Chris Buckley: the Arsenal player who became Villa chairman

  • 9 November 1886: Chris Buckley born in Manchester, quoted in some sources as 1888.
  • 22 May 1914:  Christopher Buckley signed
  • 1 September 1914 first  game for Frank Bradshaw and Christopher Buckley (a 3-1 home win over Glossop)
  • 5 January 1974: Christopher Buckley died.  Also quoted in some places as 11 January.

Christopher Sebastian Buckley was born in Urmstone, Lancashire, on 9 November 1886.  He is one of the few players at Arsenal who later went on to be a director – and indeed chairman of a professional club.  He was the brother of Frank with whom he played at Brighton, and who was both a player and manager at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

In his early days in football be played with Victoria Park, Manchester Ship Canal FC, Manchester City (but not in the first team), Xaverian Brothers College, WBA and Brighton and Hove Albion before starting his league career with Aston Villa with whom he won the first division title in 1910 – just at the moment Arsenal were on the edge of going into liquidation.

However Arsenal recovered, although were relegated in 1913 and for the second and final year of that spell in Division 2, Chris Buckley joined the club at Highbury.
He was a regular at centre half during much of that season but missed a series of games towards the end through a series of injuries, with Percy Sands taking over.

During the war he became a farmer, but continued to play wartime football for Arsenal, making 33 appearances .

Clement Voysey was selected for the centre half position for the start of football after the war, but Chris Buckley regained his place – and started the 1920/21 season but he broke his leg on 13 November 1920 in the match against Blackburn Rovers in front of a crowd quoted as being 40,000.  It proved to be the end of his career.

Chris joined the board at Aston Villa in 1936, and from 1955 to 1966 was chairman.  He retired as a director in 1967, and died in 1973 aged 86.


Seasons Team League Games Goals
1905/06 Brighton & Hove Albion
1906/14 Aston Villa 136 3
1914/21 Arsenal 56 3

In addition he played three FA Cup matches for Arsenal.   Here is his league record

Season Games Goals
1914/15 29 1
1919/20 23 1
1920/21 4 1
Total 56 3

An index to our series and the anniversary articles is here.

7 Replies to “Chris Buckley: the Arsenal player who became Villa chairman”

  1. Chris Buckley was a gentleman living on a beautiful estate in Warwickshire. My grandfather , Bill Lovsey, was a director on the Villa board when they won the cup in 1957. Chris thought it improper that I hung around the players’ entrance collecting autographs as a child. He drove a very posh car. RIP

  2. Chris Buckley was my grandfather and namesake. I too am Christopher Buckley (middle names Catherine Elizabeth) but known as Chris in honor of my grandfather. My father was Christopher Dennis Buckley known as Dennis.
    I last saw Gramps at St Leonard’s Grange in Beoley a few months before he died. I just bought a book about his brother Franklin Buckley credited with having a major impact on football in the early 1900s

  3. I have been searching for relatives of the Buckley family. My great Grandma Martha Buckley married William Buckley brother of Christopher and Franklin. I have a photograph of a house I believe to be in Bredwardine Herefordshire but not certain. William is buried with my father in Stockort cemetery. I would be grateful if you could contact me Chris
    Many Thanks

  4. Dear Chris
    Thankyou for getting in touch regarding our family connection.
    I have sent you an email

    Kind Regards

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