Nicky Butt

Nicky Butt

Butt playing for Newcastle United in 2009
Personal information
Full name Nicholas Butt[1]
Date of birth (1975-01-21) 21 January 1975[1]
Place of birth Gorton, Manchester, England
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)[1]
Playing position Defensive midfielder
Club information
Current team
Manchester United (U19 youth team coach)
Youth career
1991–1992 Manchester United
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1992–2004 Manchester United 270 (21)
2004–2010 Newcastle United 134 (5)
2005–2006Birmingham City (loan) 24 (3)
2010–2011 South China 3 (1)
Total 431 (30)
National team
1992–1993 England U18 5 (0)
1992 England U19 1 (0)
1994–1996 England U21 7 (0)
1997–2004 England 39 (0)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Nicholas "Nicky" Butt (born 21 January 1975) is an English football coach and former player who is the head of coaching at the Manchester United youth academy. He is also a co-owner of Salford City.

He played professional football as a midfielder from 1992 to 2011. He began his career with Manchester United and spent 12 years in their first-team, winning six Premier League titles, three FA Cups, four FA Community Shields, the UEFA Champions League and the Intercontinental Cup, before moving to Newcastle United in 2004. He spent one season on loan to Birmingham City in 2005–06. He is also a former England international; he won 39 caps in a seven-year England career. He finished his career abroad, playing for South China.

Club career

Manchester United

Butt on the sidelines at Old Trafford in March 2004

Born in Gorton, Manchester, Butt began his career at Manchester United as an important part of their youth team before turning professional in 1993.

He made his first-team debut in the 1992–93 season as a substitute against Oldham Athletic in a 3–0 Premier League win on 21 November 1992, but did not get his big break in the team until the 1994–95 season, often covering for Roy Keane in the event of injuries and suspension. One of his first appearances for the first team came in the FA Cup semi-final on 10 April 1994, also against Oldham as a substitute, this time in a 1–1 draw at Wembley Stadium. United won the replay 4–1 at Maine Road but he was not included in the squad. 1994–95 saw Butt play 35 games in all competitions, scoring one goal and featuring in the starting eleven for the FA Cup final, which United lost to Everton.

With the departure of Paul Ince to Internazionale in the 1995 close season, manager Alex Ferguson chose to draft in Butt as Ince's successor in midfield alongside Roy Keane. Butt was part of a notable batch of Manchester United young talent dubbed Fergie's Fledglings, who had all been unleashed into the first team in 1995 having won the FA Youth Cup in 1992.

Butt performed remarkably in his first two full seasons at United, and often started in the lineup, scoring crucial goals, such as against Liverpool in Eric Cantona's famous comeback match in October 1995, and forcing Nigel Winterburn to concede an own goal for the winner against Arsenal in 1996. Butt also functioned as a steady replacement for Roy Keane as the hard tackler of the midfield, especially when Keane was injured for much of the 1997–98 season, earning a PFA Team of the Year award that year. However, when Keane returned, and after striker Paul Scholes developed into a midfielder around the end of the 1990s, Butt's first-team chances started to become increasingly limited.

Butt still went on to collect many honours at United, as the club capped their domination of the 1990s with a remarkable and unique treble win in 1999 (with Butt playing the whole of the Champions League Final due to Roy Keane being suspended), and several more titles in the years up till 2001. By the time of his departure from Old Trafford, Butt had gained six Premier League title winner's medals, three FA Cup winner's medals and a Champions League winner's medal. He had also collected an FA Cup runners-up medal in 1995.

Newcastle United

Butt handed in a transfer request in January 2004,[2] but turned down a proposed move to Birmingham City during the January transfer window.[3] He was signed by Bobby Robson for Newcastle United in July 2004 for a fee of £2.5 million on a four-year deal, where he was seen as a replacement for the veteran Gary Speed, who had moved to Bolton Wanderers.[4]

Butt had a disappointing and injury-marred 2004–05 season, prompting the then Newcastle manager Graeme Souness to sign Senegalese midfielder Amdy Faye in January 2005. Despite a promising start, the fans turned on Butt after the 4–1 defeat against Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final. The acquisition of Scott Parker and Emre in the summer of 2005 pushed Butt further down the pecking order, and his move to Birmingham City (managed by former Manchester United team-mate Steve Bruce) on a season-long loan was announced on 3 August 2005.[5]

However, on 13 February 2006, Butt walked out on his manager and former Manchester United team mate Steve Bruce, after finding out Bruce placed his son Alex Bruce in the squad ahead of himself, and was later fined two weeks wages. After Birmingham were relegated from the Premier League, Butt returned to Newcastle who were being managed by Glenn Roeder.

Although not an instant fan favourite at St. James' Park, Butt won over some fans with two goals scored through headers in a pre-season friendly against Villarreal.[6] There was some speculation that newly appointed Sunderland manager Roy Keane would try to sign his former Manchester United midfield partner. However, due to the lack of back-up midfielders at Newcastle and his good pre-season form, Butt remained at Newcastle.

