Non-League Nigel Part Two – Jake Buxton
The original plan for Jake was to be a squad man for cover. He was given a one-year contract and was given the chance to try and force his way into the first team squad.
However, due to injuries, he was in the starting line-up for the first game of the season and went to start 24 matches – it might have been more had he not suffered injuries himself.
Despite some outstanding performances, Bucko was an easy scapegoat when things went wrong because of his non-league background. This was often an unfair accusation although it would be fair to say that Jake looked a better player with a fully fit Shaun Barker beside him. We may have been apprehensive about Jake playing the better quality opposition but the leagues top scorers, Newcastle, failed to score once in 180 minutes of trying with Bucko in defence.
Jake Buxton is the antithesis of the modern footballer in many ways. He comes across as modest, genuinely pleased to be here and he has evidently not swallowed the book of interview clichés – exemplified by his quote of “getting in their faces and puttng them on their arses” pre-Forest. Even better, he was true to his word.
No doubt Buxton does have limitations but he embodies the spirit of players such as Forsyth and Hindmarch in the way that very few have in the last couple of decades – an ever willingness to “take one for the team” be it in the face, in the nuts, or smack on the thigh in the middle of winter. He was asked to do no more than the basics and that’s exactly what he’s done.
Good value compared to…
Bucko played more games last season than Davis and Todd managed between them the previous year. Not to mention comprehensively outplaying a pair that cost the Rams untold millions during their awful two years with us.