(Frank) Buckley was born in Urmston, near Manchester, on 3rd
October, 1882. His father, John Buckley, was a sergeant in the
British Army and was responsible for the military training of
the local yeomanry and territorial units.
Buckley won a scholarship to St Francis Xavier's College for
Boys in Liverpool. He enjoyed the sports and physical activities
that were an integral part of the Jesuit philosophy of Muscular
Christianity an idea developed by Charles Kingsley and Thomas
In 1898 Buckley left school and began work as an office clerk.
He was also a member of the 1st Volunteer Battalion of the
Manchester Regiment. On 24th February 1900 he signed-up for a 12
year engagement with the 2nd Battalion of the King's Liverpool
Regiment. He expected to be sent to South Africa to fight in the
Boer War but instead was dispatched to Ireland.
In September 1900 he was promoted to the rank of Corporal. By
1902 he was a Lance-Sergeant and the following year he gained
the rank of Gymnastics Instructor (First Class). While in
Ireland he represented the regiment at football, cricket and
A talented footballer, he played for King's Liverpool Regiment
against the Lancashire Fusiliers in the final of the Irish Cup.
He was "spotted" by a scout from Aston Villa who suggested he go
to England for a trial. He did this and George Ramsay persuaded
him to join the club. On 30th April 1903, Buckley paid a fee of
£18 to buy himself out of the army.
Buckley joined a team that included Jimmy Crabtree, Alex Leake,
Howard Spencer, John Devey, George Wheldon, Stephen Smith,
George Johnson, Bobby Templeton and Charlie Athersmith. Buckley
failed to make the first team and the following year, along with
his brother, Christopher Buckley, moved to Brighton & Hove
Albion in the Southern League.
In 1906 Buckley joined Manchester United. He made his debut
against Derby County on 29th September 1906. He joined a team
that included Charlie Roberts, John Picken, John Peddie, Sandy
Turnbull, George Wall, Jimmy Turnbull, Billy Meredith, Charlie
Sagar, Dick Duckworth and Alec Bell.
A centre-half, Buckley served as understudy to Charlie Roberts,
who at the time was playing for England in this position. He
spent most of the time in the reserves. In April 1907 Thomas
Blackstock collapsed after heading a ball during a reserve game
against St. Helens Town. Buckley, who was standing nearby,
helped to carry Bradstock, who was only 25 years old to the
changing-room. Blackstock died soon afterwards. An inquest into
his death returned a verdict of "Natural Causes" but Buckley
believed he had died of a heart-attack or seizure.
After only playing three games for Manchester United Buckley
decided to move to neighbors Manchester City. He played in 11
games in the 1907-08 season before joining Birmingham City.
Buckley earned himself a regular place in Birmingham's
first-team and scored 4 goals in 55 games during the next two
In May 1911 Buckley joined Derby County in the Second Division.
Buckley and the team's top goal scorer, Steve Bloomer, played an
important role in Derby winning the league title and promotion
to the First Division of the Football League in the 1911-12
season. Buckley was described by one football journalist as
being "tall, heavily built, pivotal, hard-working and forceful
Buckley won his first international cap for England against
Ireland on 14th February, 1914. The English team that day
included Bob Crompton, Sam Hardy, Edwin Latheron, Jesse
Pennington and Danny Shea. England lost the game 3-0 and Buckley
was dropped from the team.
After scoring 3 goals in 92 games for Derby County Buckley moved
to Bradford City in May 1914. Buckley only played in four games
for his new club before the outbreak of the First World War. In
October 1914, the Secretary of State, Lord Kitchener, issued a
call for volunteers to both replace those killed in the early
battles of the war.
