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Jim Brown[13 OCT 01] THE JIM BROWN COLUMN
Coventry City's Managers :
Terry Butcher
[NOVEMBER 1990 - JANUARY 1992]

Within months of being one of Englandís heroes at the 1990 World Cup in Italy, Terry Butcher was given his first managerial position by Coventry City at the age of just 31 - the youngest City manager in history.

Terry Butcher - 17 November 1990  [empics]But taking over an ageing side with little money to spend proved a difficult task for a managerial rookie and just over a year later he was jettisoned by the new board after a dispute over his playing contract.

Butcher was born in Singapore, where his father was in the Royal Navy, in December 1958. As a competitive and commanding centre-half he had an illustrious career, playing over 300 games for Ipswich Town between 1978 and 1986 and then spending four years at Glasgow Rangers, where he was a major influence in the resurgence of the Ibrox club.

Bobby Robson gave him his chance at Ipswich in 1978 and by the following season he had become a regular at Portman Road.

After less than 30 games playing for Ipswich Butcher was chosen for England ĎBí and Under-21 games. In 1980 he won the first of his 77 full England caps.

In 1981 he helped Ipswich to victory in the UEFA Cup and second place in Division 1.

Butcher played in three World Cup finals for England and captained his country in the semi final against Germany in 1990.

At Rangers he won three League Championship medals and three League Cup winners medals but in 1990 he fell out with manager Graeme Souness and was open to offers.

Coventry City chairman John Poynton pounced, seeing him as the big name manager he coveted to replace John Sillett who had talked about retirement. Butcher came as a Player-Manager and therefore, in addition to the hefty package, Rangers had to be paid £400,000. It was to be an expensive mistake for Poynton and the club.

Butcher inherited an ageing team and had to balance the drastic changes he wanted to make for long term success with the immediate priority of First Division survival. He appointed his former Ipswich teammate Mick Mills as his assistant, a move more to do with cronyism than Millsí ability.

At one stage relegation looked possible but useful signings in the shape of Ray Woods and Kenny Sansom, the promotion of Andy Pearce and the switch of Kevin Gallacher to central striker enabled City to pull away from the relegation zone. Butcher also made some tough decisions: he sold the troublesome David Speedie, the promising youngsters Steve Livingstone and Tony Dobson and the popular Cup Final heroes Regis and Kilcline.

The 1991 close season saw Stewart Robson arrive on a free transfer but there were problems in the camp. A tour of Scotland was overshadowed by the sending home of Sansom, Trevor Peake and Lloyd McGrath who, he alleged, had been out drinking less than 48 hours before a game. They were all heavily fined and placed on the transfer list as Butcher made examples of them and Peake left within weeks.

A modest start to the season, enlivened by the arrival of Zimbabwean Peter Ndlovu, had by November become another relegation battle. Amid rumours of serious financial problems and a possible sale of Gallacher, chairman Poynton resigned to be replaced by Peter Robins, supported by Bryan Richardson.

Within ten days Butcher was forced to sack Mick Mills and reserve team coach Brian Eastick and replace them with the vastly experienced Don Howe. Things went from bad to worse when Butcher announced his retirement as a player and after a miserable December and a home FA Cup draw with Cambridge Butcher was shown the door.

Robins alluded to Butcher's contractual terms in the press statement and indicated that he had tried to re-negotiate the managerís contract to reflect the fact that he had retired as a player, an issue that ended up in a court case between the two parties.

Butcher made a comeback as a player at Sunderland and was appointed player-manager following the sacking of Malcolm Crosby in February 1993. He just managed to save them from relegation from Division 1 that season but three months into the following campaign with the team lying in 22nd place he was sacked.

Since then Butcher has run a hotel in Scotland and is now a regular media pundit.

FACTFILE

APPOINTED November 1990
FIRST GAME Liverpool (h) : lost 0-1
LEFT January 1992
LAST GAME Cambridge United (h) FA Cup : drew 1-1
BEST SIGNING Stewart Robson
WORST SIGNING Ray Woods
SKY BLUES HIGHPOINT 5-4 League Cup win over Nottingham Forest
(November 1990)
SKY BLUES LOWPOINT dismal 0-1 defeat at Luton (December 1991)
MANAGERIAL RECORD played 49 : won 16, drew 11, lost 22
win ratio 32.6%

 

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CWN / Sport / Football / Coventry City FC / Jim Brown / 13 Oct 01
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