Buckle a contender

FORMER Colchester United midfielder Paul Buckle has emerged as a possible contender for the vacant managerial post at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

Carl Marston

FORMER Colchester United midfielder Paul Buckle has emerged as a possible contender for the vacant managerial post at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

Buckle has been making a name for himself in Devon, having masterminded Torquay United's return to the Football League via the play-offs in May.

The 38-year-old was a member of the U's team, under Steve Wignall, that clinched promotion via the play-offs in 1998, ironically with a 1-0 win over Torquay at Wembley.

Speculation has been rife, ever since Paul Lambert left the U's to be appointed the new Norwich City manager on Tuesday morning, concerning possible candidates for the U's hot seat.

Some big names have been banded around, including ex-Watford manager Aidy Boothroyd, current Cheltenham boss Martin Allen and even ex-England striker Teddy Sheringham (former U's player), while several up-and-coming managers might also fit the bill.

Most Read

Buckle heads this group, which includes the likes of Brentford boss Andy Scott, Exeter manager Paul Tisdale, Aldershot manager Gary Waddock and Cheltenham boss Allen.

However, the U's have not had a tradition of luring managers away from other clubs. Lambert himself had already resigned as Wycombe boss five months before his appointment at the Community Stadium.

Previous managers Geraint Williams and Steve Whitton were both appointed from within, while Phil Parkinson was recruited from Charlton, where he was a player-coach.

U's Chief Executive Steve Bradshaw has already stated that there will be “no knee-jerk reaction” in appointing the new manager.

He has suggested a maximum time-scale of three weeks, although with the transfer deadline fast approaching at the end of this month, the U's could still be encouraged to appoint before then.

Buckle's background fits the bill. He spent three years at Layer Road as a central midfielder in the second half of the 1990s, playing more than 100 league games for the U's.

He was appointed the new boss at Torquay in 2007, with the club experiencing financial problems off the pitch and struggling on it following relegation from the Football League.

He worked his magic almost immediately, taking the Gulls to two successive play-offs. They lost the first to Devon rivals Exeter, one of his former clubs, in the semi-finals, but beat Cambridge in last summer's final.

Buckle is believed to be on the point of signing a new contract at Plainmoor, which would extend his stay to the summer of 2011. His current deal lasts until next summer.

But he might just be interested in moving up a division to manage Colchester, if approached.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter