The first in a series af articles aimed at getting to know the Torquay team and club better. To kick off we will look at the gaffer, Paul Buckle.
Paul John Buckle was born on the 16th of December 1970 in Hatfield, he is currrently 38. He began his football career at Brentford, initially as an apprentice, but then on a professional contract which he signed in July 1989. He played a total of 58 games for Brentford scoring once from midfield.
Buckle was put out on loan to Wycombe, in the conference, appearing 3 times in 1994. He was made available he same year by Brentford and moved on a free transfer to Torquay United in February.
He stayed with Torquay for 18 months, scoring 9 goals in his 59 league games but in October 2005 was tempted by the bright lights on Exeter and moved on another free tranfer.
He lasted less than a year as Exeter couldn’t afford his wages and after a trial with Cambridge moved to Northampton in August 2006. His spell at the Cobblers wasn’t a succesful one either and after failing to impress moved back to Wycombe in October that year on non-contract terms.
Just a month at Wycombe before Bucks moved to Colchester and played for them at Wembley against Torquay United in the playoffs final 1996/97. Colchester won that game and Torquay were destined to yet another season in the fourth tier.
Buckle was once again drawn back to Exeter on a free transfer in 1999 after a good 3 seasons with Colchester, signing a 2-year-deal. He was dealth with an injusry blow on the opening day of the season and was transfer listed at the end of the campaign but stayed on for another year playing 93 games for Exeter and scoring 5 times.
Bucks playd for Aldershot and Weymouth, a season each between 2002 and 2004 before returning to St James’ Park for a third stint. He played for no wage in this, his final years of football, at Exeter. He was put on loan at Tiverton for a short while during this period.
The las t3 years of his career at Exeter were in a player coach role and eventually he became assistant manager helping to propel Exeter to the Conference playoff final where they lost to Morecambe.
In June 2007, after his succesful role at Exeter, Buckle was approached by Colin Lee to manage Torquay United. His first season, Torquay’s first outside the football league was a positive one with playoffs cruelly ending the campaign at the hands of Exeter. However this year he achieved what every Gull had ever asked of him; getting Torquay back in the league.
In a career of ups and downs, finally Paul Buckle is beginning to show himself as one of Englands best young managers. Only time will tell if he can manage the pressures of League Two.