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Remembering Richard Butcher


By Nathan Jackson
January 10 2011

Following the shocking death of Richard Butcher on Monday morning, I look back at some of my favourite memories of Butcher's playing days for Lincoln City and the instances where I met him personally.

During my ten years as a season ticket holder at Sincil Bank, I have seldom had a clear stand out favourite player. It takes a lot to get me to have a favourite player and to be honest, only four come to mind. Justin Walker was an exciting midfielder when I first attended Sincil Bank on a regular basis, Lee Frecklington was a class above in terms of quality and Jamie Forrester was the most intelligent footballer I have seen in that time, but none were as hard working on the pitch as Richard Butcher.

Despite the controversial style of him joining the Imps, it was evident almost immediately that he was the perfect fit for the team at the time. Butcher's effort was always a class above, he was always the fittest player on the pitch and the passion he played with was more than anyone else I have seen in my ten years.

Butcher made his debut in a 2-1 home defeat to Rushden and Diamonds and it took just over a month for his first goal to come, a thumping effort against Shrewsbury, unfortunately it wasn't even to win the game. His goal in the penultimate game against Bournemouth and setting up the goal that secured the club's first ever Playoff campaign a week later saw him truly become a fans favourite.

During his time at Lincoln, Butcher might not have been a great scorer of goals but rather a scorer of great goals. You'd very rarely find a goal from Richard Butcher that wouldn't be a contender for goal of the season. His rocket at Mansfield from 40 yards in December 2003 is, to this day, one of my personal favourite ever goals for the Imps and to be honest, if I was to list my ten favourite City goals, he would feature at least three times.

A move to Oldham followed at the end of the 2004/5 season. He was oButcher at Huddersfieldne of those that left in the mass-exodus, but unlike most, he moved up the leagues, with Oldham in League One at the time. His time there was far from happy though and he quickly returned to City, again scoring a beautiful half-volley against Leyton Orient. He would return to Oldham but never established himself and he would become one of the numerous Imps to play at Peterborough in 2006/7 under Keith Alexander.

To show the fans love for him, he was the only former Lincoln player not to be booed when over 2,000 Imps made the Christmas trip to Peterborough. That side was full of players who had been heavily involved in the Playoff campaigns up to that point, so to say that he was the only one who wasn't booed was a credit to him. A move to Notts County a year later saw the strange occurance of him averaging a goal every four games, a brilliant feat for a midfielder, only to be seemingly not liked by the Notts County fans.

After he was released at the end of the 2008/9 season, he became one of Peter Jackson's final signings, penning a one year contract to become one of just two Imps this millennium to have three spells with the Imps. Despite a good run in the first team, he struggled to live up to the previous form and it came as little surprise when he was dropped as soon as Sutton arrived. He was released at the end of last season, although he did have a loan spell at Macclesfield in between, a club whom he joined permanently at the end of last season.

Whilst he wasn't on the pitch, Butcher was a very approachable man. I remember one time in August 2003 when I ran into him at Tesco's near Sincil Bank. He had just scored a brilliant goal against York and we got into a near half an hour conversation and I genuinely don't think he knew just how good he could have been.

Once again, we send our sympathies to the whole of the Butcher family an all close friends of Richard's.

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theimps.ka
Remembering Richard Butcher
theimps.ka (IP Logged)
10/01/2011 20:07
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