OCT 01] THE JIM BROWN COLUMN
City's Managers :
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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.
(h) : lost 0-1
United (h) FA Cup : drew 1-1
League Cup win over Nottingham Forest
0-1 defeat at Luton (December 1991)
49 : won 16, drew 11, lost 22
win ratio 32.6%