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Vic Buckingham

Personal information
Full nameVictor Frederick Buckingham
Playing positionWing-half

     Home | Football | Vic Buckingham

Victor Frederick Buckingham (23 October 1915 - 26 January 1995) was an English footballer whose approach as a manager was a precursor of the Total Football philosophy.

Buckingham joined Tottenham Hotspur in 1934 and played the first season (1934-35) for Tottenham Hotspur nursery club Northfleet United. After that single season he returned to Tottenham and played 230 games as a defensive midfielder before leaving in 1949. He started his managerial career with amateur team Pegasus followed by Bradford Park Avenue, then a Football League side, before taking over at West Bromwich Albion in 1953. He became the club's longest serving post-war manager, almost leading them to an elusive 'double' in 1954 when they won the FA Cup and finished second in the league.

During his management of Ajax, he spotted the young Johan Cruijff who was to go on to develop Buckingham's ideas into the mature concept of Total Football. Buckingham's ideas were radically ahead of his time - engendering total football philosophies and youth systems - and earned him a continental reputation (especially in Spain where he was appointed coach of Sevilla FC and then FC Barcelona) that more often than not, overshadowed his talent back home.

However, his reputation in his native country was tarnished by his association with match fixing in the British betting scandal of 1964, revealed shortly after his spell as manager of Sheffield Wednesday. Although the allegations were never proven against him, three of his players at Wednesday Peter Swan, Tony Kay and David Layne were accused of taking bribes to fix a match with Ipswich Town on December 1, 1962, and betting on their team to lose.

While Buckingham was one of the first English managers to coach top European sides like Ajax Amsterdam and FC Barcelona, and has Johan Cruyff as one of his biggest fans, he remained largely unremembered in his native England.

He died in Chichester, England in 1995.

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