had done before him. Hw ecoraged the use of young players reared by the club and bought and sold players judiciously to ensure that the club always ran at a healthy profit. On 6th October 1923, the Directors of Second Division Blackpool appointed him as their new Manager. He stayed at Blackpool for four years and there is no doubt that his shrewd managership greatly assisted the advancement of the club. He was also innovative and change the Blackpool colours to the famous tangerine. Although they never gained promotion, he set up the Blackpool Youth system and scouting network. However, it was at Wolverhampton Wanderers that Frank Buckley really made his name. He joined them in 1927 and developed a marvellous youth policy. The seeds of the greatness that Wolves went on to achieve in the 1950s, three championships, three times runners up, twice Cup winners, were sown in Buckley's seventeen year reign. He was a strong manager, who, skillfully trading in the transfer market, developed a homespun side at Molineux which, but for the war, might have become as dominant as the Wolves team of the Fifties. When he arrived at Molineux, the club were a struggling Division Two side, having lost their First Division status in 1906. The Black Country club had been founder members of the Football League in 1888, and won the Cup in 1893 and 1908, but those glorious days were long gone. They missed relegation to Division Three by just three points in both 1928 and 1929, but by 1932 the Buckley magic was working as the club won the Second Division championship, finishing a couple of points above runners up Leeds. In Buckley's early years at Wolves, he signed some outstanding players, including Bryn Jones and he also brought through future England half backs and captains Stan Cullis and Billy Wright. Although the Wolves team struggled initially, avoiding relegation the first year by just a couple of points. Gradually, Buckley managed to rebuild the club to such an extent that they were runners up in the League in both 1938 and 1939 and were one of the most feared sides in the country. After pipping Wolves for the title in the previous season, at the start of the 1938-39 season, the Gunners were seeking a replacement for schemer Alex James, who had recently retired. They broke the British transfer record by paying Buckley £14,000 to buy his Welsh inside forward Bryn Jones. Jones had been discoverd in Welsh Non-League football with Aberavon, costing nothing. The deal brought Buckley's total sales of players in four seasons to £110,000. Buckley's chief contribution to the subsequent Wolves success lay in his selection of Stan Cullis as captain of the club. Cullis, a natural leader of the old school, already believed in hierarchy and discipline, a faith further developed by his wartime service in the Army. When Stan Cullis retired following Wolves missing out on the championship again at the end of 1946-47 he was the obvious choice to become the next manager at Molineux. Cullis continued the regime introduced by Buckley, hard work in training, strict discipline at the club and all out attack on the field. After 17 years at Molineux, Buckley decided to end what had been described as a contract for life in February 1944. He moved on to Third Division Notts County, where he was paid £4,000 a year. He didn't achieve much in his couple of years at County and within hours of his resignation in January 1946, he took charge at Hull City, another Third Division side. As ever, Buckley continued to have a flair for publicity and in March 1948 he persuaded First Division Derby County to sell Raich Carter for a nominal fee. As well as playing, Carter would also be Buckley's Assistant Manager. It was only a temporary partnership and when Buckley resigned within weeks, Carter was given complete charge and Hull's attendances boomed. Willis Edwards had been demoted by Leeds after a disasterous year in which Leeds United had flirted with relegation to the Third Division in the 1947-48 season after ignominiously being relegated from Division One in the previous year. Realising their mistake in appointing Edwards, the Leeds board went for a big name to replace him and selected the sixty-four year old Buckley, who promptly resigned from Hull. Leeds had often struggled financially and the business acumen of Buckley was another attraction for them. In his time at Molineux he had generated a £100,000 profit one year and he was good at discovering and selling young talent, something he would have the opportunity to practice at Elland Road. Leeds fans remember Buckley for discovering John Charles, who signed for the club on his seventeenth birthday on 27th December 1948, and went on to become one of the biggest British stars of the 1950s. Buckley cleared out all the club's older players and raised the admission prices at Elland Road. In his first season, Leeds finished fifteenth. He had stopped the decline, with the team also showing promising signs. Tommy Burden, recommended by Willis Edwards, was signed from Chester. Buckley had known him since he was a teenager from his days at Wolves. He became captain and was very popular. Burden had the player's respect. Buckley brought innovation and eccentricity to Leeds. He introduced dance training to improve the players' agility and balance, with the PA blaring out music on the Elland Road PA system, and a number of odd mechanical devices, all designed to improve the players' skill with the ball. He organised and refereed practice matches for the younger players. Buckley had an abrasive side to his character and soon fell out with inside forward Ken Chisholm, an assertive Scot who had served in the RAF as a fighter pilot and scored seventeen goals in forty League matches for Leeds. So Chisholm went to Leicester City in an exchange deal that brought Ray Iggleden to Elland Road. As at Molineux, Buckley developed a strong youth policy and built impressive sides, despite continuing financial difficulties. He never got Leeds the promotion they craved, but established an attractive side, spearheaded by Charles, which was usually in the top five or six and made it through to the Cup sixth round for the first time in the club's history in 1950. He also traded effectively in the transfer market, buying cheap and selling big, as he had at Molineux. He bought Roly Depear a centre half from Boston for £500 in May 1948, and just over a year later had sold him to Newport for a £7,500 profit. Two of his biggest sales were internationals Con Martin and Aubrey Powell, each of whom attracted five figure fees. That was typical of the man and Leeds United's financial position strengthened noticeably under Buckley. Despite the importance of Charles to his side, Buckley's business acumen always shone through. Charles would have fetched Leeds a small fortune. But, as yet, he was not keen to go, and the directors had no desire to sell him. Despite all the idiosyncrasies and flamboyance, Buckley knew exactly what he was doing and built a strong, if erratic, side around John Charles, which came close to promotion a couple of times. He had started with Leeds in a very precarious position and improved from eighteenth in Division two the season before his arrival, to stabilize the club and achieve a fifteenth spot in his first season of 1948/49. The real improvement came as his new charges started to gel with a fifth place and an FA Cup run to the Quarter Finals in 1949/50. This was followed by a fifth in 1950-51 and a sixth in 1951-52 but with everyone expecting promotion, the club slumped to a disappointing tenth place finish. After five years at Elland Road, and then aged seventy, Buckley decided he could take them no further with the limited funds available and resigned in April 1953. He moved on to manage Midlands club Walsall, another Third Division outfit, but left in September 1955 at seventy-two years old, perhaps realising that his authoritarian approach was out of touch with the post war game. He died in Walsall, aged eighty-two, on 22nd December 1964.

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