On 12th December William Joynson Hicks established the 17th
Service (Football) Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment. This
became known as the Football Battalion. According to Frederick
Wall, the secretary of the Football Association, Buckley was the
first person to join the Football Battalion. The first
commanding officer was Henry Fenwick, a career soldier. As
Buckley had previous experience in the British Army he was given
the rank of Lieutenant. He eventually was promoted to the rank
Within a few weeks the 17th Battalion had its full complement of
600 men. However, few of these men were footballers. Most of the
recruits were local men who wanted to be in the same battalion
as their football heroes. For example, a large number who joined
were supporters of Chelsea and Queen's Park Rangers who wanted
to serve with Vivian Woodward and Evelyn Lintott.
The Football Association eventually called for all professional
footballers who were not married, to join the armed forces. Some
newspapers suggested that those who did not join up were
"contributing to a German victory." The Athletic News responded
angrily: "The whole agitation is nothing less than an attempt by
the ruling classes to stop the recreation on one day in the week
of the masses ... What do they care for the poor man's sport?
The poor are giving their lives for this country in thousands.
In many cases they have nothing else... These should, according
to a small clique of virulent snobs, be deprived of the one
distraction that they have had for over thirty years."
By March 1915, it was reported that 122 professional footballers
had joined the battalion. This included the whole of the Clapton
Orient (later renamed Leyton Orient) first team. Three of them
were later killed on the Western Front. At the end of the year
Walter Tull who had played for Tottenham Hotspur, Northampton
Town and Glasgow Rangers joined the battalion. Buckley soon
recognized Tull's leadership qualities and he was quickly
promoted to the rank of sergeant.
On 15th January 1916, the Football Battalion reached the
front-line. During a two-week period in the trenches four
members of the Football Battalion were killed and 33 were
wounded. This included Vivian Woodward who was hit in the leg
with a hand grenade. The injury to his right thigh was so
serious that he was sent back to England to recover.
Major Buckley's batman, Thomas Brewer, who had played football
for Queen's Park Rangers, was killed by a German sniper. Buckley
was so upset by Brewer's death that he offered to pay for the
education of his three children.
The Football Battalion had taken heavy casualties during the
Somme offensive in July. This included the death of England
international footballer, Evelyn Lintott. Major Buckley was also
seriously injured during this offensive when metal shrapnel had
hit him in the chest and had punctured his lungs. George Pyke,
who played for Newcastle United, later wrote: "A stretcher party
was passing the trench at the time. They asked if we had a
passenger to go back. They took Major Buckley but he seemed so
badly hit, you would not think he would last out as far as the
Casualty Clearing Station."
Buckley was sent to a military hospital in Kent and after
operating on him, surgeons were able to remove the shrapnel from
his body. However, his lungs were badly damaged and was never
able to play football again.
In January 1917 Buckley was back on the Western Front. The
Football Battalion attacked German positions at Argenvillers.
Buckley was "mentioned in dispatches" as a result of the bravery
he showed during the hand-to-hand fighting that took place
during the offensive. The Germans used poison gas during this
battle and Buckley's already damaged lungs were unable to cope
and he was sent back home to recuperate.
In 1919 Frederick Wall, the secretary of the Football
Association, suggested that Buckley should become manager of
Norwich City in the Southern League. Buckley developed the
reputation for finding talented young players. According to
Patrick A. Quirke, the author of The Major: The Life and Times
of Frank Buckley (2006): "Buckley relied on tips and advice from
his old Army comrades who lived in various areas around Britain.
This country-wide scouting network, which he was to call upon
time and again during his long managerial career, was the envy
of many, as his scouts were all former players and knew what to
look for in a young footballer."
While at Norwich City Buckley discovered Samuel Jennings, a
miner, playing for Basford United. However, the club was in
serious financial difficulties and Buckley was forced to sell
Jennings to Middlesbrough for £2,500. In March 1920 a Football
League made an illegal approach for one of Buckley's young
players. When the directors refused to make a complaint to the
Football Association, Buckley left the club.
