Eight years ago today, the club was rocked to it's very core upon hearing the news that midfielder Richard Butcher had tragically passed away in the night.
Richard in many ways was far from being a “typical” footballer.
He was polite, well mannered and grounded which adhered him to everyone that he came into contact with.
Butch lived his life-long dream and became a role model for the profession which was lucky to be able to call him one of their own.
Richard began his career at Northampton Town and although he was released from Sixfields in March 2000, he never gave up on his dream.
After a short spell at Rushden and Diamonds, Butch helped Kettering Town seal an instant return to the fifth tier of English Football in 2002.
Unbeknown to him, Richard’s next move would change his football career forever as he signed for Keith Alexander’s Lincoln City where he would make over one hundred appearances over three years at Sincil Bank.
Under the guidance of Alexander and Gary Simpson, Richard’s professional career took off, as the three men forged an unbreakable bond which would never be broken.
In the summer of 2005, Butch signed for Oldham Athletic and despite making 34 league appearances for The Latics, would re-join Keith and Gary at the end of the season – this time at Peterborough United.
The Big Man clearly placed an infinite amount of trust in the midfielder, as Richard was virtually an ever present for the Posh over the next twelve months.
After Alexander and Simpson left the club in the summer of 2007, Butch followed suit and went on to become an integral part of Notts County’s squad over the course of the next two seasons.
A brief return to Sincil Bank followed, before Richard would be reunited with Keith and Gary for a third time in February 2010 when he signed for The Silkmen.
Richard would score on his debut for the club against Bury, yet just a month later tragedy was to strike as Alexander suddenly passed away following a midweek trip to Notts County.
With the club in mourning, Richard’s close friend and mentor Gary Simpson would take charge but just ten months later the Moss Rose was rocked once more with the news that Butch himself had passed away on 10th January 2011.
Although the years continue to roll by, both Richard and Keith remain firmly engrained within the fabric of the club and nothing exemplifies this more than looking at the brilliant work which goes on every day under the “Project 21” banner.
Designed to give youngsters the opportunity to pursue their dreams in a safe and encouraging environment, the scheme was launched by Richard’s family back in 2016.
As we unite with Richard's wonderful family today, we stand with them to celebrate the life and legacy of one of the nicest footballers you could ever wish to meet.
Richard Butcher – he’s our 21.