RIP Butch - Magpie, Silkman & Forever Imp

Last updated : 11 January 2011 By Neil Hobbs


Lincoln City, Notts County, Peterborough United and hometown club Northampton have been quick to send their condolences following the untimely death of Macclesfield Town midfielder Richard Tony Butcher at just 29.

This is of course the second tragedy to hit the Silkmen, with manager Gary Simpson a friend of both Keith Alexander and ‘Butch’. In a further ironic twist Richard was the last Macc player to see Keith when he drove Maccs ex Imps back to Lincoln after the Notts County match on the night of his own tragic death.

Whilst managers up and down the country made multi million signings in the Summer Simmo snapped up an old mate as his big dream signing of the summer following a successful loan spell where the Silkmen evaded the drop last year in some style following the death of Keith Alexander.

Richard was found dead at his home yesterday after Macc officials became alarmed that he had not come into training. With his wife, Sarah, away on commitments great mate and Gaffer Gary Simpson rang to see if there was a problem. Butch was normally one of the first in and the last to leave, never missed a session and was a proactive role model for the youngsters.

Though a post mortem is yet to be carried out an enlarged heart may well be the source of the untimely death of a ‘brilliant bloke’ who had only recently married in July. Richard had collapsed over dinner about a year ago and spent time in Lincoln hospital but he was more than capable of continuing as a full time athlete.

Fans thrilled at the box to box skills of goal scoring midfielder Richard Butcher who never quite managed to play for home town club Northampton, moving instead to Rushden & Diamonds. He impressed in his debut with Kettering Town who signed him at the end of the season after just 5 chances to impress. Gary then scouted him and Keith Alexander signed him for a Lincoln City side bouncing back from their brush with extinction. He debuted against Rushden on 23rd November 2002 and opened his account against Cambridge a month later. 

Butch would be an instrumental part in 3 seasons that saw one semi and two playoff final defeats before Ronnie Moore signed him for Oldham Athletic on a free transfer. Butch had never commanded a fee, instead cleverly choosing to enjoy a larger signing on fee. Things did not work out and in the October he moved back to Lincoln City on loan. Ricky scored one goal in 4 before being recalled by his parent club to finish the season on 39 appearances and 4 goals.

Keith Alexander, then at Posh, signed Butch on 26/6/06 on a free where he would go on to become a popular terrace hero with his energetic box to box style. He would make 49 league and Cup appearances (inc 9 as sub) for Posh, scoring 5 times,  before moving to Notts County. During a trying time for the club Ricky would make 87 league and Cup appearances (inc 6 as sub) scoring 19 times. That goal scoring rate is some average for a midfielder; many would argue it helped keep McParland’s magpies up.

Who can forget the headline Butcher Bounds Back into the Bank as Jacko made him his first summer signing as Joyous July oh month of rumour became reality. Butch was genuinely overjoyed to be back playing for a club and a City he had chosen to continue to live in despite his career commitments. It was not to be, Jacko departed and Chris Sutton arrived.

Butch was initially flavour of the month in the 4-5-1 formation before being discarded. Despite being ever polite he fell from grace to the extent that he would be set the task of running around the training ground as opposed to training with the first team.  Fortunately his old mates at Macclesfield rescued him and took him on loan as he bagged 2 goals in eight appearances. before the Imps recalled him from their relegation rivals who were now higher in the table.

Butch featured in Lincoln’s final 13 games largely as a makeshift bit part player but things would look up this summer. With Sutton looking to free up a diminishing budget Richard negotiated a handsome but fair settlement for his services after a truly awful spell back at a club he deeply loved. It appeared to mark the beginning of a bright new dawn as he and love of his life Sarah, married in the July.

That Lincoln lump sum also allowed big mate Gary Simpson the chance to sign him on much reduced terms despite the advances of two higher paying offers. Despite two minor version of the once career threatening cruciate injuries, Richard scored a nifty close range effort against Bury on New Years day.

What a shame he will not be there with Gary to finish the mission for Keith this season. For despite the odds being stacked against football’s new crazy gang all at the Moss want to not only survive but prosper with perhaps even a playoff punt.

LCM’s thoughts are with his wife and family at this very difficult time and we would ask all at Sincil Bank to chant his name after the minute’s silence or applause.


A life in Stats 


Full name Richard Tony Butcher

Date of birth     22 January 1981

Place of birth    Northampton,

Date of death    9 January 2011

Place of death   Manchester,

Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)

Weight 12.07

Playing position Midfielder


Career stats

 340 games (Lge 315 FAC 15 LC 10)

47 Goals (Lge 45 FAC 2)


Career Chronology


1999-2000 Northampton Town


1999–2000 Northampton Town           0          (0)

2000–2001 Rushden & Diamonds        2          (0)

2001–2002 Kettering Town     44        (13)

2002–2005 Lincoln City           110      (11)

2005–2006 Oldham Athletic     39        (4)

2005 Lincoln City (loan)           4          (1)

2006–2007 Peterborough United          49        (5)

2007–2009 Notts County         87        (19)

2009–2010 Lincoln City           15        (0)

2010 Macclesfield Town (loan)    8 (2)

2010–2011 Macclesfield Town 8 (1)