Dyer: Terry Butcher - What a Guy!
Monday, 21st Dec 2020 12:58
Kieron Dyer is thoroughly enjoying working with Terry Butcher with the Blues’ U23s and says the legendary Town and England defender has the same enthusiasm for the game as Sir Bobby Robson.
Dyer, 41, was appointed the Blues’ U23s coach at the beginning of last month with Butcher, who returned to the club in a part-time role in February, working alongside him.
“I started working at the club at the start of November so I’ve probably had about six or seven weeks with Terry,” Dyer said.
“What a guy! Obviously I’d come across Terry loads of times on the radio or at the football club or at different functions but I didn’t realise how big Terry was, almost like a national treasure, until we did a talk at a fans’ event in London.
“The guest speakers on the night were Ray Parlour, me and Terry Butcher. Basically me and Ray Parlour needn’t have been there!
“I knew he was a legend for Ipswich and if you win 77 caps you’re a legend for your country, but to see that kind of iconic status was eye-opening.
“Since I’ve come in and worked with him, two things have stuck out. I can’t believe how humble the guy is and how selfless he is as well. He’ll do anything for anybody. It’s been a joy.”
Although Dyer remembers Butcher as a player, some of the youngsters they’re coaching are too young even to recall his own career.
“The first World Cups I remember were Mexico 86 and Italia 90,” Dyer said. “So obviously I can remember Terry, I can relate to Terry because when I was a kid he was still playing and in the prime of his career.
“But a lot of these kids, when I was in the prime of my career, they were probably toddlers.
“Probably the majority of the U23s have never seen me play or if they did were really young and don’t know too much about me, so they have definitely never really seen Terry and didn’t really know how good Terry was or what Terry was about as a player.
“I remember one of the first weeks, I went in to the club and Tawanda Chirewa and a couple of the players in the U18s and BK [Bryan Klug] had his phone out and had the iconic photo of Terry with the bandaged head playing for his country [against Sweden in a World Cup qualifier in 1989].
“And Bryan was like, ‘Who’s that?’ and they were all like ‘We know that picture, that’s an iconic picture!’. Bryan said ‘Who’s that Tawanda’ and he was like ‘I don’t know!’ and Bryan said ‘That’s Terry Butcher!’ and you could see the admiration on all of their faces straight away - ‘Oh my God!’.
“In a way it was such a good story about how academy players can’t relate to even me, and I still class myself as relatively young, because they never really saw me live, but everybody has seen that iconic picture of Terry, even 17 and 18-year-old kids and when they realised it was actually Terry Butcher, wow!
“That was when you saw that respect, he went up even more in their estimation and now they hang on every one of his words, which is good for Terry and makes it easier for him to coach the kids.”
Dyer believes from a coaching perspective Town’s young defenders will benefit greatly from working with Butcher.
“How good is it for our centre-halves? All I ever say to the centre-halves is that they’re so blessed that they’ve got Terry Butcher in the football club.
“They can go through their clips with him because this is a guy who has played at the top, top level and the knowledge that he has in his brain when it comes to defending is incredible.
“It’s very rare in academy football, whether it’s U16s, U18s, U23s, you rarely get clean sheets because it’s about the development aspect, the games are often 4-3, there are often high-scoring games.
“We played Swansea the other day and we were 5-0 up and we conceded a goal and after the game Terry’s absolutely gutted that we didn’t get the clean sheet and he was letting them know, ‘As a defender, the game’s won but we’re proud’. Just trying to get that mindset of how important clean sheets are for defenders.”
That win against the Swans took the U23s up to second in Professional Development League Two South as they go into the Christmas break.
Dyer says it’s not just on the purely footballing side that Butcher has sought to have an influence.
“What I love about Terry as well, if you put all the coaching and stuff aside, he has been brought up in the ‘Ipswich way’, he calls it the ‘Ipswich way’.” he said.
“And when I said he is so humble and so selfless an example of that is when we’ve had long away trips. We’ve had two really big away trips, we went to Bristol City for an afternoon game and we got back late, probably about 10 o’clock at night.
“But the game that really sticks out is when we played Sheffield United with a seven o’clock kick-off and we got back at two o’clock in the morning.
“When I was doing the U18s with Adem Atay, we used to get back and to give the kids a good grounding, they’d get all the skips off, they’d get the bags of balls, they’d get the tactics boards off, they’d put the kit in the laundry, then we’d say goodbye and make sure they got home safely and go.
“When we pulled up at the training ground at two o’clock after the Sheffield United game, we’ve been travelling since 9am, the first one off the coach is Terry and he’s got one bag of balls strapped around one shoulder, one bag of balls wrapped round the other shoulder, he’s got the tactics board under one arm, he’s pushing along a skip and I’m pleading with him, saying ‘Terry, we’ve got 16 young players, young pros, they’re meant to do that!’.
“‘No, no, this is the Ipswich way, we’re all in it together!’ He’s humping all this gear and you’re just in admiration. What a man!
“The enthusiasm to do it, to show these kids. I’m saying the kids should do it from a grounding point of view, but he’s grown up in a way where we’re all in it together, he’s going to show them that he’ll put the effort in and they’ll need to match that, which is fantastic.
“Even little things. We will sometimes come in early to plan our session. Terry will maybe go and speak to Bryan or someone and I’ll think ‘Yes, I’ve got a chance, I’m going to take all the gear on the training ground!’.
“So there I am, I’ve wrapped both bags of balls on my shoulder, I’ve got the bibs with me, I’ve got my cones and I’m thinking that I’ll save Terry’s legs and arms.
“Off I go and literally after two steps I’ll hear ‘Oi, where are you going? Put that back!’. I’m saying ‘Terry, honestly I can do it, it’s good for my fitness!’. ‘No, no!’ and he gets another bag of bibs.
“And we go out there and I’m setting up the training pitches and he says ‘Do we need goals?’ and I say ‘Yes’. We’ve got big full-size goals and he’ll go and get them, he’s pushing them all on his own. What a guy!
“He’s been brought up in the Ipswich way when we had a really successful club and he’s getting up there in years now, he’s 61, but the enthusiasm he has on the football pitch reminds me of Sir Bobby.
“I played under Sir Bobby at Newcastle when he was about 70 years of age, but his enthusiasm was incredible.
“I try to look at myself and imagine how I’d been in my sixties and I just see myself as a grumpy old man but I hope I have that enthusiasm and that spirit. You can tell Terry has had a good grounding with Sir Bobby.
“I didn’t know what to expect working with Terry, but I think we’ve gelled really well. Like I said, forget Terry the coach, Terry the man, I can’t speak highly enough of him. Like I said, I’m really happy with working with Terry, it’s been brilliant.”
Photos: TWTD/Action Images
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