4 Jul 2017

Buckingham off to Stoke

6:55 am on 4 July 2017

Former Wellington Phoenix coach Des Buckingham is heading back to England to continue his coaching career with Stoke City.

Phoenix goalkeeping coach Des Buckingham

Phoenix goalkeeping coach Des Buckingham Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Buckingham has signed a contract with Stoke City and will be taking up a role within their U-23 coaching department.

Stepping in as head coach last season following the resignation of Ernie Merrick, Buckingham and co-coach Chris Greenacre steered Phoenix away from the bottom of the table, but fell short of making the A-League finals after six wins, six draws and seven losses in their nineteen games in charge.

Buckingham first joined the club in 2015 as the goalkeeping coach before being promoted as an assistant coach, and then serving as interim co-coach and head coach in 2017.

Buckingham returns to England after three years in New Zealand and whilst sad to depart Phoenix, remains excited about the opportunity ahead.

"I was fortunate to work with excellent people since arriving at the club," said Buckingham, "and the support provided during my three years from staff, players and fans is hugely appreciated.

"From coaching under Ernie Merrick to working closely with Chris Greenacre, my time living in New Zealand and working in the A-League will be fondly remembered.

"Change brings opportunity and I'm excited to continue working with talented players and excellent coaches in a first-class environment at Stoke City FC.

"I wish Darije, the players and the club all the best for the upcoming season."

The club has confirmed that Chris Greenacre will be continuing with Phoenix, and is currently assisting training with the first team.

Wellington Phoenix will announce their new goalkeeping coach to replace Buckingham later this week as they finalise restructuring the coaching department following the appointment of head coach Darije Kalezić and assistant coach Rado Vidošić.