Next up for our ex-player Q and A’s is Andy Butler. A favourite of mine growing up, and would be found in my top 5 favourite players. A really interesting read. Thanks to Andy for answering these. I will let him sign the article off himself as there is a message to the fans.
Firstly, how did your transfer to Walsall first come about?
Transfer came about with a bit of luck to be honest. I was out of contract with no club , I’d had a phone call from Lincoln city to go and trial there(who were bottom of league 2) so that morning as I was about to drive to Lincoln I had a phone call from Chris Hutchings, asking me to come trial at Walsall (currently bottom of league 1) I wanted to stay as high as I could so I opted to travel to Walsall, When I got there Walsall we’re preparing for Fleetwood away on the FA cup so they were on the pitch training. I was in the team which were lining up against the starting xi , the we’re doing set pieces and practising long throws. A few set pieces came in and I won most of the headers and after 1 long throw i cleared the ball to the half way line with a header and after that Chris asked me to sign. (So lucky really!!!) Rest is history!
What was it like to be made Captain?
It was amazing to be captain!! Dean smith was put in charge (great guy) and he put me as Captain (1st time id ever been made full time captain) so it was a real honour !! I think we played tranmere and I scored last minute to equalise 3-3. So great start!!
What was your favourite match to play in?
There are some real moments in my Walsall career that stand out….Rochdale away when we were 2-0 up and cruising to being 3-2 behind in the 95th minute, then Matt sadler(one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet) played a ball from kick off and I’d ran from the half way line and scored from a header 20 yards out! It effectively relegated Rochdale which was justice for me as they told me I wasn’t good enough the year before. SOUTHAMPTON away…when we lost 3-1 but both had something to celebrate, we had stayed up and Southampton had been promoted! I remember wrestling the stewards to get to the Walsall fans after that game! (The great escape!!) And a small game against wolves where we had just lost the weeks before in the cup and their keeper made a huge deal of the penalty shoot out…..I remember the goal so well, I ran in for the free kick and told Andy Taylor (another close friend) to basically F**k Off as he had played the ball too long, luckily for me we kept it alive and I was in the right place at the right time to “meg” Danny Bart Bath Batth ??? On the line! what a feeling! I was so happy to pay back the fans as they were incredible for me during my time there, i miss being part of that family! It was a great squad with amazing people in the club Dan Mole especially!
What was your favourite goal?
WOLVES!!! The pure euphoria!!!! Rochdale a close 2nd!!
Who was the best player you ever played with?
Best player I played with at Walsall….Rich O’Donnell (unbelievable player/person)and Jamie Paterson (technically brilliant!) James Chamber’s ( he just keeps going and going!) Away from Walsall….James Coppinger…..idol/legend and another top bloke
Who was the best player you ever played against?
Eidur Gudjonson ,Chelsea,his movement was incredible as well as his 1st touch! There’s been a few others. Drogba, Kevin Philips, Jordi Cruyff (testimonial)
What was it like being the player who ‘put the ball in the dingles net’?
INCREDIBLE!! I have a picture on my wall of that day!!!! Steve Edis a close friend and also great plumbing teacher! Always reminds me about that day!! Like I said earlier , it was hopefully my way of saying “thank you!” To all the fans and club!
What was it like returning to the club as a fan favourite on the opposing team?
I’m not particularly fond of playing against Walsall because I feel I have a bond with the fans, although recent results against them have always been in Walsall’s favour!! But you want to thank the fans but at the same time you don’t want to be seen as rubbing it in if I’ve won and also if I’ve lost I don’t want to come over and say thank you coz I’m so pissed off with the result. (There’s no offence from myself, I just love to win!)
Finally, what are you up to these days?
I’m currently at SUFC , still playing at the age of 36, still feel fit and even fitter than I was younger. Also manager of DONCASTER ROVERS BELLES LFC along with my assistant and friend Nick Buxton and im really enjoying that side of it! A new challenge which I’m learning every day!! We’re currently in the midlands league so a lot of our games are around Walsall, so if you want to come down and watch and have a chat please do!!!
Hope all the Walsall Fans and people who work their are all well and keeping safe during these difficult times! I’ll hopefully see you all again in some capacity !!
Thanks Andy…..”who put the ball in the ……..”