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One out, One in!

By: Todd Bontoft
Date: 26/08/2000

Wow what a week, one out, one in! The king is dead, long live the king! Alan Buckley's departure has certainly got town fans talking. Most of us acknowledge and appreciate his contribution to the football club in his two reigns but that is now passed.

But for however long new king Lennie reigns, it's going to be a very hard act to follow, with many loyal Buckley subjects ready to put him to the sword.

There will be a natural tendency for any success to be attributed to his predecessor and any failure to be all his.

Despite an exceptional history of achievement, Alan Buckley does leave a kingdom in some disarray. Because of TV money and the formation of the Premier league in 1992 professional football has changed significantly since Alan Buckley took over in the summer of 1988 following two dreadful seasons as we plummeted down the football league.

It's purely conjecture but if he had not been appointed chances are we would now be playing in the conference league.

By the time of his first departure to West Bromwich Albion, it's fair to say, he had established a respected First Division Club, capable of beating anyone on the day. There were too many draws for my liking and I think he still holds the record for orchestrating the most draws in one season!

Unfortunately, by the time of his second (and final?) departure, it has become increasingly difficult for a club of our modest means to compete at this level and the club is in a much less stable position. The game is now a major industry with a £2bn turnover and set to increase further, with polarisation between the rich and poor set to increase. Both departures, although significantly different in style, do share the elements of speed and surprise. At least this time the backroom staff will not be deserting the royal court, in a similar catastrophic fashion.

Regardless of our domestic problems off the field, notably the new stadium debate and the failure of the shareholders to authorise a massive injection of funds from a share issue, the fact remains that we are the worst supported team in the First Division. Many Second Division clubs knock spots off us for their squad sizes, turnover and home attendances.

The people of North East Lincolnshire have as big a part to play in the success of this club as any one man. It has always been a bone of contention with Alan Buckley as to why the support has always remained so modest.

The article continues in Part Two.

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