We weren’t around at the time ourselves – but, for those who were, the mid-1980s saw Boro’ back at our swashbuckling best. The step from the United Counties League to the Isthmian League was a tough one to make. So, we needed the players who could help us make that leap. Leading from the front was Paddy Butcher; a striker who not only made certain that our transition to the Isthmian was seamless – but hugely successful too..
Paddy Butcher: Why Is He A Cult Classic?
At BoroGuide, we do like a striker with an eye for goal. To be fair, we guess you think the same too? Butcher arrived not long after the start of our 1983-4 United Counties League Premier Division season; making his debut at Eynesbury Rovers on 10 September 1983. It took six games to get up and running in front of goal. Once he did, there was no looking back.
Now, the 1983-4 season ain’t much to write home about. We came sixth and didn’t really trouble the top teams in our final UCL campaign. But, at least for Butcher, it was a decent season; 14 goals from at least 34 starts and four sub outings putting him top of our charts ahead of Ricky Marshall (13) and Trevor Metcalfe (12). And the goals that he scored were often humdingers; a spectacular half volley against Arlesey Town among ’em.
The goals dried up a little as we went into the 1984-5 campaign. But it’s not ‘cos he’d lost his touch. Butcher started turning out more often in midfield, which meant becoming a provider rather than a scorer. Jim Beech, Kevin Lowe and Steve Armsby scored for fun up top. And you can be sure that Butcher would’ve eased into double figures if he had played in attack too. It didn’t help his goal tally to be sidelined for a good few weeks during the first half of the season with a fractured foot either. But, sometimes, it’s not just about how many you score.
Back to bursting the net…
Sometimes, however, it is.
In what would end up being our second title-winning season in five years, Butcher started the 1985-6 Vauxhall Opel League Division Two North campaign with a right ol’ bang. Five matches yielded six goals – even though he was in and out of the team at the start of the season. Making up for lost time, you think? Four more were added to his count in the six weeks between late September and early November to take him to 10 at a rate of not far away from one every two appearances. But he went no further than that.
Our FA Vase win at Chalfont St Peter on 23 November was the last we saw of him in our colours. And he wouldn’t be part of the Boro’ side that’d win the league – and promotion.
Paddy Butcher: Epilogue
For his record in front of goal, Butcher is such a Boro’ cult classic. Even today, his 32 goals still ranks among the best individual returns by any striker here. And he even managed it, we’re led to believe with spells at Royston and Letchworth during his time with us. We do need to check that, however. It seems to be the Crows where he went after leaving us too; the mark he made at Garden Walk just as indelible as the one he made here.