Grimsby Town: Alan Buckley makes Mariners return to join coaching staff
ALAN Buckley is to make a sensational return to Grimsby Town and help bring through the next generation of young Mariners.
The Grimsby Telegraph can reveal that the Mariners' most successful manager has agreed to join the coaching staff at Town's School of Excellence in what will be his fourth spell at the club.
Buckley, who led the Mariners to promotion on three occasions during his time in the Blundell Park hotseat, will manage the club's newly formed under-17s squad.
The new outfit is designed to bridge the gap between schoolboy and youth team football.
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He will also work the club's existing youth coaches to pass on knowledge and experience from a career that saw him become one of only a select group managers to take charge of over 1,000 competitive matches.
Speaking to the Telegraph after the move was officially confirmed, he said: "I'm delighted to be back and involved with the terrific youth set-up that we have here.
"When I was asked to come along and help out, I was only too pleased to accept.
"I'm not here to tread on the toes of the coaches that are already here.
"I'm just here to do everything I can to help develop the club's young players.
"Over the years, we have produced lots and lots of young players starting with John McDermott and Mark Lever through to players like Gary Croft.
"At various stages in this club's history, we have always had cycles of young players coming through and that needs to continue.
"I know that there are a lot of rumours and doubt around the future of club's youth set-up.
"Hopefully me being involved shows that it is far from falling out of operation, it is actually growing and I'm here to help with that.
Head of Youth Robbie Stockdale and School of Excellence manager Adam Smith were delighted to have Buckley on board.
Stockdale said: "We're really pleased that Alan has taken us up on our offer to get involved with the youth set-up.
"He is a manager that's been in charge of over a thousand games during his career.
"The experiences that he has and the track record that he brings is second to none.
"The under 17s team that Alan will be managing and forming is such an important age group for young footballers. It will bridge the gap between schoolboy and youth team football which is such a big step, so to have Alan working with players at that age will be fantastic.
"Hopefully people will see that we are moving forward and not standing still and looking to improve in every way that we can."
Adam added: "To have been able to bring Alan back to the club is fantastic news for everyone.
"His experience and knowledge will be a huge benefit to all of our players and staff."