BUTLER: “I’m immensely proud playing for my local club”

Doncaster Rovers club captain Andy Butler has spoken of his pride of playing for his hometown club following promotion from League Two this season. I spoke to Andy last week at the launch of next season’s home and away kits, sponsored by Virgin Trains.

Butler said: “I’m immensely proud. Even if we didn’t get promotion (this year) I’d have been immensely proud playing for my home club. I get a lot of friends and family that come to the games so it means a lot.”

Originally signing on loan in October 2014 from South Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United, Butler quickly became a fan favourite at the Keepmoat, and was very keen to sign permanently the following January, putting pen to paper on a two and a half year deal. His no nonsense defending and his superb leadership was admired by Rovers fans and he was a stand out performer during his debut season at Doncaster.

After a highly successful spell at Scunthorpe United which saw him help the Iron to the League One title in 2007, a loan move from Huddersfield Town to Blackpool saw him help the Tangerines to a place in the Premier League in 2010.

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Butler helped Scunthorpe to the League One title back in 2007, something that he hopes he can emulate at Doncaster in the future.

He then signed for Walsall later on that year, quickly becoming an influential figure in the West Midlands, captaining the side for much of his time there. However, travelling from his home in Doncaster every day for training meant that Butler eventually ended his stay at the Bescot in 2014, signing for Sheffield United that summer.

For what ever reason, Butler only made a solitary appearance at Bramall Lane, and was sent on loan to Doncaster, where he has remained ever since, and he won’t have looked back, though admitted that he never thought he would end up playing for his local side. He said: “I didn’t think it would happen playing for my home town, but I’m now enjoying every minute and it is great to be a part of a club that is really going places.”

Named club captain ahead of this season, he has also taken the armband on the pitch throughout the year, and he also does a lot for the club off the pitch too. He coaches Rovers’ Under 13 side, as well as helping out in the community with various Rovers’ projects in the area, and that saw him win the PFA Community Player of the Year at the EFL awards in April.

Going forward for next season, Butler is excited for Rovers’ return to League One, and he told me: “We’ve got to continue the form. We’ve been in this league before and with the additions we can be competitive. We will aim as high as we can.”

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A rock at the heart of the Rovers’ defence, Butler has been involved with guiding Rovers back to League One at the first time of asking.

“We’ve got players like Rowey (Tommy Rowe), Ian (Lawlor) and John (Marquis) who have all been there before, and we can only go from strength to strength. The players have all brought in to the manager’s philosophy and we can only get stronger as a team.”

Butler will only want to improve himself next year, and he was again one of the player’s of the year for Rovers this season. He is keen to make the step back up to League One and he will be eager for Rovers to regain some of their momentum early on if they are to challenge at the top end of the table next season.

Andy Butler was speaking at the launch of the new Doncaster Rovers’ home and away kits for the 2017/18 season.

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