For the next three years Buckley worked as a commercial
traveler for Maskell's, a confectionary manufacturer based in
London. The job involved travelling all over England. While
travelling on a train in 1923 he met Albert Hargreaves, a
director of Blackpool football club. He arranged a meeting with
Blackpool's president, Linsay Parkinson, and as a result he was
appointed manager of the club. At that time Blackpool was in the
Second Division of the Football League.
Buckley's first decision was to abandon Blackpool's traditional
strip and brought in players' shirts of bright orange, or
tangerine as it became known. Buckley wanted the club to be seen
as "bright and vibrant" and a representative of the "new age".
In his first season Blackpool finished 4th. The club's star
player was Harry Bedford, who was the country's top goal scorer
with 34 goals. After scoring 112 goals in 169 games for
Blackpool, Bedford was transferred to Derby County for £3,000 in
Buckley signed William Tremelling from Retford Town as a
replacement for Harry Bedford. He made his Football League debut
against Manchester United in March 1925. Unfortunately, he broke
his leg the following season and did not return to the team
until the 1926-27 season. Tremelling ended up as the club's
leading scorer with 30 goals in 26 games.
Buckley believed strongly in the importance of physical fitness.
He imposed strick orders as to what the players could eat and
drink. They were instructed to have early nights two days prior
to a fixture and not to socialize during this time. Buckley
introduced physiotherapy and gained a reputation for getting
injured players back to fitness in a short time.
In May 1927 Buckley moved to Wolverhampton Wanderers. As Patrick
A. Quirke, the author of The Major: The Life and Times of Frank
Buckley pointed out: "His experience at both Blackpool and
Norwich of acquiring skilled and talented players at little or
no cost and then selling them on at a healthy profit was
extremely appealing to those concerned with club finances."
As at Blackpool he introduced a new football strip. He designed
the shirts himself. They were deep gold with black trimmings. He
also brought in new training methods he had used at Blackpool.
This included exercises with Indian clubs and weight training.
Buckley gave each of his players a small pocket book in which
was printed details of the conduct he expected from them. As
well as advice on not smoking, he insisted that they did not go
out socializing for a least two days prior to a match. Buckley
also informed the Wolverhampton public of these regulations and
asked them to contact him if they saw a player breaking the
Over the years Buckley built up a network of football scouts who
attempted to discover talented young players. In 1927 he
purchased Dai Richards from Merthyr Town. This was followed by
Reg Hollingsworth, a centre-half from Sutton Junction, Billy
Barraclough from Hull City, Billy Hartill a centre-forward who
was playing for the Royal Horse Artillery and Charlie Phillips
from Ebbw Vale.
Noel George, the club goalkeeper, was diagnosed as being
terminally ill with a disease of the gums and died in 1929. He
had played in 292 games for Wolves. Buckley was convinced that
George's death was due to ill-fitting dentures. From that time
on he made sure that all his players who wore dentures were
examined by a dentist every six months.
Wolves lost to lowly Mansfield Town 1-0 in the FA Cup in 1929.
Buckley was so upset with the performance of his players that he
organized a training-run through Wolverhampton town centre for
the first-team players on a market-day during the following
In the 1929-30 season Billy Hartill scored 33 goals in 36 games.
This included all five against Notts County at Molineaux.
Despite these goals Wolves could only finish in 9th place in the
The following season Wolves finished 4th in the Second Division.
Billy Hartill was again top scorer with 30 goals in 39
appearances. Buckley added Tom Smalley for his first-team squad
in 1931. He was a coalminer who had been playing his football
for South Kirkby Colliery. Smalley was to develop into an
important member of the team.
Billy Hartill scored 30 goals with hat-tricks against Plymouth
Argyle, Bristol City, Southampton and Oldham Athletic, in the
1931-32 season and helped the club win the Second Division
championship. Charlie Phillips was also in great form adding 18.
The club scored 118 goals that season.
