The return of Martin Butler to the Saddlers last Friday came as a major surprise, as, despite rumours for months, few really accepted we were in with a chance of getting a proven goalscorer of his class.
Butler’s start at the Saddlers was hardly one to set the world on fire. Despite having 49 full apearances and 38 as a sub, (I never thought he got that many games!), he was never given a fair crack of th whip by the fans, or, to be fair, the then Manager, Chris Nicholl, who persisted in playing him out of position on several occasions.
Since then, however, at Cambridge, Reading and Rotherham, he has gone on to score better than a goal every three games, a lot of which has been at a higher level, turning into a strong running, awkward forward, good in the air and able to hold the ball up.
A few Rotherham fans have said he isn’t the player he was since he had a long term injury, but that is uncharitable, in view of the amount of time he had out of the game (and even training) both last season and the season before.
He had been ruled out for several months after having a knee operation and then suffering hepatitis A, then, on his return last August, picked up glandular fever, which is, of course, very debilitating, with after effects which can last a long while.
Despite all of this, he still managed 8 goals last season and 6 the season before, in the middle of all his troubles.
Personally, chaps and chapesses, I think we may have been very fortunate to get him.