Thursday, 26 March 2009


Former Spurs, Portsmouth, Gillingham and Brighton defender Guy Butters is giving something back to a community that has supported him for so long.

Butters, 39, is currently working under Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club’s hugely successful community scheme.

He is relishing his latest role as West Sussex Development Officer for ‘Albion in the Community’ and is grateful that he is still very much in Football: “The feedback and enjoyment I get is really good and it’s good to give something back,” he said.

Brighton was voted as Community Club of the Year at the Football League Awards in 2007.

Butters left his last fully professional club Brighton last year after a career spanning two decades to play at a semi-professional level for Conference South side Havant & Waterlooville, leaving him the chance to stay behind the scenes at The Seagulls.

“The chairman [Dick Knight] was always telling me about the community work and he wanted to get ex-pros on it.”

Alongside 25 other coaches, Brighton’s community scheme runs P.E lessons to encourage children to participate in a wide range of sports, as well as exclusively football-based after school clubs and skills training centres. Butters, alongside fellow senior coach Tony Clark, works with schools in the West Sussex area to get young people into sport.

Butters hopes that his work in the community will give him the start he needs to take his experience into coaching at a more professional level within Football as he pledges to stay in the game for as long as possible: “As I’m getting my coaching badges, I want to keep moving up the ladder and see where it takes me,” he said.

Friday, 6 March 2009


Much to my delight, new Southampton manager Mark Wotte seems to have given a flailing side a new lease of life...and some points to go with it. Nine out of nine in fact.

Saints are struggling financially, which in recent seasons has taken its toll on the field. Jan Poortvliet decided to deal with this problem by disregarding the more experienced players with higher wages, almost without exception. The goalkeeper, Kelvin Davis, and defenders Chris Perry and Rudi Skacel were the only first team regulars from last season that Poortvliet picked on a regular basis earlier this season.

But Mark Wotte has been less stubborn since taking over at St. Mary's in late January. He seems to have found a balance between youth and experience in the side by recalling the likes of Jason Euell and Marek Saganowski from a loan spell at Brondby in Denmark. He has also reverted back to using the 4-4-2 formation - which was out of the question under Poortvliet - and it has reaped its rewards - especially at home.

Here's how Saints picked up three wins on the spin in their last three games...

Saturday, 21st February: SAINTS 3-1 Preston

Three first half goals were enough to secure Saints only their second home win of the season.

Andrew Surman opened the scoring after 19 minutes by placing home from close range after Marek Saganowski laid the ball into his path.

Saganowski made it 2-0 ten minutes later following good build up play by Adam Lallana and Simon Gillet. The Pole latched home ruthlessly from the edge of the box to give Saints a strong lead at the half time whistle.

Ross Wallace pulled one back for Preston 17 minutes from time, but a strong Saints back line headed by Chris Perry and new signing Jan-Paul Saeijs held out.

Saturday, 28th February: SAINTS 1-0 Cardiff City

Saints ended Cardiff’s 13-match unbeaten run to strengthen their fight against relegation.

David McGoldrick converted an 11th minute penalty after Cardiff’s Mark Kennedy was adjudged to have handled a Jason Euell cross.

Saints’ keeper Kelvin Davis pulled off a magnificent one-handed save from Cardiff striker Paul Parry in the first half.

The Bluebirds tired towards the end after their midweek cup clash with Arsenal and Saints managed to hold on to a vital three points.

Mark Wotte: "I am very proud of my team and the way they have been fighting for each other in the last few weeks."

Tuesday, 3rd March: Ipswich Town 0-3 SAINTS

A resurgent Saints side dominated play-off chasing Ipswich to pick up their third win in a row.

Jason Euell headed home his first goal of the season from an Andrew Surman free-kick shortly after a Jan-Paul Saeijs header was disallowed.

Saints had another goal disallowed in the second half after Chris Perry had tapped home from a Simon Gillett corner in a game where 3-0 flattered Ipswich.

Euell took full advantage of a defensive error calmly netted his second with five minutes to play. Late substitute Matt Paterson fired in Saints’ third shortly after as David Norris lost possession for The Tractor Boys in their own half.


Southampton are still two points from safety with their relegation rivals also picking up form at the right time.

They face a tough away day tomorrow at second-placed Birmingham City, but there is renewed hope at St. Mary’s following recent performances under Mark Wotte.