Ahead of Phoenix's clash in Perth tonight, we have the back story on a fresh coaching face in the Hyundai A-League: Englishman Des Buckingham.
He’s one half of Wellington Phoenix’s coaching team, handed the reins for the remainder of the Hyundai A-League 2016/17 Season.
And while most avid A-League fans know Chris Greenacre from his playing days at the club and now an assistant coach for a few seasons, not many have heard of the other man charged of resurrecting Phoenix’s season.
Englishman Buckingham was a goalkeeper in his younger days but never graduated to the professional ranks.
He had stints in the youth set-ups at both Reading and Oxford United but after it became apparent a playing career wouldn’t materialise, he turned his hand to coaching.
Ernie Merrick’s shock resignation last month saw Buckingham thrust into the spotlight as interim coach alongside Greenacre.
Their impact was immediate, winning their first match in charge in round 10 with a 3-0 demolition of Central Coast Mariners.
That was followed by three straight draws, convincing the club to hand the pair the job until the end of the season.
Due to the fact Buckingham has completed his Pro Licence – just last October – he is officially Phoenix’s head coach with Greenacre (who holds an A Licence) a co-coach.
Coaching in England
His first role came with his local side Oxford, coaching the club’s under-9s as well as doing other part-time roles while completing his coaching badges.
From mentoring youngsters, Buckingham then graduated to older players in his next position at the Oxford and Cherwell Valley College.
He got the job by chance. Another coach failed to show up to fulfil the role so Buckingham was drafted in due to the fact he had the required UEFA B Licence.
His four years at the college not only allowed him to mature as a coach but learn a whole range of different tools required to be successful, such as man-management, physiotherapy and sports science.
Buckingham then returned to Oxford United after that, working his way through the coaching ranks in 11 years at the club, all the way to becoming first-team coach.
But he wanted a new challenge.
Move to New Zealand
In 2013, Buckingham made the decision to leave England and head to NZ after accepting a position as a Development Manager at Waikato Bay of Plenty.
Buckingham had desire to be a full-time manager and saw this is a chance to get more experience in that side of the game.
He was soon picked up by Capital Football for a similar role and then got an opportunity to be involved with Phoenix during the 2014/15 Season.
With a UEFA goalkeeping A Licence to his name, he became Phoenix’s part-time goalkeeping coach with the Phoenix early in 2015.
After making quite an impression on coach Ernie Merrick due to his vast knowledge of all aspects of the game, that role soon progressed to a full-time assistant coaching position for the start of the current campaign.After those days in Oxford all the way to windy Wellington,Buckingham now has the task of trying to reinvigorate the side's fortunes in the Hyundai A-League and make something from this season.