Barry Butler (1962-2024)

    Barry Butler, a stalwart in Harry McNally’s side of the 1980s and early 1990s has sadly passed away at the age of 62 after a long struggle with dementia.

    The ultimate utility player, Barry played 268 league games for Chester in every position including goalkeeper. Popular with his team mates, it took time for him to win over the supporters, but his wholehearted approach was gradually recognised and he turned into a cult hero during his later years at the club.

    Farnworth-born Barry joined Chester from Atherton LR in December 1985, one of several players spotted playing in non-league football by McNally. He made his debut the following month in a 1-0 victory over Tranmere Rovers and became a regular fixture in the side during the 1986/87 season.

    Over eight seasons Barry featured in nearly every shirt for the club playing as a central defender, full back, midfielder and striker and even took over in goal for 75 minutes at Bradford City in October 1990 after Billy Stewart had been sent off. A month after the Bradford game Barry scored his first goal for the club, after 119 appearances, in a 4-0 win over Birmingham City.

    During the 1991/92 season, Chester’s final campaign in exile at Macclesfield, the club were firmly entrenched at the bottom of the table by mid-January and Barry was in and out of the team. In an inspired move McNally handed him the number 9 shirt and Barry responded with a goal in a 1-1 draw with Brentford. The new centre forward retained the shirt and made a huge impact in the second half of the campaign contributing a further five goals as City escaped relegation with only four defeats in the last 22 games.

    Following his release from Chester, at the end of the 1992/93 relegation campaign, Barry signed for Barrow before joining Altrincham in 1994.

    Speaking about his former team-mate goalkeeper Billy Stewart remembers the day Barry took over in goal at Bradford after he had been sent off: “Barry took my glove bag, even though I told him he didn’t need it, and ran towards the Bradford home end. He threw it at the goal, completely missed and it bounced off the railings and everything fell out much to the amusement of the home fans. I was concerned because it was the only pair of gloves I had. He was a great lad and its very sad news. I used to car share with him, Gary Bennett, David Glenn and Stuart Rimmer and we used to have such a laugh together and he will be badly missed”

    The club send out their condolences to his family and friends.