His one season reign at the Valiants may have passed younger fans by but his spell as Port Vale manager was widely seen as a disaster…
Time at the club:
1977-78 (as a coach), 1978-79 (as a manager).
The case for the defence:
Butler was only in charge for a single season so there always remains the chance that given more time and experience (this was his first managerial role) he could have improved. The club was in a mess with disputes in the boardroom and on the terraces. That’s about all we can think of.
The case for the prosecution:
Admittedly there’s much more of this. Promoted from assistant to manager after the departure of Bobby Smith, rookie Butler was bafflingly given a huge transfer budget to spend. Breaking the club’s transfer record twice to bring in Ken Todd and Peter Farrelll failed as neither of his big money spendings impressed at Vale Park. The spending continued wih the likes of Bob Delgado and Felix Healy who also failed to set pulses racing. The less expensive signings of Kevin Tully, Neil Wikinson and Brian Sinclair didn’t impress while club stalwarts Ken Beamish and John Ridley were sold to finance Butler’s spending spree.
Butler’s big money team was a disjointed mess. He recorded just fourteen wins that season (a win ratio of under 30%) and he further soured his relationship with fans by labelling them as “yobs” after they booed a poor performance…
Butler’s big money team was a disjointed mess. He recorded just fourteen wins that season (a win ratio of under 30%) and he further soured his relationship with fans by labelling them as “yobs” after they booed a poor performance. After a transfer loss of £36,000 for the season and a bunch of underperfoming big money signings now on the books, Butler left in August 1979 to reunite with Smith at Swindon Town. But a year later he quit football for good, the Vale spell remaining his only stint as a manager.