Butt with Newcastle team-mate Obafemi Martins in 2007

During the 2006–07 season, Butt was much more involved in the first team at Newcastle, playing in the holding role which allowed the likes of Parker and Emre to go forward. On 14 January 2007, Butt scored his first Newcastle goal in over 2 years when he scored the winner against Tottenham Hotspur in a 3–2 victory at White Hart Lane.[7] Butt's return to form was encapsulated when he captained Newcastle in a UEFA Cup match against Zulte Waregem on 15 February when Parker was injured.[8] His good form that season continued, as on 9 April, Butt won the man of the match award for his performance against Arsenal. He continued to captain Newcastle whenever Parker was injured, and by the end of the season it was widely considered that he had won over the Newcastle fans.[9]

With Parker having moved to West Ham United, Butt continued to play a big part in Newcastle's 2007–08 campaign. On 21 December, he penned a new contract keeping him at the club until the end of next season.[10] After being an almost ever-present in that season, he expressed a desire to finish his career with Newcastle.[11] Butt also started the season as captain, filling in for the injured Michael Owen, and proved to be a popular choice. Butt played his 100th league game for Newcastle on 21 December 2008, marking it with a 2–1 home win against Tottenham. Newcastle were eventually relegated that season, meaning that Butt's record of playing in every Premier League season has been relinquished.

Butt was made permanent club captain for the 2009–10 season, his first outside the top flight, following Michael Owen's departure to Manchester United as a free agent during the summer transfer window. However, vice-captain Alan Smith's impressive form has seen him take the armband more often than Butt. Butt started fewer games, but still effectively carried out his holding role well, leading his side to gritty shutouts in most of the games he started.

The club eventually won both promotion to the Premier League and the Championship title, and Butt announced his retirement in the build-up to Newcastle's last home game against Ipswich Town.[12] He entered his penultimate game as a substitute and won a penalty en route to a 2–2 draw. Butt lifted the Championship trophy alongside vice-captain Alan Smith.

After leaving Newcastle he was backed by former Newcastle boss Chris Hughton to move into coaching, although a coaching position with Newcastle is not something Hughton had spoken with Butt about.[13]

South China

Playing for South China against TSW Pegasus in the Hong Kong League Cup final.

On 6 November 2010, the chairman of Hong Kong club South China, Steven Lo, said that the club expected Butt to sign for them at the end of the month.[14] Butt signed for South China on 22 November. His first match was against TSW Pegasus in a 2–1 win for South China. Butt scored from a freekick during this game but also missed a penalty.[15] He went back to the UK right after the game. He came back to Hong Kong in mid January 2011. His second match with South China was against Tai Po FC in a 0-1 defeat on 29 January 2011. Mateja Kežman also debuted for South China in the same match. Butt received his first red card against rivals Kitchee in a league match which later prove to be crucial in deciding the league title. Butt left South China and returned to England in May 2011.

After leaving South China, he featured in Gary Neville's testimonial against Juventus on 24 May 2011 in central midfield alongside Paul Scholes, rekindling the old times in a midfield that also contained David Beckham. However, they lost the game to the Old Lady. Butt also featured in midfield for Eric Cantona's New York Cosmos in Paul Scholes' testimonial match against Manchester United at Old Trafford on 5 August 2011.[16]

Post-playing career

In October 2012 he returned to Manchester United as a coach for the club reserve team.[17][18]

In 2014, it was announced that Butt, along with fellow Manchester United legends Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, and Phil Neville had agreed a deal to purchase Salford City ahead of the 2014–15 season.[19][20] with plans to get the club to the Football League.[21] The group announced they would take part in a special friendly, with Salford facing a Class of '92 team.[22][23][24] On 22 September, the group agreed to sell a 50% stake in the club to billionaire Peter Lim.[25][26]

On April 22, 2014, with the departure of David Moyes from the position of manager of Manchester United, it was announced that Ryan Giggs was going to be interim manager, and that Butt was to be his assistant manager, alongside Paul Scholes.

On February 16, 2016, following several months of vacancy after Brian McClair left the role, Butt was appointed Manchester United's new head of youth academy. [27]

International career

Having been capped five times at under-21 level, he won his first England cap during the 1996–97 season against Mexico and became a squad regular, providing reliable backup for the central midfield positions. An injury to first choice midfielder Steven Gerrard before the 2002 FIFA World Cup gave Butt his chance in the starting line-up alongside Manchester United team-mates David Beckham and Paul Scholes. Ahead of England's quarter-final game against Brazil, he was named "the best player of the England squad" by Brazilian legend Pelé,[28] a compliment to his performance in the unattractive holding role. England eventually crashed out of the World Cup after a 2–1 defeat to Brazil.

