Youngest Isuzu UTE A-League boss in history lands head coaching role in England

Des Buckingham has joined League One promotion candidates Oxford United as their new senior head coach.

Buckingham returns to Oxford after a successful stint as coach of Indian Super League side Mumbai City, on what the club has described as a “long term contract” replacing Liam Manning, who signed with Championship outfit Bristol City last week.

He takes over an Oxford side that currently sit second in League One, one point behind league leaders Portsmouth.

“There was a huge amount of interest in the role but, from the moment we met Des, he became our number one choice,” chief executive Tim Williams told the Oxford website.

“We had a very clearly defined set of criteria to ensure we found the right cultural fit for Oxford United.

“Des knows the club and city already, understands what we are trying to achieve, and we feel is the right person to build on the club’s progress to date.”

Buckingham was born in Oxford and played for the club’s youth sides, before joining their coaching staff at the age of 18.

He was promoted to first-team coach under Chris Wilder a decade ago, before joining Isuzu UTE A-League outfit Wellington Phoenix as an assistant coach under Ernie Merrick.

Following his resignation in January 2017, Buckingham was manager until the end of the season, becoming the youngest manager in competition history at the age of 31.

He lifted the Phoenix off the bottom of the table, taking them within one place of the finals at the end of the season.

Buckingham then took up roles at Stoke City as Under 21 boss, the coach of the New Zealand U20 and U23 sides, and serve as assistant manager.

In 2020, he returned to the A-Leagues as Patrick Kisnorbo’s assistant coach, helping the team win their first ever Championship. Buckingham also managed the team three times when Kisnorbo was absent, leading them to three wins.

At the conclusion of the season, he was appointed coach of Mumbai City, winning the Indian Super League for the first time in February this year and to the AFC Champions League.

The 38-year-old was voted Coach of the Year by the Indian Players Football Association in May, recognising his efforts with Mumbai last season.

His Mumbai side broke an incredible 15 records on the way to winning the league last season, including the most points and goals scored in a single season, best goal difference and most league wins.

They also hold the record for the longest winning streak in the history of the competition with an 18-match run.

“I couldn’t be happier that Des has agreed to become our new head coach,” chairman Grant Ferguson added.

“His approach to coaching and developing players is a perfect match for the vision we have for the club.”

His first game in charge comes on November 26 when Oxford face Cheltenham Town.