Butler's magical memories

17th January

Tom Butler returns to the Liberty on Saturday hoping he can prove a lucky omen once again as Sheffield United visit SA1.

The winger is back at his old stomping ground for Saturday’s Championship clash with the Blades, whom the Swans beat 2-1 on the opening day of the season.

Butler made 144 appearances for the Swans during his six-year spell in south Wales, scoring 11 goals.

Two of his strikes will forever be etched in the memories of fans from a famous FA Cup win at Bramall Lane in 2007.

The Swans, then in League One, dumped top-flight side Sheffield United out of the cup with a ruthless display.

Butler scored twice and won a penalty – converted by Leon Britton – as Kenny Jackett’s side celebrated a major upset.

Now the teams face each other this weekend, and Butler is looking forward to seeing his old club in action.

“Often players have a team who they do well against, and Sheffield United was that team for me,” said the former Republic of Ireland international.

“Even after the cup game, I scored the winner in the 2009-10 season when we had Jordi Lopez and Nathan Dyer sent off. So I’ve got good memories of playing against Sheffield United – perhaps I should bring my boots on Saturday!

“On a personal note, the cup win was my best day as a Swan.

“Everything went right. I scored twice, set up the penalty and we beat a team that was in the Premier League 3-0 at their own ground. It was pretty much a second string for us too.

“I remember the noise the fans made, even before the goal, was just incredible. It was a special atmosphere and all we could hear was our fans behind the goal.

“Somehow I managed to score with my left foot – that’s usually for standing on – and then shared a terrible celebration taken from the film Dodgeball with Rory Fallon.

“I’d picked up an injury getting the penalty, so I thought it was only right for Britts to step up and score a rare goal even though I was on a hat-trick.

“Bayo Akinfenwa was outstanding that day too. He manhandled them, and their defence didn’t know what hit them.

“The scenes in the dressing room were pretty epic, and we bumped into Swans fans in the service stations on the way home so the party continued all the way back.

“During my career I suffered a lot with injuries and other setbacks, so you have to remember the good times, and that was certainly at the top of the pile.”

Butler, who is now a consultant for sports management company Code:4 Sports, will be speaking to fans in the club’s hospitality lounges on Saturday before he plays in Lenny Johnrose’s charity match on Sunday at Port Talbot Town FC.

He added: “I’m looking forward to being back at the Liberty again and speaking to supporters.

“It’s a special place for me and hopefully my good fortune against Sheffield United can rub off on the team.

“Then, after the game on Saturday, I’ll be playing in Lenny’s charity game the day after.

“I played in the first game at Bamber Bridge and I’m really pleased to be able to be part of this game too.

“Hopefully a lot of money will be raised for the Len Johnrose Trust and we can also help raise awareness of Motor Neurone Disease.

“It’s an honour to be part of this game because everyone thinks so highly of Lenny.”