The championship winning team that season included only one
player that had not been signed by Buckley. The Wolverhampton
Express and Star report on the success included the following
tribute: "By his splendid work with the Wolves he has built up a
reputation as a football manager second to none in the
country... At the Molineux Ground he has proved himself a
splendid judge of a player. His ability to find a young talent
is unequalled and despite the handicaps with which he is faced
when joining the club he has discovered a whole team, which has
taken Wolves into the highest flight."
In August, 1933, Buckley purchased Bryn Jones from Aberaman for
a fee of £1,500. In his first season at Wolves he scored 10
goals in 27 appearances. Although very popular with the fans,
Jones was unable to immediately turn Wolves into a successful
side. Billy Hartill remained in good form scoring 33 goals. This
included four against Huddersfield Town and hat-tricks against
Blackburn Rovers and Derby County. In the 1933-34 season they
finished in 15th place in the First Division. However, crowd
attendances had doubled and the board declared profits of
Stan Cullisjoined Wolves in 1934. Cullis later recalled: "Major
Buckley, apparently, decided very quickly that I might make a
captain." When Cullis was only 18 years old and in the "A" team
he was told by Buckley: "Cullis, if you listen and do as you are
told, I will make you captain of Wolves one day."
1934 also saw the arrival of Jimmy Utterson, a goalkeeper from
Glenavon in the Irish League. Unfortunately, he only played in
12 games before he died from head injuries he had received in a
game against Middlesbrough.
Major Buckley continued to search for new talent and in 1934 he
signed Billy Wrigglesworth, a winger from Chesterfield, David
Martin from Belfast Celtic and Tom Galley, a midfielder, from
Notts County. In the 1934-35 season Wolves finished in 17th
place in the First Division winning only 15 of their 42 games.
Billy Hartill was again top scorer with 33 goals.
In 1935 Buckley signed Alex Scott, a goalkeeper, for a fee of
£1,250 from Burnley. However, he upset the Wolves' fans by
selling Billy Hartill to Everton. A few months later he sold
Charlie Phillips to Aston Villa for £9,000. It seemed that
Buckley and the Wolves board were more concerned with making a
profit than winning the First Division championship. Wolves
again struggled in the 1935-36 season finishing in 15th place,
only five points above the relegated teams, Aston Villa and
Wolves started the 1936-37 season badly. They won only four
games out of their first 14 and after a 2-1 defeat at home to
Chelsea the crowd invaded the pitch from the South Bank and
called for the resignation of Major Buckley. The crowd uprooted
the goalposts before police reinforcements restored order.
Buckley was offered police protection but he refused and walked
home alone. Newspaper reports suggest that over 2,000 people
were involved in the demonstration against Buckley.
Buckley later recalled that the main cause of this hostility was
his policy of selling established players in order to balance
the books. However, he argued this enabled him to play, younger,
more talented players who became known as the "Buckley Babes".
In January 1937, Buckley again upset the Wolves' fans by selling
Billy Wrigglesworth to Manchester United, who had the very good
record for a winger, scoring 21 goals in 50 games for the club.
However, Wolves had a good run in the league after Christmas and
eventually finished in 5th place behind champions Manchester
In the summer of 1937 Buckley was approached by a chemist called
Menzies Sharp. He claimed he had a "secret remedy that would
give the players confidence". It is believed that Sharp's ideas
were based on the experiments of Serge Voronoff, a French
doctor, who had been born in Russia. Between 1917 and 1926,
Voronoff carried out over five hundred transplantations on sheep
and goats, and also on a bull, grafting testicles from younger
animals to older ones. Voronoff's observations indicated that
the transplantations caused the older animals to regain the
vigor of younger animals.
Sharp's "gland treatment" involved a course of twelve
injections. Buckley later explained: "To be honest, I was rather
sceptical about this treatment and thought it best to try it out
on myself first. The treatment lasted three or four months. Long
before it was over I felt so much benefit that I asked the
players if they would be willing to undergo it and that is how
the gland treatment became general at Molineux."
