Frank Buckley acquired his rank of Major after fighting in
the Boer War and World War I in the 17th Middlesex Regiment, where he
commanded a battalion made up of soccer professionals. His playing career
before the war had spanned many clubs - Aston Villa, Brighton, Birmingham,
Derby, Bradford City and both Manchester clubs, and he won a single
England cap against Ireland in 1914.
After the war, he was appointed manager at Norwich and then Blackpool,
but it was at Wolverhampton Wanderers - who he joined in 1927 - that he
really made his reputation. He developed an excellent youth policy and
dragged Wolves from the brink of relegation to Division 3 up to the
heights of Division 1, and also making it to the FA Cup Final. After 17
years at Molineux, he finally moved on and had brief spells at Notts County
and Hull City before taking over at Leeds in 1948.
Buckley was best known for two things. His innovation on the training ground
saw the players being trained by dancers to improve flexibility and balance,
and a mechanical device that spat out footballs at various angles was used to
improve the keeper's ability. But it was his bizarre belief in the properties
of a monkey-gland injection that he asked his players to take, thinking it
would improve their mental abilities.
Buckley developed a good youth policy, and kept the team ticking over
in Division 2, despite the lack of money and overdraft. He'll be long remembered
by Leeds fans for his greatest discovery: towards the end of his first season
in charge he signed a young Welshman by the name of John Charles. But despite
the great man's presence, promotion never came, and Buckley stepped down at
the age of 72.