Richard Butcher (footballer)
|Full name||Richard Tony Butcher|
|Date of birth||22 January 1981|
|Place of birth||Northampton, England|
|Date of death||9 January 2011(aged 29)|
|Place of death||Swinton, England|
|Height||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|2000–2001||Rushden & Diamonds||0||(0)|
|2005||→ Lincoln City (loan)||4||(1)|
|2010||→ Macclesfield Town (loan)||8||(2)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Richard Tony Butcher (22 January 1981 – 9 January 2011) was an English professional footballer who played as a midfielder from 1999 until his death in 2011. At the time of his death he was playing for Football League Two side Macclesfield Town. He notably spent three separate spells with Lincoln City, for whom he appeared in two play-off final defeats at the Millennium Stadium. He also played for Northampton Town, Rushden & Diamonds, Kettering Town, Oldham Athletic, Peterborough United and Notts County.
Born in Northampton, Butcher came through the youth ranks at his home town club Northampton Town. He was promoted to the club's first team during the summer of 1999 when the club was under the management tenure of Ian Atkins, however Atkins departed early on into Butcher's first senior season and was replaced by Kevin Wilson. In March 2000, 8 months after becoming a pro he was released by Northampton Town having failed to make an appearance.
Rushden & Diamonds
After his release from Northampton, Butcher was signed by Brian Talbot's Conference National side Rushden & Diamonds. He was part of the squad for the final months of the 1999–2000 season and the 2000–2001 campaign, but failed to make an appearance for the Diamonds, and was released in the summer of 2001.
In October 2001 he signed for Southern League side Kettering Town who had suffered relegation in the previous season from the Conference National. After helping the club back to an instant promotion, Butcher went on to depart the club in November 2002.
Butcher joined Football League Third Division Lincoln City which had recently recovered from a financial struggle that had nearly seen the club go out of business. The club was now under the stewardship of Keith Alexander who had begun to bring in a new influx of players to the team. He made his City debut on 23 November 2002 in a 2–1 home defeat against his former club Rushden. He scored his first Imps goal on 14 December in a 2–2 draw with Cambridge United. By the end of the 2002–2003 season Lincoln had gained entry into the Play-offs following a dramatic Simon Yeo equaliser against Torquay United on the final day of the season. City progressed to the final at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium following a 6–3 aggregate victory over Scunthorpe United in the semi-finals. Butcher played the full ninety minutes of the final but could not help Lincoln from losing to A.F.C. Bournemouth 5–2. During the 2003–2004 season Lincoln reached the Play-offs yet again but were defeated by Huddersfield Town in the semi-final. The 2004–2005 campaign saw The Imps qualify for a third successive Play-off spot and after dumping Macclesfield Town out in the semi-final, City were beaten 2–0 by Southend United.
August 2005 rang in a new era for Butcher when he joined Football League One side Oldham Athletic who were managed by Ronnie Moore. He made his debut for The Latics on the opening day of the 2005–2006 season in a 2–0 victory over Yeovil Town. However, despite figuring in nearly every game up until October he was loaned back to Lincoln City for a month in which he played 4 games, scoring once. Butcher returned to Oldham and completed the rest of the season making 39 appearances in all competitions, scoring 4 goals.
Butcher was reunited with Keith Alexander when he signed a contract with Peterborough United where he was one of a number of former Lincoln players brought to London Road by United's recently appointed manager. Alexander and Butcher both left United after one season.
Football League Two side Notts County came in for Butcher when his Peterborough contract had run its course and he signed a deal with the Meadow Lane side. Butcher played two seasons with County and worked under Ian McParland.During his time at Notts County, Butcher contributed 18 league goals which played a major role in the team's fight against relegation.
Return to Lincoln City
On 27 May 2009 Butcher signed a two-year deal at Lincoln City for a third spell, he was Peter Jackson's first signing of the summer. However the club soon after parted company with manager Peter Jackson and his replacement Chris Sutton rarely used him in the first team. Butcher was made available for loan in the new year and departed Sincil Bank in February.
He re-joined Keith Alexander in February 2010 for a third spell this time with Macclesfield Town, scoring on his debut in a 2–1 defeat to Bury. Sadly on 3 March 2010 Alexander suddenly died at home following the club's away match with Notts County, this had come little over a month since Alexander had brought Butcher to Macclesfield. The Silkmen appointed Gary Simpson as manager, who had previously been Alexander's assistant at Lincoln and Peterborough. Butcher signed permanently with Macclesfield in July 2010 following his official release from Lincoln. On 20 May 2010 Butcher signed a two-year deal at Macclesfield Town. The final match of his career was on 3 January 2011 when Macclesfield were beaten 0–2 by Rotherham United.
Butcher died aged 29 at his Swinton, Salford home on 9 January 2011. After Butcher had failed to turn up for training on Monday morning, club manager Gary Simpson found out after an investigation that Butcher's wife had been away and that he had died overnight. Butcher's death came less than a year after the death of Macclesfield manager Keith Alexander, who had also managed Butcher at both Lincoln City and Peterborough United.
The next match for Macclesfield Town, an away game at Burton Albion originally scheduled for 15 January was then postponed in respect to Butcher and Macclesfield Town. Butcher's shirt number, 21, has been retired as a mark of respect. On 22 January 2011 at Macclesfield's next home game a minute's applause was heard before the game and 30 white doves released (to represent Butcher's 30th birthday as it would have been on the day).
Family, friends and fans paid tribute to Butcher at Lincoln City's Sincil Bank stadium on Wednesday 2 February 2011, the service was attended by fellow footballers and close friends Simon Yeo, Ben Futcher, Paul Morgan and Alan Marriott as well as former Macclesfield teammates and Peterborough United director Barry Fry. A private service was held at Lincoln Crematorium service following the thanksgiving service at the stadium.
- "Lincoln sign midfielder Butcher". BBC Sport. 27 May 2009. Retrieved 27 May 2009.
- "Macclesfield sign Lincoln midfielder Richard Butcher". BBC Sport. 9 February 2010. Retrieved 9 February 2010.
- "Bury 2–1 Macclesfield". BBC Sport. 9 February 2010. Retrieved 9 February 2010.
- "What Do Northampton, Burton And Cambridge United Share?". The Forgotten Imp. 14 May 2010. Retrieved 14 May 2010.
- "Silkmen sign Butcher". Macclesfield Town Official Website. 20 May 2010. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
- "'Shock' as Macclesfield midfielder Richard Butcher dies aged 29". The Guardian. 10 January 2011. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
- "Macclesfield midfielder Richard Butcher dies aged 29". BBC. 10 January 2011. Retrieved 10 January 2011.
- "Macclesfield Town footballer Richard Butcher found dead at Salford home, aged 29". Manchester Evening News. 10 January 2011. Retrieved 11 January 2011.
- "Macclesfield postpone Burton game after Butcher death". British Broadcasting Company. 11 January 2011. Retrieved 11 January 2011.
- "Macclesfield's Richard Butcher died from heart condition". British Broadcasting Company. 8 June 2011. Retrieved 8 June 2011.