End of an Era: Des Buckingham bids adieu to Mumbai City FC

Mumbai City FC has officially confirmed the departure of its longest-serving Head Coach, Des Buckingham, as he takes on a new challenge with English club Oxford United in EFL League One.

Mumbai City FC has officially confirmed the departure of its longest-serving Head Coach, Des Buckingham, as he takes on a new challenge with English club Oxford United in EFL League One.

Over the past few weeks, rumors of Buckingham’s move to Oxford United had been circulating in the UK, and it has now been confirmed. The 38-year-old Englishman leaves an indelible mark on Mumbai City FC, having led the team to historic victories and achievements during his tenure.

Des Buckingham’s time with Mumbai City FC comes to an end, following a highly successful stint, where he not only became the youngest coach to secure an ISL League Shield but also propelled the team to significant milestones in the AFC Champions League.

Over the course of 72 games, Buckingham’s coaching prowess was evident as Mumbai City FC achieved a record-breaking 2022-23 season, setting 17 ISL records and dominating both domestic and international competitions. His impact is reflected in holding the league’s all-time highest win percentage (57.8%) and the highest points per league game average (1.96) among coaches with a minimum of 20 games.

Kandarp Chandra, CEO of Mumbai City FC, expressed gratitude for Buckingham’s significant contribution to the club’s transformation into an elite footballing entity. “Des came into the Club in a period of transition and did incredibly well not just to help lay the foundations of an elite football club but also to achieve great success both domestically in the Indian Super League and continentally at the AFC Champions League. While we are sad to see him leave, Des wants to take up a project that is close back home in the English Football League. His contribution to Mumbai City cannot be understated and with best wishes for the future, we say goodbye to Des and look towards the next chapter for Mumbai City.”

Buckingham’s return to the English club, where he began his coaching career at the age of 18, comes at a crucial juncture for Oxford United, which has been without a full-time manager since February 2023.

Des Buckingham’s journey from Mumbai to Oxford signifies a full-circle moment in his coaching career. Having initially worked through the club’s age-group squads, he progressed into coaching the first team during the 2013–14 Football League Two season, under then-manager Chris Wilder.

As the Mumbai City FC family bids farewell to Des Buckingham, fans reflect on the remarkable victories and milestones achieved under his guidance. The anticipation now shifts to the announcement of Mumbai City FC’s new head coach, who will carry the responsibility of maintaining the club’s legacy of excellence in the upcoming seasons.

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