Tony Butler (footballer)
|Full name||Philip Anthony Butler|
|Date of birth||28 September 1972|
|Place of birth||Stockport, England|
|Height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|2000–2002||West Bromwich Albion||70||(1)|
|2002||→ Bristol City (loan)||11||(1)|
|2006–2007||Forest Green Rovers||9||(2)|
|2006–2007||→ Newport County (loan)||4||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
He began his career at Gillingham in 1991, helping the club to win promotion out of the Third Division in 1995–96. He was sold to Blackpool in August 1996 for £225,000, before he was moved on to Port Vale for a £115,000 fee in March 1999. He then joined West Bromwich Albion in March 2000 for £140,000, and helped the "Baggies" to promotion out of the First Division in 2001–02. Following this he was allowed to sign with Bristol City, and he helped his new side to the Football League Trophy in 2003. He returned to Blackpool in February 2005, before he signed with Conference club Forest Green Rovers in July 2006. He was loaned out to Newport County, before he joined Hinckley United in February 2007. He switched to Alfreton Town in November 2007.
As a child Butler moved to Redcar with his family – his father was a bank manager – and attended Ryehills School. He started his professional career at Gillingham in 1991–92, who were then a Fourth Division under the management of Damien Richardson. They finished second-from-bottom in the Football League in 1992–93 under Glenn Roeder, avoiding relegation because they finished just four points ahead of Halifax Town. They finished 16th in 1993–94 under Mike Flanagan, before dropping to 19th in 1994–95. Butler played 42 games in 1995–96, as new boss Tony Pulis led the Priestfield Stadium club to promotion out of the Third Division (fourth tier) in second place. He made 179 appearances for the "Gills" in league and cup competitions, scoring seven goals.
Butler was sold to Blackpool in August 1996 for £225,000. He played 46 games in 1996–97 under Gary Megson, as the Bloomfield Road club finished one place and four points behind Crewe Alexandra in the Second Division play-off zone. New boss Nigel Worthington played him 43 times in 1997–98, as the "Seasiders" slipped to 12th. He made 23 appearances in 1998–99, with Blackpool on the way to another mid-table finish.
He signed for Port Vale for a £115,000 fee in March 1999. He played just four games, as Brian Horton's "Valiants" managed to retain their First Division status despite a poor start to 1998–99. He featured 15 times in 1999–2000, before he left Vale Park for league rivals West Bromwich Albion in March 2000 for a £140,000 fee, as one of four deadline-day signings made by manager Gary Megson. Butler featured seven times for the "Baggies" in 1999–2000, as Megson steered the club away from the relegation zone – whilst Port Vale went down. He made 51 appearances in 2000–01, as Albion reached the play-offs, only to be defeated by Bolton Wanderers at the semi-final stage. He featured 23 times as the club won promotion as runners-up in 2001–02, finishing ten points behind champions Manchester City. He featured in the "Battle of Bramall Lane" on 16 March 2002, replacing Lárus Sigurðsson (the only "Baggies" player to have been booked) 14 minutes before the match was abandoned. The club now in the Premier League, he found himself surplus to requirements at The Hawthorns, and was loaned out to Bristol City, whom he subsequently signed for permanently.
He played for City in the final of the Football League Trophy at the Millennium Stadium, as the "Robins" beat Carlisle United 2–0. They also reached the play-offs in 2002–03, but were beaten by Cardiff City at the semi-final stage; Butler played 51 games over the course of the campaign. He played 46 games in 2003–04, including the play-off final at the Millennium Stadium, where Danny Wilson's men were beaten 1–0 by Brighton & Hove Albion. He played 27 games under new boss Brian Tinnion in 2004–05, before leaving Ashton Gate for former club Blackpool on a free transfer in February 2005. They finished the season 16th in League One under Colin Hendry. Butler played 26 games in 2005–06, as Blackpool avoided relegation by just two places and three points, and was released by manager Simon Grayson.
Butler joined Gary Owers' Forest Green in July 2006. During the 2006–07 season he was loaned out to Conference South side Newport County. In February 2007, Butler joined Hinckley United of the Conference North. He was released by Hinckley in November 2007, and subsequently signed for league rivals side Alfreton Town.
- with Gillingham
- with West Bromwich Albion
- with Bristol City
- "Butler, PA (Tony)", English National Football Archive
- Gillatt, Peter (30 November 2009). Blackpool FC On This Day: History, Facts and Figures from Every Day of the Year. Pitch Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-905411-50-2.
- "Butler completes Blackpool move". BBC Sport. 7 February 2005. Retrieved 13 May 2009.
- "Butler seeks to stay". BBC Sport. 21 September 2002. Retrieved 13 May 2009.
- "Bristol City sink Carlisle". BBC Sport. 6 April 2003. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
- "Six players released by Grayson". BBC Sport. 17 May 2006. Retrieved 13 May 2009.
- "Forest Green seal triple signing". BBC Sport. 7 July 2006. Retrieved 13 May 2009.
- "Butler leaves Rovers for Newport". BBC Sport. 13 September 2006. Retrieved 28 August 2007.
- "Butler ends spell at Forest Green". BBC Sport. 27 February 2007. Retrieved 13 May 2009.
- Law calls for Butler nonleaguedaily.com