Doncaster Rovers: '˜Someone egged my house last year - hopefully they'll come back to clean it up now'
When it comes to the highs and lows of Doncaster Rovers over the last two seasons, few individuals have felt the impact quite as keenly as Andy Butler.
Doncaster born and bred, the proud club captain lives in the borough, putting him at the front line for the reactions of supporters.
It is safe to say that relegation last season did not go down too well with Rovers fans – as Butler knew all too well.
“I think my house got egged,” he told the Free Press. “Someone tried to egg my window and it hit the bottom part of the wall after the last game of the season.
“Hopefully they’ll come around and clean it off this year.
“Last year it was a case that I didn’t want to show my face around town.
“This year it’s brilliant.
“People are coming up now and they’re so happy with how we’re playing and the results we’re getting.
“Even though it’s League Two, it inspires people and that is what you want to do.”
Promotion is secured following last weekend’s win over Mansfield Town which sparked jubilant scenes at the Keepmoat.
Attention now turns to winning the League Two title and a chance for the current crop of players to write their names in the history books of the club.
For Butler, the opportunity is too good to miss out on.
He said: “It’s brilliant.
“I never thought I would play for Doncaster. I thought my time had come and gone.
“I’ve loved every minute here. It’s ten minutes from my house into training, which makes it so much easier.
“It means a lot to be in this position.
“You’ve written your name in a bit of history for Doncaster Rovers and that is what every single player in there has done.”
A year is a long time in football – as Rovers have proved over the last 12 months.
A relegation no one saw coming and one most would say should never have happened.
Since the final day of last season, when Rovers watched Burton Albion celebrate promotion to the Championship as they face up to the reality of relegation, the focus was firmly on getting back to League One immediately.
“The gaffer said at the end of the Burton game when they were celebrating, take that as an example of what you need to do,” Butler said.
“You need to be there and win these games and have that feeling.
“There is nothing worse than someone celebrating in front of you as you’ve been relegated. We had to take that on board.
“Straight after that we signed Tommy Rowe.
“That showed the intention what the club, the board, the gaffer had to do, I think it inspires you when you see signings like that.
“Tommy has been brilliant this year, he’s got some important goals.
“We worked hard all pre-season. Ben Rome put on a brilliant pre-season for us.
“We had a few injuries but it just shows the strength and depth of the squad we’ve got that we’ve got players now coming back who are just as good as what we’ve got and continuing what the gaffer has set out.
“We’ve had winners in the dressing room all season.
“The recruitment was brilliant. John Marquis, Mathieu Baudry, Matty Blair, Niall Mason – it was superb what the club managed to do.
“That comes from the gaffer’s recruitment and what he’s brought to the club.
“I read in an interview where he said the club was stale and it probably was. It probably needed changing.
“This knock*back has helped us kick on again, all the way down to Academy level where we’re coming together as a full team.”
A good weekend for Butler was capped off as he was named PFA Player in the Community at the EFL Awards in London on Sunday night.
The 33-year-old was recognised for his coaching with the younger age groups at the club as well as tireless community work he undertakes.
And he says he is proud to represent Rovers within Doncaster.
“It’s a real family club,” he said.
“In the community, the work Club Doncaster does, the Foundation, the work Rovers do, it makes it easy for us to go out there and express what they want to show.
“I think footballers have a massive role in the community and just by being there, seeing the kids’ faces, it makes it worthwhile.
“I enjoy coaching, going to see kids at schools.
“My little girl has done a few player appearances as well when I take her from nursery,
“I think if you ask most players, they all enjoy player visits.
“It’s only an hour of your week at a time to go and do a player visit but you see what it means.”
Given his standing in the community and Rovers’ standing in League Two, Butler can rest in the knowledge he will not be getting a visit from the phantom egg flinger this summer.”