Feature interview: Buxton boss Steve Cunningham on his smooth transition and desire to bring the NPL title to Buxton

Steve Cunningham says he is delighted with how well things have gone since becoming Buxton boss.

By Stephen Thirkill
Wednesday, 17th November 2021, 11:19 am
Buxton manager Steve Cunningham (left) with chairman David Hopkins.
Buxton manager Steve Cunningham (left) with chairman David Hopkins.

The former Curzon Ashton chief has seen his side knock York City out of the FA Cup and win two league games following his controversial appointment.

And he says the management transition has been made super smooth thanks to the professionalism of the Bucks’ players and backroom staff.

“The players have shown great professionalism and attitude,” he said. “It’s been a really easy transition.

“We took two training sessions before the York game and they bought into things straight away.

“The players and people behind the scenes have been brilliant and really helped us settle in and understand the characters and qualities of the players.

“In the two games we have played the lads have shown great energy, quality and an understanding of how we want to play.”

“When we found out our first was at York you think ‘that’s a tough one’.

“But If you come out with credit then straight away you’ve earned your stripes in the dressing room and with the fans, especially with the change of manager.

“If you come in and start chucking your weight about straight away you can soon lose the dressing room before you have even got.

On-song Buxton are currently one point behind Northern Premier League leaders Matlock Town and have two games in hand.

But, despite an FA Cup glamour tie against League One Morecambe to look forward to, Cunningham knows the priority is to bring home the league title.

“The league is the main priority,” said Cunningham. “The objective is to win the league, as soon as I walked in that is what I was told and I was all over it.

“That is my ambition, I want to win things and the chairman has made it clear that the priority is to win the league.

“He's not putting pressure on us that if we don't we will get sacked, but we are all on the same page.

“You have got something to aim for. If you aim to win the league and you fall just short then you have another bite at promotion in the play-offs.

“My first impression is the quality is second to none with what I’ve worked with in the first phase of a job.

“Normally you go into a job and bring in your own players.

“Managers and players come and go, but the current players have a duty to the club and to put on a performance for the fans and I think they have done that.

“We are going all out to win the league.”

Cunningham knows all too well the impact of a good cup run and a title victory can also have on the long-term success of Buxton.

It makes him even more determined to capitalise on the increased interest and bring success to Silverlands.

“We have gone from an average crowd of 400 up to 1,000 against Hyde and we have got to capture that interest on and off the pitch,” he added.

“You can see so many professional and community based things the club are doing to attract people.

“We have to win games on the pitch now and then when it’s a tight game we will see the benefits of a big crowd.

“Affordable and fun football for the family is what we are about.

“Buxton is a family friendly club and are working hard to capture the community. We want a mixture of generations in the stands.

“If we can keep getting 1,000 crowds we will only get bigger and better as a football club.”