The younger brother of the legendary Major Frank Buckley, centre half Chris Buckley was born in Urmston, Manchester, and had been an amateur at Manchester City as a teenager spending 1903-04 at Hyde Road without making their first eleven. After playing for Xavieran Brothers College in 1904, his first professional contract came from Southern League Brighton & Hove Albion in 1905, and he was soon signed by First Division Aston Villa in 1906, and he made his Football League debut at Stoke City that September. However he suffered an early setback when he broke his ankle on the opening day of the following season against Manchester United, an injury that kept him out of the game for over a year.
Fit again, he played 37 games as Aston Villa won the League Championship in 1909-10. He had a trial for England in 1911 but was never capped. In 1914 after 3 goals in 144 games for Villa, he moved south to join Arsenal, then in the Second Division, and played in the last season before competitive football’s suspension due to World War One, scoring once in 31 appearances.
Aged 31 when peacetime football resumed in 1919, he still played for another two seasons before breaking a leg in a game against Blackburn Rovers in November 1921, losing his place to Alex Graham. In total he played 59 games for the club, scoring 3 goals. After retiring, Buckley later returned to Villa, joining the Club’s Board of Directors in 1936, and serving as Chairman from 1955 to 1966. He stepped down as a director in 1967 aged 80.
His brother Major Frank Buckley had a playing career with a variety of clubs, notably Brighton & Hove Albion, both Manchester clubs, Birmingham City and Derby County, and won an England cap, but is best remembered both as the commander of The Football Battalion during the First World War, and also as a football manager, where he was phenomenally successful in particular with Blackpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers, discovering John Charles while at Leeds United.