Steve Cunningham relishing Buxton Academy role as part of Bucks' 'one club' mentality

Steve Cunningham is relishing his new role as academy coach at Buxton.

Tuesday, 14th December 2021, 7:00 am
Steve Cunningham wants to create a clear pathway from academy to first team football. He has taken on an academy coaching role following the departure of Frank Sinclair to Doncaster.

The Buxton boss will juggle the role alongside his first-team duties following Frank Sinclair’s departure to Doncaster.

“I am over the moon and proud to be a part of the club in a full-time capacity. It is everything I have worked for,” he said.

“We wish Frank all the best in his new role, he has worked hard to be involved at that level of football.

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“We have a ‘one club’ mentality at Buxton and the chairman felt there was no-one better for the role than the first team manager.

“It brings it all in house and it’s about developing the role now.”

Cunningham will work alongside his current first team coach Nigel Keogh in a role reversal and says he can’t wait to learn new skills.

“I will be working alongside Nigel, so where I’m used to bossing him about he will be bossing me about, it's a great relationship,” he added.

“Nigel has done a great job with the academy and where he has brought it from.

“I'm looking forward to working with him and learning a different side of the job, different management and different coaching styles.

“I will be working with younger people, lads who are not necessarily footballers but are students as well.

“It means I’m fully ingrained in the football side of things at the club and have been given much more responsibility from the chairman, so he obviously trusts the job I can do.

“My priority in the main is the first team and to work with the academy to bring us closer together and to develop them.”

The academy programme is delivered in partnership with Buxton and Leek College, with a first and second year group.

And, although too early to judge the talent levels, Cunningham is fully focused on creating a future pathway for the young hopefuls.

“With any footballer it is about levels,” he said. “Sometimes the gulf between U18 and first team football is huge.

“I experienced it at Curzon Ashton - the U18’s were really talented, but not capable of playing National League North football as the gulf was too big.

“I feel that what we have got at the moment is a gulf, but what we want to create is a real pathway throughout the football club.

“When they come through the education programme they will go into our development squad, we want to improve those squads.

“It might not mean they will play with us, but we will teach them to be better individuals and have the focus to go after something in life, to enjoy football and to progress in football if they want to do so.

“If there is a superstar there then we will be taking them for Buxton.”

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