New Felixstowe & Walton United boss Steve Buckle targets mid-table finish

STEVE Buckle is targeting a mid-table finish after taking over the reins at Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division side Felixstowe & Walton United.

Buckle was yesterday confirmed as the new manager of the Seasiders, who have struggled to avoid relegation in each of the last two seasons, after Kevin Witchalls and assistant Rob Charles stood down.

The 51-year-old, who has been part of the management team at Woodbridge Town after parting company with Ipswich Wanderers last October, is a former Felixstowe player and assistant manager.

He joined Felixstowe Town in 1989 for a season before returning to Sudbury Town, and then subsequently rejoined the Seasiders for a further two seasons. Midfielder Buckle netted 29 league goals and 35 in all competitions in one season at Dellwood Avenue.

He returned for one-and-a-half seasons as assistant manager to Steve Potts, helping the club to runners-up spot in 2005/06 and promotion back to the Premier Division, prior to landing the manager’s job at Ipswich Wanderers.

Buckle said: “I was asked if I was interested in the position and agreed to meet the club, and everything was very, very positive. My aim is to improve the team every year, and hopefully aim to finish half-way in the table next season, which would be a successful season.”

Buckle’s assistant and first-team coach will be ex-Ipswich Town, Colchester and Felixstowe player Gary Thompson, who he worked with at Ipswich Wanderers.

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“We agree on most things, such as how we want to play, and work well together. Gary has had a year out of the game and is looking forward to it. We will meet the players for the first time next Tuesday and take it from there, but with our contacts we will hopefully get a few new players on board.”

Club chairman-elect Andy Wilding said: “We were pleasantly surprised at the number of applicants for the position, but feel in Steve and Gary we have made the correct choice in the best interests of the club as we look to move it forward.”

Meanwhile, former chairman Tony Barnes is returning to the committee as vice-chairman. Barnes has wasted no time in appointing former manager Witchalls as general manager, assisted by Rob Cook, who won the clubman of the season award.

Barnes said: “Kev, Rob and myself will be working hard for the benefit of the Senior Football set up at F&WUFC, from under-18s upwards and help ensure the team managers and coaches are given the support and help needed to bring long-awaited success to our wonderful football club.”

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