After the World Cup he returned to his role as a squad player, providing experienced cover for the first-choice midfield pairing of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard. He was selected for UEFA Euro 2004, but missed the tournament through injury. His last international appearance was in a friendly against Spain on 17 November 2004. In total he has appeared 39 times for England.

Career statistics


Club Season League FA Cup League Cup Europe Other[29] Total
Manchester United 1992–93 100000000010
1993–94 101000000020
1994–95 22140306000351
1995–96 32271002000413
1996–97 26500009011366
1997–98 33310007010423
1998–99 31250208010472
1999–2000 323006041424
2000–01 283200011100414
2001–02 25120009010371
2002–03 18020108000290
2003–04 21150205110342
Total 27021291807129238726
Newcastle United 2004–05 18120107000281
2005–06 000000200020
2006–07 311202012000471
2007–08 35320200000393
2008–09 33020200000370
2009–10 17020100000200
Total 134510080210001735
Birmingham City (loan) 2005–06 24320300000293
Club Season League Senior Shield FA Cup Asia Other[30] Total
South China 2010–11 3110215020132
Total 4313041121197211260136

Statistics accurate as of 20 May 2011[31][32]



Manchester United

Newcastle United

South China



Personal life

In June 2003, Butt was arrested over allegations of the assault of a woman at Brasingamen's nightclub in Alderley Edge on 4 May 2003.[33]


  1. 1 2 3 Hugman, Barry J., ed. (2010). The PFA Footballers' Who's Who 2010–11. Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing. p. 68. ISBN 978-1-84596-601-0.
  2. "No Butts as Nicky wants United exit". Sky Sports. 13 January 2004. Retrieved 9 November 2008.
  3. "Butt to stay put after Blues snub". Sky Sports. 30 January 2004. Retrieved 9 November 2008.
  4. "Butt seals Magpies move". Sky Sports. 29 July 2004. Retrieved 9 November 2008.
  5. "Blues sign Butt". Sky Sports. 3 August 2005. Retrieved 9 November 2008.
  6. "Newcastle United 3, Villareal 3". 5 August 2006. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  7. Stevenson, Jonathan (14 January 2007). "Tottenham 2–3 Newcastle". BBC. Retrieved 8 September 2009.
  8. "Butt happy to lead". Sky Sports. 16 February 2007. Retrieved 9 November 2008.
  9. "Butt eyes Toon stay". Sky Sports. 23 April 2007. Retrieved 9 November 2008.
  10. "Butt commits to Magpies". Sky Sports. 21 December 2007. Retrieved 9 November 2008.
  11. "Butt keen on Magpies stay". Sky Sports. 19 October 2008. Retrieved 9 November 2008.
  12. "Club Captain Butt Set For St.James' Farewell". 23 April 2010. Retrieved 23 April 2010.
  13. "Butt backed to become coach". Sky Sports. 23 April 2010. Retrieved 24 April 2010.
  14. Chan Kin-wa (6 November 2010). "Nicky Butt agrees deal to sign for South China". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
  15. "Nicky Butt signs three-month deal with South China FC". BBC Sport. 1 December 2010. Retrieved 9 December 2010.
  17. "Butt becomes reserve coach". Daily Mail. London. 21 October 2012. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  18. "Butt back at United". Manchester United. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  19. Keegan, Mike (27 March 2014). "Class of '92 stars agree deal to buy Salford City FC". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  20. "Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt agree deal for Salford City FC". Sky Sports. 27 March 2014. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
  21. Robson, James (7 August 2014). "Class of 92 have big plans for Salford City". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
  22. Keegan, Mike (9 May 2014). "Class of 92 to play in Salford City friendly". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
  23. "Manchester United's Class of 92 set to face Salford City in friendly". The Guardian. 9 May 2014. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
  24. "Ryan Giggs and Manchester United 'Class of 92' team-mates to face Salford FC". The Independent. 9 May 2014. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
  25. Jackson, Jamie (22 September 2014). "Peter Lim to buy 50% stake in Salford City from Class of '92". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  26. "Singapore businessman Peter Lim joins forces with ex-Manchester United players and invests in Salford City FC". The Telegraph. 22 September 2014. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  27. "Nicky Butt appointed head of academy". Manchester United. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  28. "Brazilian legend Pele tells the BBC's Clive Myrie that the man Brazil most fears is Nicky Butt" (video clip), BBC Sport, 20 June 2002, retrieved 2 December 2006
  29. Includes other competitive competitions, including the FA Community Shield, UEFA Super Cup, Intercontinental Cup, FIFA Club World Cup
  30. Represents the 2011 Asian Challenge Cup
  31. "Nicky Butt Career Stats". Soccerbase. 29 December 2009. Retrieved 29 December 2009.
  32. "Nicky Butt". Retrieved 25 March 2010.
  33. "United star Butt arrested". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. 2 June 2003. Retrieved 2 April 2011.
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