Two Wolves players, Dicky Dorsett and Don Bilton, refused to
undergo the "gland treatment". According to Patrick A. Quirke,
the author of The Major: The Life and Times of Frank Buckley
(2007): "Dorsett, a well-established and experienced footballer,
had stood up to Major Buckley's insistence (some might say
bullying) on a number of occasions."
Don Bilton recalls that he was signed by Major Buckley from York
City. On his arrival at the club he was instructed by Buckley to
report to the medical room for gland injections. Bilton replied:
"I'm sorry Sir, but I am only seventeen and still under my
father's guidance. He will not want me to have injections."
Buckley told him that he was under contract and had to do as he
was told. Bilton's father went to see Buckley the following day
and after a heated row the manager backed-down. However, Bilton
claimed that: "Buckley was not at all pleased by this and I
never did much good at Wolves after that!"
Rumours circulated that Wolves players were being injected with
"gland extracts from animals". Tommy Lawton, who was a member of
the Everton team that lost 7-0 to Wolves, believed that these
injections were improving the performance of the players. He
claimed that before the game he tried to speak to Stan Cullis
but "he walked past me with glazed eyes".
On 9th April, 1938, Dicky Dorsett and Dennis Westcott both
scored four goals when Wolves beat Leicester City 10-1. After
this defeat the club complained to Montague Lyons, the Leicester
member of the House of Commons that the Wolves players were
being injected with monkey glands. Lyons demanded that the
government instigate an investigation into this treatment. When
Walter Elliot, the Minister of Health, rejected this request,
Emanuel Shinwell, the Labour MP, suggested that considering
Wolves' impressive form, ministers of the Conservative
government should be put on a course of these injections.
The Football League carried out an investigation into the
"monkey gland" treatment. However, it refused to ban these
injections but they did arrange for a circular to be posted in
the dressing rooms of every club in England and Wales. This
declared that players could take monkey glands but only on a
At the beginning of the next season Buckley appointed Stan
Cullis as captain of Wolves. In his autobiography, All for the
Wolves (1960), Cullis claimed: "Buckley spent many hours
drilling me in the precious art of captaincy, telling me in no
ambiguous terms that I was to be the boss on the field. No
youngster of eighteen could ask for a better instructor than the
major, who laid the foundations of the modern Wolves during his
sixteen years at Molineux".
Patrick A. Quirke, the author of The Major: The Life and Times
of Frank Buckley argues that Buckley developed a unique style of
management: "At whichever club he was at, to his players Major
Buckley was not only their manager; he was their coach and
trainer.... Buckley used training methods that might now be seen
as crude forms of psychological behavior modification."
For example, Gordon Clayton, the Wolves centre-forward, went
through a barren period when he was unable to score. He got
barracked by the Molineux crowd so badly that he considered
giving up the game. Buckley considered him a "grand
centre-forward" and argued that it would be a "football tragedy"
if this happened. Buckley's wife suggested that Clayton should
have a "course of psychology" with a local doctor. This was a
great success and Clayton went on to score 14 goals in the next
After finishing the course of treatment Gordon Clayton wrote to
Dorothy Buckley: "I just learnt that it was you who was actually
responsible for my treatment. I am very pleased with my success
so far and I know you will be equally pleased. I cannot really
thank you enough for what you have done... As you no doubt know
the very name of Wolverhampton Wanderers was a nightmare to me.
I detested the place. I do not think I was liked or respected by
a single person with the exception of Major Buckley, who I have
no doubt was always interested in my welfare, even though I must
have exasperated him often."
Major Buckley did not like the idea of football players being
married. He thought that wives might "get in the way" of players
concentrating on developing their skills. He also thought that a
wife's anxiety about her husband's safety might affect him and
his performance. Buckley had forty players in his 1937 squad and
all were bachelors.
