Club legend Terry Butcher handed coaching role at Ipswich Town
Ipswich Town legend Terry Butcher has started an academy coaching role at Playford Road – and he may yet be utilised by Paul Lambert to help with first team defenders.
The former England captain, 61, has developed a close relationship with Lambert since the Blues boss invited in several club legends soon after taking the Town job in October 2018.
"It's a bit of a bespoke role, but it's something that will benefit the club, the players, the staff and the supporters," explained Town's general manager of football operations Lee O'Neill.
"He's an icon of the club, he lives in the area and has been doing stuff for the club from the commercial side of things and has been active in the media. He obviously has a lot of knowledge from playing and managing.
"From my point of view, and Bryan Klug's and the manager's, we thought it would be a really good idea to have him and a few other ex players come in and be a little bit more actively involved in the day-to-day operations, particularly the academy, where we feel he can help with the players, with some of the coaches and some of the parents.
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"Fundamentally there will be some players at this club that are going through some development pathways that he can help with from a defensive point of view. He wants to get out on the grass. He's out there this afternoon working with some of our young defenders.
"That doesn't mean he won't work with some of the first team squad - Luke (Woolfenden), Luke (Chambers) and James Wilson, for example. The manager may or may not ask him to get involved in that too.
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"He's got a great relationship with the manager. They speak a lot and I think he understands the club and where it is at the moment."
O'Neill continues: "We have a number of other ex players who have and do work within the academy. They do have other commitments outside of the club, so we try and work on something around them which enables us to utilise their skills as best as possible.
"Those icons set the bar so high for this football club. They rightly deserve all the credit that comes their way for a number of years after that. I personally grew up watching these guys. For me, it was clear we had to be more active in getting them involved.
"I wouldn't say they were never welcome up here, but I would maybe say we weren't as open in inviting them up as we should have been. That's something we're trying to do more of, just because they have a wealth and breadth of knowledge that is important to tap into."
When George Burley applied for the vacant Ipswich job in 2018, prior to Paul Hurst's appointment, he put forward Butcher as his potential assistant manager.
Butcher subsequently agreed to become head coach of the Philippines, but that role never started due to a financial dispute, and then spent the first half of this season as defensive coach at Chinese club Guangzhou R&F.
His last official club role in British football was as manager of Newport County between April and October 2015. Before that, he was in charge of Coventry, Sunderland, Motherwell, Sydney, Brentford, Inverness and Hibernian, as well as being assistant manager (to Burley) for Scotland.