Feature interview: Former Buxton boss Steve Cunningham gives his take on why the Bucks took the Northern Premier League title

Buxton boss Steve Cunningham pinpoints his side’s victory over Hyde back in January as the key moment where their title dreams started to swing their way once again.

Friday, 29th April 2022, 12:01 pm
Updated Friday, 29th April 2022, 12:18 pm
Steve Cunningham believes the win at Hyde on 29th January was the key turning point.
Steve Cunningham believes the win at Hyde on 29th January was the key turning point.

The struggling Bucks came away with a nail-biting 2-1 win to end a long seven game search for a victory.

And from that point the charging Bucks never looked back as they wracked up the points with just one defeat in the final 16 games of a more than memorable campaign.

“The turning point was the Hyde game,” Cunningham said before resigning from his role as Buxton boss. “We had a talk and dusted ourselves down after the Morpeth game.

Sign up to our daily Buxton Advertiser Today newsletter

Dave Bainbridge celebrates a job well done by players, management and the board.

“We said we had 15 games to go and win the league and we turned it into a mini league. We proved to be the best in that period.”

It marked the culmination of plenty of hard work on and off the pitch and, perhaps most importantly of all, an ongoing belief that Buxton had what it takes to bag the league title.

“We came into a difficult and strange situation with the team in the run they were in,” added Cunningham.

Buxton's fans celebrate title glory.

“We were on a high because of what was going on with the FA Cup and we started like a train.

“Then we lost Diego (De Girolamo), (Jamie) Wardy, Ben Turner and James Hurst and the injuries started to hurt us. Then we had the come down from the FA Cup.

“We lost five out of six and it was a tough time.

“We kept our belief and we came through it. We were playing good football even in the losses.

“The players were battling and we always said you don't win the league in January, you only ever win the league after 42 games.

“We said if we stick to what we believe in, we know we are a good side. We adjusted things that were hurting us in that time and didn't lose our heads.”

Cunningham also believes the dressing room spirit in the camp was another key factor in success with the players driving each other on.

“This is a tough dressing room,” he added. “We have got big characters and personalities. “We have got a team of winners as well so there were fallouts.

“It's not all been plain sailing , sometimes you need moments in a season, where there is in- house fighting to get the best out of each other.

“It wasn't anything we couldn't control but people had a point to prove and used that to be the best.

“Internally we knew what we had to do and we did that.

“Mentally me and Damian (Crossley) are not easy to play for. We demand a lot from the players.

“The players have worked hard under us and they have been rewarded for their hard work

“The lads have worked hard in training and all the pieces came together.

“As long as you are all on the same page you can look each other in the eye and say it worked.”

But Cunningham, who controversially replaced Gary Hayward in early November, also dished out the praise to his predecessor and chairman Dave Hopkins.

“I didn’t personally feel like I had anything to prove to anyone,” said Cunningham.

“I’m still young and have only been managing for seven seasons.

“I knew I'm capable of winning things but when we came into the situation that we did it was hard and I accepted that.

“I put the most stress on myself and carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. When I told people to be patient and believe in me and my players, you have to work hard to prove people wrong.

“The title comes off the back of great work from Gary (Hayward) and the chairman and the people they assembled at the start of the league

“They gave us a good benchmark. We don't get the York and Morecambe games without the tough banaka skins ties like against Sherwood Colliery being won.

“There was some great work done by Gary before we came in. When we came in all eyes were on us and we couldn't afford to lose games.

You always lose games but we just had to keep our head and have the last laugh at the end of season.

“When you look at the stick that gets thrown at the club because of his commitment, I genuinely believe this is for the chairman.

“He is a local businessman and family man who gives so much time and effort for this football club.

“He really took the club on to the next level with his time, commitment and finance.

“They have had one play-off in five years and they have never been close to winning the league.

“This is a great reward for him, his family and the board and volunteers as well as the people involved in the club before him.

“If the club is going to kick on then Buxton has the right man and is in great hands. We have just got to enjoy this moment now.”

Read More

Read More
Video shows fantastic moment Buxton FC lift Northern Premier League trophy and c...