Tag Archives: Nicky Butt

Memorable Matches: Tottenham Hotspur 2-3 Newcastle United (January 2007)

Goalscorers: Jermain Defoe 14, Paul Huntington 16, Dimitar Berbatov 54, Obafemi Martins 72, Nicky Butt 73

Teams:

Tottenham Hotspur: Paul Robinson, Lee-Young Pyo, Calum Davenport (Hossam Ghaly 88), Michael Dawson, Pascal Chimbonda, Teemu Tainio (Didier Zokora 79), Tom Huddlestone, Steed Malbranque (Robbie Keane 75), Aaron Lennon, Dimitar Berbatov, Jermain Defoe

Newcastle United: Shay Given, Paul Huntington, Matty Pattison, Peter Ramage, Steven Taylor, Nicky Butt, James Milner, Antoine Sibierski, Kieron Dyer, Nolberto Solano, Obafemi Martins

Referee: Steve Bennett, Attendance: 35,942

This was a match in January 2007 that promised much and certainly delivered. Neither Tottenham Hotspur, nor Newcastle United were in sparkling form ahead of this encounter between two mid-table sides. Newcastle arrived with a threadbare squad but ultimately finished the afternoon as the happier side, taking all three points for their first win at White Hart Lane since January 2003.

Tottenham completely dominated their opponents in the first 15 minutes but ran into an inspired Shay Given, who put in another blockbuster performance. He made early saves to deny Jermain Defoe, Dimitar Berbatov and Steed Malbranque. Eventually, the pressure told and Spurs got a deserved lead. Malbranque made a surging run down the left-hand side and played in Defoe to convert in a position where he normally takes his chances. Television replays later showed a potential for an offside in the build-up but the goal stood and at this stage, it looked being a long afternoon for the Magpies’.

Perhaps Tottenham switched off completely because concentration levels dropped just two minutes later. James Milner curled in a free-kick. Youngster Paul Huntington had a header blocked. However, he reacted quickest to the loose ball and squirmed a shot in-between the legs of Paul Robinson for an unexpected leveller. It was Newcastle’s very first attack of the match.

As Steve Bennett blew the half-time whistle, trouble flared up between both sets of players. Pascal Chimbonda of Tottenham and Newcastle’s Nicky Butt were booked for their part in a scuffle where Chimbonda appeared to slap Butt in the face. The Frenchman was very fortunate to avoid more severe sanction. Newcastle manager Glenn Roeder was not impressed with Chimbonda’s conduct and nine minutes into the second half, his anger was bound to have grown. The right-back made an impressive run to meet Malbranque’s pass. Nolberto Solano was able to deny Teemu Tainio but Berbatov was instinctive enough to volley the ball into the floor and into the net.

Tottenham continued to control the match but failed to convert their opportunities and in the space of 94 seconds, saw the potential of three points turn into the probability of getting nothing. Obafemi Martins was having a quiet afternoon but in the 72nd minute, he burst into life. Playing a one-two with a colleague, the Nigerian forced Michael Dawson into backing off on him. Martins then delivered an unstoppable left-foot drive that sped into the top corner, giving Robinson absolutely no chance.

Moments later, Martins turned provider for what turned out to be the winner. He played a delightful ball for Butt who made a run from midfield and angled a shot across Robinson’s bows and into the net. It was a nice moment for the ex-Manchester United youngster who had been suffering from flu all week and missed a high proportion of training. Newcastle held the hosts off for an improbable and unlikely victory.

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Premier League Files: Nicky Butt

Premier League Career: Manchester United (1992-2004), Newcastle United (2004-2005), (2006-2009), Birmingham City (2005-2006)

Part of the young talent that were dubbed “Fergie’s Fledglings,” Nicky Butt enjoyed a lengthy and fruitful Premier League career, winning six Premier League titles at Manchester United. He is back at the club where he received his big break helping today’s youngsters in the academy as well as being one of the five ‘Class of 92’ owners at Salford City FC.

The midfielder turned professional in 1993 but he had already made his Premier League debut by then, appearing as a late substitute in Manchester United’s 3-0 victory over Oldham Athletic in November 1992. It wasn’t until the 1994-1995 season though that the Old Trafford faithful got to see Butt play on a regular basis.

Roy Keane and Paul Ince were the main central midfielders at the time but with Paul Parker injured and Gary Neville still an emerging talent, Keane was often asked to deputise as a right-back. That meant Butt got more opportunities than expected and when Ince departed in the 1995 pre-season for Serie A with Inter Milan, Ferguson elected to draft Butt into the team on a regular basis as Ince’s replacement.

Goals were not a crucial part of Nicky’s game. Instead, his job was to be the ball-winner in midfield and allow the creative talents to take control going forwards. Nevertheless, he could still chip in with the odd strike. This included a goal in the opening minute of a fixture with Liverpool FC in October 1995 which was Eric Cantona’s comeback match after his nine-month ban for his kung-fu kick on a Crystal Palace supporter. In 1997-1998, Butt made the PFA Team of the Year and many believed this was his best season in the colours of Manchester United as he developed leadership qualities after a knee injury robbed the club of Keane’s presence for much of that season.

Although he started the 1999 UEFA Champions League final victory in Barcelona as Keane was suspended, Roy’s return to fitness, coupled with Paul Scholes dropping back into a central role meant Butt’s first-team opportunities got more limited into the millennium. As competition increased in the midfield, he realised it was time to leave the club that developed him. In January 2004, Nicky Butt handed in a transfer request. Sir Alex Ferguson admitted: “Nicky Butt has asked to leave; it is a very sad situation. Nicky has given Manchester United great service but he wants to play first-team football.”

After turning down a move to Birmingham City, Butt was signed by Sir Bobby Robson for Newcastle United in July 2004. Signing a four-year deal, he was seen as a replacement for Gary Speed who had departed for Bolton Wanderers. Robson was sacked though four games into the new season and Graeme Souness was not convinced by Butt’s performances. He signed Emre, Amdy Faye and Scott Parker and sent Butt packing on-loan to ironically, Birmingham City in August 2005.

He scored on his Blues’ home debut in a 2-1 defeat to Manchester City and played 24 times but after finding out that Steve Bruce had picked his son Alex ahead of him for an away trip to West Ham United, he walked out of the squad and was fined for his lack of discipline. He apologised and returned to the squad but Birmingham were relegated at the end of the season and he returned to Newcastle.

Butt became an integral part of the Newcastle line-up on his return and would captain the side on many occasions when Parker and Michael Owen were injured. He won over the fans’, who had been sceptical about his arrival in the first place and stayed with the club even after their relegation from the top-flight in 2009. He helped get them back into the Premier League before retiring from football.

He might not have attracted major headlines but Nicky Butt had a medal-winning career.