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Legendary Wolves and Walsall boss Major Frank Buckley awarded Contribution to League Football Award

Walsall | Sport | Published:

Legendary Wolves and Walsall boss Major Frank Buckley has been awarded the Contribution to League Football Award.

Buckley, who managed Wolves between 1927 and 1944 - laying the foundations for the famous side of the 1950s - was recognised at last night's Football League Awards.

Born in Lancashire in 1882, Buckley enjoyed a career as a brave, no-nonsense centre-half with six clubs before becoming one of the first players to join the so-called 'Footballers' Battalion' at the outbreak of the First World War.

He would go on to be its second in command, leading his men at Delville Wood during the 1916 Somme offensive.

Wounded in the shoulder and lung, Buckley was forced to retire from playing but proceeded to carve out a distinguished career as a manager, where he was regarded as ahead of his time.

Wolves chief executive Jez Moxey said: "Not only did he have such great success, he did so much for the game.

"The most incredible thing is he predicted what would happen in the future.

"For example, he said there would be all-seater stadiums, restaurants in stadiums - things people could never imagine back then.

"He was very keen on developing young players and in effect started academies."

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Buckley, known throughout his managerial career as "The Major", managed Norwich and Blackpool before arriving at Molineux.

During his 17 year stay he lifted Wolves from the brink of relegation to the Third Division to the heights of the First, laying the foundations for the great Wolves side of the 1950s that would go on to dominate English football.

War intervened again and having attempted to enlist at the age of 56, he served his country in the Home Guard. Post-war he went on to manage Notts County, Hull City, Leeds United and finally the Saddlers before retiring at the age of 72.

Last December marked the 50th anniversary of his death in 1964, aged 82.

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Buckley's great grandson, Chris Jones, collected the award - a gold trophy - on his behalf at a ceremony in London, in front of over 600 guests from clubs, sponsors and the football industry.

Football League chairman, Greg Clarke, added: "The personal sacrifice made by Major Frank Buckley during the First World War and his achievements as a player and as an outstanding manager mark him out as a supremely worthy winner of this award.

"Last December marked 50 years since his passing and through this award we hope we can help keep his memory alive."

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