In the last few hours, there’s been a major shift at the bookies in the Lincoln City hunt for a head coach.
From nowhere, Des Buckingham surged up the odds, starting the morning without odds and finishing at 4/6 before the market was taken down completely. I don’t normally put much stock in betting odds, but when a market closes after such a huge amount of activity, it’s worth assessing.
I’m also quite pleased with myself because if Des Buckingham were to be our future head coach, you heard about him first here. Yes, you did, but only if you read my piece on ten alternative head coaches we should appoint way back on October 20th. Back then, I described Buckingham as ‘bright as a button’ and said that tempting him to Sincil Bank would be a major coup. If the bookies closing the market is an indication of Buckingham coming to us (bear in mind, he was listed in the Oxford odds, but now isn’t), then I think we could be on the cusp of getting in a top coach.
Just three days ago, he managed his Mumbai City team against Al Hilal SFC (Neymar’s team) in the AFC Champions League in front of 30,000 fans. He’s been on an upward trajectory throughout his career, which started as an apprentice at Reading and Oxford United. With the U’s, he shifted to coaching at 18 and worked his way up through the age groups, eventually coaching the first team under manager Chris Wilder.
An incredible atmosphere and support from over 30,000 passionate fans, a proud and memorable night. pic.twitter.com/CEcXbFxVp4
— Des Buckingham (@DesBuckingham) November 7, 2023
He moved to New Zealand with Wellington Phoenix, saving them from relegation before coming back to coach Stoke City Under 23s. He was back in New Zealand a year or so later, managing the country’s Under 20 squad. Whilst there, he drew praise for his attacking style of play, something that felt evolutionary for the country. In 2018, he won the OFC U-20 Championship before stepping up to the Under 23s. There, he won the 2019 Pacific Games and the OFC U-23 Championship; he even had a spell as caretaker manager of the senior team.
He moved into club management in 2020, helping Melbourne City to their first-ever A-League title in Australia – shortly after they completed the double by winning the A-League Grand Final. That earned him a move to India, where his Mumbai City team won their first Indian Super League title. They did so on the back of an 18-match unbeaten streak (the longest in ISL history), breaking 15 different records whilst securing the success. In May, he was voted Coach of the Year at the FPAI Awards.
Buckingham is a deeply intelligent man – he is a qualified ski instructor and holds a pilot’s license, as well as a Master’s degree in advanced performance football coaching. He’s a really interesting character and, dare I say, the sort of new-breed coach that a forward-thinking Championship club would have done well to snare. If he is the new man for us, then it demonstrates a shift in gears in terms of the quality we’re able to attract.
I’d be very excited if we were to announce Des Buckingham. Very excited.