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Hendon Green & Gold 10 - Roy Butler

Greensnet Editor
Sat 14 Jun 2014, 08:00

The latest in the series focuses on a Hendon player who epitomised 100 per cent effort.

Nothing says more about Roy Butler's contribution to the Hendon cause than the fact that he was named as Supporters' Association Player of the Year in 1978-79, a season during which he went through more than Greenwich Mean Time (in his case five days short of six months) without scoring a single goal. For those who don't know his name or much about him, Roy was a big, bustling striker, an old-fashioned No. 9. Another big plus against his name is his personality and the fact that when he found out that fans - myself included - could not get to Hayes for a Boxing Day game (public transport, i.e. bus and underground connections, were almost non-existent in some parts of London in those days), volunteered to go out of his way to pick them up and took them to Church Road.

What Roy was very good at, however, was soaking up pressure, making a complete nuisance of himself with opposing centre-halves and normally took the main defender out of the equation to deal with him. In 1978-79, this meant that Mick Garrini, a signing from Tring, and a very close friend of Roy's was given the time and space to bang in 19 goals. Despite Roy's goal drought that winter, from 21 October 1978 to 16 April 1979, he did manage to score a total of 10 goals during the season.

Roy's career at Hendon was in two parts, a brief spell as a young man in the great 1971-72 team, and then as a battle-hardened forward in the late 1970s. A signing from Ruislip Manor, where he had represented the Athenians in an inter-league fixture, his debut came in the cauldron of a local derby against Enfield, just after Christmas 1971 - and there were well over 1,000 fans in attendance - a match Hendon won 1-0 thanks to a goal from Roy. He got a run of consecutive games and scored in four of his first five matches for the first team. He ended the season with five goals from 12 appearances, 11 of which were starts - there was only one substitute available in those days. Although Hendon reached three finals that season, he was an unused substitute only in the London Senior Cup defeat against Enfield and thus missed out on winners' medals in the Amateur Cup and Middlesex Senior Cup.

In the summer of 1972, Roy moved on to St Albans City, before moving on to Hayes, where their fans, like those of Hendon, loved his never-say-die attitude and made him their player-of-the-year. In October 1976, Hendon paid Hayes then the princely sum of £1,000 to secure his services and his second debut came in a 101 draw, coincidentally against Enfield, a match which ended in a 1-1 draw, defender Peter Anderson scoring. Roy scored only five goals in 34 appearances, but picked up Isthmian League Cup and Middlesex Charity Cup winners' medals. The following season, Roy missed a quarter of the season, appearing in only 32 Isthmian League fixtures, but 17 out of 20 cup-ties. He won a runners-up medal as Hendon lost to (the old) Hillingdon Borough in the Middlesex Charity Cup Final in May 1978.

In 1978-79, Roy scored in Hendon's first and last fixtures, both in the Middlesex Charity Cup. The opener was on 5 August, in a 3-1 defeat of Finchley in a group match, the last one was on 14 May, the final goal of the season, the third in another 3-1 victory this time over Harrow Borough in the final at Earlsmead.

In his final Hendon campaign, 1979-80, Roy couldn't add to his medal count and again missed a quarter of the league season, appearing only 31 times. He scored nine goals from 46 appearances, but Hendon's league form had been mediocre during the last three seasons, with 13th, ninth and 13th place finishes - never really in relegation danger, but never in the hunt for the title.

After leaving Hendon, Roy went to Boreham Wood, then Slough Town. He moved into management and had some success at Berkhamsted Town. Playing for Hendon is, for many stars, a multi-generational thing, and Roy’s son, Steve, followed in the footsteps of many others (Darren Currie, John Deadman and Roy Drake, to name but three) by wearing the same colours as his father. Steve will be the covered later in the series.

Joined Hendon: 1971-72 and October 1976
Left Hendon: Summer 1972 and Summer 1980
Appearances: 195 (190 starts + 5 as substitute)
Goals: 37
Supporters’ Association Player of the Year: 1978-79
Winners' medals: Isthmian League Cup: 1976-77, Middlesex Charity Cup: 1976-77, 1978-79

(David Ballheimer)