Town’s players and staff were in the dark over Buckle’s departure

Town’s players and backroom staff had been left in the dark about manager Paul Buckle’s departure before the game against Macclesfield on Tuesday night, writes Mike Simmonds.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 21st February 2013, 7:45 am

The Luton chief decided to leave the club just hours before kick-off, while the rest of the squad were already based in the hotel.

Assistant boss Alan Neilson said: “He (Buckle) didn’t travel as he had a long meeting (with Gary Sweet), but that happens for a lot of games, he’d travel up later for the pre-match meal.

“Gary Sweet came to us when we were at the hotel at quarter past four.

“He read the statement said to myself, Embo (Carl Emberson) and Cashy (Stuart Cash) just to get on with the game and we’ll speak about it later, so picked the team ourselves.”

Neilson confirmed that Buckle had been in training on Monday and that his departure was never anticipated.

He said: “He came in on Monday and it was all good, we trained well and had a little chat about the team.

“We expected him to come here, but in the late afternoon, heard they had agreed the termination.”

Skipper Ronnie Henry admitted the players had been in disbelief as he said: “It was a shock to us in the hotel before the game.

“We didn’t have a clue what was going on and heard that Paul had resigned. It wasn’t nice to hear that as we had a lot of respect for the manager and felt we had something going here and he wasn’t given a chance really.

“I thought it would be stability this time, but Paul decided to leave and he’s got his own reasons for that.

“I wish him well, it’s just a shame he couldn’t stay and get what he wanted. We haven’t spoken to him at all, I think he’s coming in to see us, so we’ll see what happens there.”

Town are now 11 points from the play-offs and 14 points off top spot, but Henry believes they still have a chance.

He added: “There are never guarantees just because we’re Luton football club.

“There are plenty of points to be played for. We just need to get our head on it.

“I don’t see why we can’t win all of them if not quite a few of them.

“If we get in the play-offs, Kenilworth Road is a fortress and if we can get that going, who knows what can happen.”

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