Buckley developed a more direct style of playing football. "It
was simply the task of the defenders to get the ball forward as
quickly as possible and not to over-elaborate their roles. The
wingers were to take opposition defenders on and cross the ball
to the central attackers whose job it was to put the ball in the
net... He wanted fewer dribbling moves and more passing." Stan
Cullis said that players were expected to do exactly as Major
Buckley ordered otherwise "you'd very soon be on your bicycle to
In the 1930s football teams travelled to away grounds on the day
of the match. Buckley observed that players often arrived tired
and fatigued. He therefore arranged for players to stay
overnight in hotels when playing distant away fixtures. Buckley
even argued "that where possible players should be ferried to
games by air" and predicted that in future every top club would
have its own helicopter to do this.
It was claimed that sometimes Buckley resorted to underhand
tricks. John Jones of Everton recalls going to Molineaux and
finding the ground "a sea of mud" even though there had been no
rain for sometime. Jones complained that "we were on our bottoms
more than our feet" during the game whereas Wolves had no
trouble in this regard as they were all wearing long studs.
Everton complained to the Football Association about what had
happened and soon afterwards the FA banned the over-watering of
Buckley wanted to take his team on a tour of Europe before the
start of the 1937-38 season. However, the Football Association
refused permission for this to go-ahead due to "the numerous
reports of misconduct by players of the Wolverhampton Wanderers
Club during the past two seasons." There had been seven
while Buckley was manager of the club. However, as Buckley
pointed out, four of these were accounted for by two players,
Charlie Phillips and Alex Scott.
Stan Cullis and his teammates wrote to the FA claiming: "We
would like to state that far from advocating the rough play we
are accused of, Major Buckley is constantly reminding us of the
importance of playing good, clean and honest football, and we as
a team consider you have been most unjust in administering this
caution to our manager."
Major Buckley was gradually building up a very good squad that
included Stan Cullis, Gordon Clayton, Bill Morris, Dennis
Westcott, George Ashall, Alex Scott, Jack Taylor, Tom Galley,
Dicky Dorsett, Bill Parker, Bryn Jones, Joe Gardiner and Teddy
Buckley sold Gordon Clayton to Aston Villa in October 1937.
Dennis Westcott replaced Clayton as centre-forward and scored
his first hat-trick against Swansea City. In the 1937-38 season
Wolves finished second to the mighty Arsenal in the First
Division. Westcott finished the season as top scorer with 22
goals in 28 appearances.
At the time, Arsenal dominated the First Division championship,
having won it four times in six years. Alex James, their
creative inside-forward, had recently retired. The club was
looking for a replacement and Buckley decided to sell his star
player, Bryn Jones for the world record fee of £14,000 (£6.9
million in today's money). Politicians were outraged by the
money spent on Jones and the subject was debated in the House of
Commons. Buckley later recalled that people would spit at him
and his wife as they walked around Wolverhampton after he sold
As Stan Cullis pointed out: "Throughout the middle years of the
1930s, Major Buckley steadily built up the team he believed
would capture most of the honors in England. From the large
numbers of lads he brought to Molineux for trials, he signed
enough professionals both to form his team and to bring in a
fortune from the transfer market. At a time when a five-figure
transfer fee still astounded the football public, Major Buckley
earned £130,000 for Wolves in five years before the 1939-45 war.
This spell established Wolves as one of the wealthiest football
clubs in Britain."
In 1938 Major Buckley agreed a new ten-year contract with
Wolves. He told the local newspaper: "Since coming to
Wolverhampton ten years ago I have become so bitten by the
Wanderers bug that no other club could ever interest me. It has
been a pleasure to work in the town and, while we have had our
differences, they have been plainly stated. I shall be happy to
spend my football life with the club I so love."
In the 1938-39 season Wolves finished second to Everton. The
centre-forward Dennis Westcott scored 43 goals in 43
appearances. His fellow striker, Dicky Dorsett managed 26 goals
that season. The captain of the side, Stan Cullis, was generally
acknowledged as the best centre-half in the Football League.
