The sudden death of Macclesfield Town’s Richard Butcher at the age of just 29 came as a major shock to the footballing world yesterday. It will have hit those involved at the lower end of the Football League the hardest. Richard was no stranger to League Two football, having played for Lincoln City, Peterborough and Notts County in years gone by.
It was Butcher’s love affair with manager Keith Alexander, which makes this story all the more hard to take. It is of course less than a year since the passing of ‘Big Keith’, who also spent his last days at Macc. It was Butcher himself who was in the car on the way home from training with Alexander and the last person to see him before he died, adding further to the tragic irony of this awful tale.
Butcher followed Keith to Lincoln, Peterborough and Macclesfield, always featuring as an integral part of the squad both on the pitch, with his captain-like, goalscoring performances from midfield and off the pitch as a role model to the younger players.
It was also noted on more than one occasion that he was usually the first one in, last one out at training. As a Lincoln fan myself, I remember Ricky Butcher always being a firm favouritein the terraces. “THERE’S ONLY ONE RICKY BUTCHER,” never got old. His relationship with the fans was something he seemed to take great pride in, always willing to do hearty interviews with the local Lincolnshire Echo.
Even now as I watch a declining City slowly stumble out of the Football League, it is the players’ attitudes which seem to gripe with my fellow supporters more than the results. The way these players seem to think they can stroll around the city like Premier League stars, not really giving a thought for any of the local people or media.
Thankfully, I can strongly say Richard Butcher was completely the opposite in that respect. A credit to his club, a credit to his fans, and credit to his family and, most of all, a credit to himself.