The Football League Paper - - INSIDE: - By Luke Baker

AS A qual­i­fied ref­eree and coach of Don­caster Rovers’ un­der-12s, you could ex­cuse Andy But­ler for hav­ing his at­ten­tions else­where at times.

But the Donny club cap­tain in­sists he is fo­cused on one thing only, and that is en­sur­ing the good times re­turn to his home-town club sooner rather than later.

Hav­ing made his de­but for Scun­thorpe in 2003, de­fender But­ler went on loan to Don­caster in Oc­to­ber 2014 and signed per­ma­nently from Wal­sall the fol­low­ing Jan­uary.

He was un­able to halt Don­caster’s slide down the foot­ball pyra­mid, how­ever, and this sea­son the 33-year-old is in­stalled as club cap­tain with Rovers in League Two.

Now, they look hell-bent on bounc­ing straight back to League One. They sat top of the tree at Christ­mas, with But­ler hop­ing pro­mo­tion will fi­nally get his mates off his back.

“All my friends sup­port Don­caster and

my mates are def­i­nitely first to crit­i­cise when I make a mis­take,” he said.

“They give me a hard time, but they gen­uinely are sup­port­ive, though some of them find it re­ally strange that they used to play foot­ball with me and now they’re watch­ing me. It’s a bit sur­re­si­bil­ity, al for them, but a bit sur­real for me, too, when I see them wear­ing Rovers shirts!

“You never think you’ll have the chance to play for your home club and it brings a smile to your face.

“I know ev­ery­thing Don­caster have been through and, al­though last year wasn’t a great year, to tryto re­build is a chal­lenge every­one is look­ing for­ward to.


“No dis­re­spect to League Two, but we be­lieve we should be in League One and higher than that. Pro­mo­tion is what we want and what we’re aim­ing for. “All pro­mo­tions are spe­cial. I’ve had a cou­ple in my ca­reer, but help­ing Don­caster back up the leagues is what I want. “It would be a great feel­ing and good for the town. I’d love to put a smile on peo­ple’s faces and get more fans com­ing back to the club. “I be­lieve we should be look­ing to get back up into the Cham­pi­onship. You look at the in­fra­struc­ture of the club and the staff and it’s geared for Cham­pi­onship foot­ball. “We’ve had a cou­ple of sea­sons that haven’t gone right, but I be­lieve this a Cham­pi­onship club, a big club. “The gaffer, the board and di­rec­tors all have a plan and it’s about putting that into ac­tion now.” If be­ing club cap­tain of his home­town club wasn’t enough re­spon- But­ler has taken it upon him­self to coach the club’s un­der-12s, along­side Shane Pal­lett.

Add in the fact that But­ler has been a qual­i­fied ref­eree since 2010 and it would seem he is set for a life in foot­ball af­ter he hangs up his boots, though it might be without the cards in his pock­ets.

“My­self and Shane Pal­lett coach the un­der-12s. He’s the main guy and I do a lit­tle bit of the coach­ing. I re­ally en­joy it,” he added.

“The 12s are a very good age. They lis­ten, they’re keen to work and it’s all a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for me be­cause I’m new to it as well. I like to do as much as I can and keep my­self busy. I just en­joy be­ing around foot­ball, it’s in my blood.


“I’ve put the ref­er­ee­ing on the back­burner a lit­tle bit be­cause I en­joy coach­ing the young­sters.

“It’s some­thing else I can try af­ter I fin­ish play­ing be­cause I want to stay in foot­ball. I’ve done foot­ball since I was 16, so it’s all I re­ally know. It’s a great en­vi­ron­ment and you want to stay in it as long as you can.

“I’m a qual­i­fied ref­eree and I will pick it up again, but it’s just tough to fit it all in.

“My son plays on a Sun­day and I coach his un­der-8s team, so it’s of­ten a choice be­tween that and ref­er­ee­ing.

“I’m at as high a level as I can be without com­mit­ting to a Satur­day game, so I felt like I was just do­ing Sun­day League games for no re­ward.

“I thought I’d give it a bit of a back­seat and see how the coach­ing goes for a while.”


MY BALL: But­ler, right and Ben Kennedy of Steve­nage tan­gle

CALM IT: But­ler hears the ref

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