That season also saw the arrival of teenagers, Billy Wright, Joe
Rooney and Jimmy Mullen, in the side.
Wolves also enjoyed a good run in the FA Cup and beat Leicester
City (5-1), Liverpool (4-1), Everton (2-0), Grimsby Town (5-0)
to reach the final against Portsmouth at Wembley. Wolves lost
the final 4-1 with Dicky Dorsett scoring their only goal. Major
Buckley's Wolves became the first team in the history of English
football to be runners-up in the sport's two major competitions
in the same year. Afterwards, it was discovered that the
Portsmouth players, like those of Wolves, had also been injected
with monkey glands.
The outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 brought an end to
the Football League. Buckley attempted to re-join the British
Army but at the age of 56 he was considered too old. However, he
did encourage all his players to join and according to the
Football Association publication, Victory Was The Goal (1945),
between 3 September 1939 and the end of the war, 91 men joined
the armed forces from the club.
In 1940 Buckley took command of a Home Guard unit in
Wolverhampton. Buckley held nightly meetings at the local
Territorial Army Hall that was situated near his home at St
Jude's Court. According to Patrick A. Quirke, the author of The
Major: The Life and Times of Frank Buckley: "Being totally
dedicated to individual physical fitness, Major Buckley would
often march his men to the Molineux where they would use the
club's exercising facilities and the pitch itself as a training
The government imposed a fifty mile travelling limit on all
football teams and the Football League divided all the clubs
into seven regional areas where games could take place. Wolves
joined the Midland League with West Bromwich Albion, Birmingham
City, Coventry City, Luton Town, Northampton Town, Leicester
City and Walsall. Wolves won the 1939-40 championship. Top
scorers were Dennis Westcott (26), Dicky Dorsett (16) Jimmy
Mullen (7) and Billy Wright (5).
Wolves also won the Football League War Cup in 1942 beating
Sunderland 4-1. The team included Eric Robinson who was to be
tragically killed during a military training exercise soon
afterwards. Joe Rooney was killed in action in 1943. Bill
Shorthouse was badly wounded during the D-Day landings but
survived to play for Wolverhampton Wanderers after the war.
Buckley retained his belief in youth and in September 1942 he
gave a debut to Cameron Buchanan. At the age of fourteen years
and fifty-seven days he was probably the youngest teenager to
play for a Football League club. He played in a further 11 games
before joining Bournemouth before the end of the war. Buckley
also played Emilo Aldecoa, a political refugee who had been
forced out of his own country by the Spanish Civil War.
Buckley resigned as manager of Wolves on 8th February 1944. This
shocked the directors as they had given him a ten-year contract
in 1938. During his 18 years at the helm, Buckley made £100,000
for Wolves in transfer dealings. The following month he joined
Notts County in the Third Division on the extraordinary wage of
£4,500 a year. While at his new club he signed Jesse Pye. He
later sold him for £10,000 to Ted Vizard, the new manager of
In May 1946 Buckley moved to Hull City, another Third Division
side. The club finished in 5th place in the 1947-48 season. In
May 1948 Buckley joined Leeds United. In his first season he
signed John Charles, who was later to become a football
superstar. Buckley later commented: "I shall never forget that
morning when I first met John Charles. I was sitting in my
office when they bought in a giant of a boy. He told me he was
fifteen. He stood 6ft and weighed more than 11st."
Buckley was unable to get Leeds United promoted to the First
Division and in April 1953 he moved to Walsall. Buckley was now
aged seventy. Although he still had plenty of energy, "his
scouting network, so long the mainstay of his talent spotting,
was breaking up as his scouts became old and retired." The club
finished bottom of the Third Division in the 1953-54 season and
Buckley retired the following year.
Frank Buckley died of heart-failure at his home in Mellish Road,
Walsall on 22nd December 1964. The funeral took place in
Wolverhampton and his ashes were scattered on the Malvern Hills.