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Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Richard Butcher 1981-2011

There seems something particularly unfair about the fact that, after the Football League’s most romantic of weekends – the Third Round of the FA Cup – tragedy should strike one of its smallest clubs for the second time in less than a year.

It is sad enough that the devastating death of Richard Butcher, aged just 29, follows the tragic and untimely losses of fellow lower-league footballers Adam Stansfield and Dale Roberts. It is sadder still that everyone at Macclesfield – and particularly Gary Simpson – who magnificently roused the club when shorn of Keith Alexander only 10 months ago, must find the strength to do so again. It is saddest of all that Butch only married in August, and his wife and family are all in our thoughts.

Butch was one of the Football League’s journeymen, his career taking in Northampton Town, Rushden & Diamonds, Kettering, Oldham, Peterborough, Notts County and Lincoln City before he signed for the Silkmen. Much of his career was spent with Keith Alexander and Gary Simpson and the latter has paid tribute to him this morning:

"I was closer to Richard than any other player I've worked with. I was the one who first spotted him playing in non league and convinced the Big Man to give him his chance at Lincoln.

"So to lose both of them in the space of ten months is extremely hard to take. He was like a son to me and I'd kept him touch with him throughout his career, and of course was delighted to get him to come to the Moss Rose in the summer.

"You couldn't ask for a better professional than Butch. He was a great person and a great role model for the younger lads and it's an understatement to say that he leaves a massive void in our lives."

Butch was an extremely likeable and committed footballer with a knack of scoring brilliant goals. He was an exceptional role model for all the young players at Macclesfield and as chairman Mike Rance says, nobody can ‘get their mind round what has happened’.

I’ll remember him for his role in the excellent Lincoln side that knocked Macc out of the playoffs in 04/05, as well as for his brilliant free kick against Grimsby (one of Macc’s choices for Mitre Goal of the Year) and his last goal for us, away at Bury on New Year’s Day. Should our game on Saturday go ahead, it will be another tremendously sad day at Burton. Another of the club’s big personalities has been taken far too soon.

RIP Butch. You will be sorely missed.

Macclesfield have opened a book of condolence here: http://macctownfc.bb3host.com/viewforum.php?f=6

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