Terry Butcher

England's never-say-die defender

Player Biography
Full name: Terence Ian Butcher
Date of birth: December 28, 1958
Clubs played for: Ipswich, Rangers, Coventry, Sunderland, Clydebank
Clubs managed: Coventry, Sunderland, Motherwell, Sydney FC, Brentford, Inverness
Terry Butcher
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Terry Butcher Stoke City 2-0 Ipswich Town West Ham v Ipswich, FA Cup Glenn Hoddle tackles Terry Butcher Glenn Hoddle and Terry Butcher England players make a splash England v Argentina, 1986 Terry Butcher Terry Butcher Terry Butcher on his knees A bloodied Terry Butcher A bloodied Terry Butcher Terry Butcher recovering from his injury Stuart Pearce and Terry Butcher World Cup Semi Final 1990 England 1 West Germany 1 West Germany won 4-3 on penalties in Turin Terry Butcher comforts Paul Gascoigne Terry Butcher shouts instructions Scotland manager George Burley Scotland assistant manager Terry Butcher Terry Butcher reacts Terry Butcher
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Club Career

Terry Butcher began his career with Ipswich, having turned down the chance to join their fierce local rivals Norwich. He made his debut for the Suffolk side in 1978 and would go on to establish himself as one of the finest central defenders in the country. He was a key part of the side that enjoyed a terrific 1980-81 campaign, winning the UEFA Cup and coming agonisingly close to lifting the First Division title.

After 10 years at Portman Road, Butcher moved north of the border to join Rangers and spent four trophy-laden years at Ibrox before becoming player-manager of Coventry at the age of 31. He later turned out for Sunderland, while managing the club, and spent a brief period at Scottish outfit Clydebank.

Club Stats

Years Clubs App Goals
1976-86 Ipswich 271 16
1986-90 Rangers 127 9
1990-92 Coventry 6 0
1992-93 Sunderland 38 0
1993 Clydebank 3 0

International Career

Butcher made his international debut in a friendly against Australia in 1980 and went on to become a mainstay of the England team. He was the youngest member of England's back four at the 1982 World Cup and four years later he was part of the team which suffered an infamous defeat at the hands - literally - of Diego Maradona.

A broken leg kept Butcher out of Euro 88 before he returned to help his country to the 1990 World Cup - where the semi-final defeat to West Germany would prove to be his last international appearance.

International Career Stats

Years Clubs App Goals
1980-90 England 77 3

Managerial Career

Butcher became the youngest manager in the Football League when he took over at Coventry at the age of 31 in November 1990. He was sacked in January 1992 and it would be over a year before he returned to football to take up the reins at Sunderland as player-manager. With the team struggling at the foot of the First Division, Butcher was sacked in December 1993.

He returned to management in 2002 with Motherwell and enjoyed his best spell as a boss with the Scottish club, guiding them to the League Cup final. He moved to Australia in 2006 to take charge of Sydney FC but his time there was short-lived. He spent a brief spell in charge of Brentford before taking over at Inverness Caledonian Thistle in 2009.

Key Games

Ipswich 3-0 AZ Alkmaar (UEFA Cup final 1st leg, May 6, 1981)

Butcher's impressive central defensive partnership with Russell Osman had been the key to Town's surge through the rounds - and the pair were again formidable at the back in the first leg of the final. With Butcher heading everything in sight, Ipswich kept a clean sheet against a team renowned for their attacking prowess. Goals from John Wark, Frans Thijssen and Paul Mariner gave Ipswich a commanding 3-0 lead, meaning they could afford to lose the second leg 4-2 and still be crowned UEFA Cup winners - handing Butcher his first major footballing honour.

Aberdeen 1-1 Rangers (Scottish Premier Division, May 2, 1987)

Butcher enjoyed a fairytale end to his first season in Scotland. The towering defender scored a thumping header in the penultimate match of the season against Aberdeen, securing a draw that meant Rangers were crowned League champions for the first time in nine years.

Sweden 0-0 England (World Cup qualifier, September 6, 1989)

This would prove to be the defining moment in Butcher's international career. He had suffered a deep cut in his head during this vital clash with Sweden, which England needed to draw to all but secure qualification for the 1990 World Cup. After being stitched up, Butcher returned to the field and proceeded to put in a heroic performance, continually putting his badly wounded head in front of the ball. As he celebrated the result at the end of the match, Butcher's white shirt was almost entirely covered in blood - turning him into a national hero and producing one of the most iconic images in footballing history.


Club Competition Year
Ipswich UEFA Cup 1981
Rangers Scottish League Championship 1986-87, 1988-89, 1989-90
Scottish League Cup 1987, 1989

Did You Know...?

In 1988, Butcher and Rangers team-mate Chris Woods were found guilty of disorderly conduct and a breach of the peace after an altercation with Celtic striker Frank McAvennie during an Old Firm game at Ibrox. Woods was fined £500 and Butcher £250

Singapore-born Butcher is one of a number of footballers who have played for England but were not born in the country. Others include Cyrille Regis, John Barnes, Graeme Le Saux, Matt Le Tissier and Owen Hargreaves

Butcher is one of only 10 England players to have played in three World Cups. The others are Tom Finney, Billy Wright, Bobby Charlton, Bobby Moore, Peter Shilton, Bryan Robson, David Beckham, Michael Owen and Sol Campbell

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From the back pages

Ipswich 3-0 AZ Alkmaar Published: May 7, 1981

UEFA Cup final 1st leg match report

Sweden 0-0 England Published: September 7, 1989

European Championship qualifier match report

Give Butch The VC! Published: September 7, 1989

European Championship qualifier back page

I'm No Hero! Published: September 8, 1989

European Championship qualifier news story

Butchered! Published: November 15, 1990

First Division news story

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