Kenneth “Smooth” Butcher

Full Name: Kenneth Butcher
Born: January 15, 1949 (age 69 years)
Birthplace: Barataria, Trinidad & Tobago
Sport: , , , , , , , , ,
Position: Midfielder

Career Highlights

1975

  • Attains United States Soccer Federation (USSF) A-licence, U.S.A.

1974

  • Appointed head coach, Ebonites Football Club, Barataria, Trinidad and Tobago

1973

  • 1st, Ebonites FC, Vernon Bain League, Sir Frank Worrell Ground, University of West Indies ground, St. Augustine, Trinidad & Tobago

1972

  • Joins Maple Football Club, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
  • 1st, Maple FC, FA Trophy (Cup), King George V Park, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, December 19

1968

  • Debut, Trinidad and Tobago senior team, vs Guatemala (0-0) World Cup qualifier, Estadio Mateo Flores, Guatemala City, Guatemala, November 20
  • Trinidad &Tobago senior team vs Haiti, November 23
  • Trinidad &Tobago senior team vs Haiti (4-2), November 25
  • Joins Queen’s Park Football Club, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

1960

  • Joins Ebonites Football Club, Barataria, Trinidad and Tobago

Biography

Kenneth Butcher was playing football from as early as the age of five (5) years. It was common to find Butcher on the playing field most evenings especially as his family’s home, on Sixth Avenue, Barataria, Trinidad and Tobago (T&T), was directly opposite the ground.

The third child of seven, born to Ulric and Eleanor Butcher, young Ken also played cricket during the cricket season, which began in January and ended in May each year.

Butcher had his fair share of household chores, as his father reared goats, dogs, and bees, to which he had to attend before hopping the train to Port-of-Spain in time for the first bell at his secondary school, St. Mary’s College, known as the “Saints”.

From as early as Form-1 at St. Mary’s College, Butcher played in the inter-league competition and represented the school in the Giants, Colts and senior team divisions. He also played cricket for the school until he graduated.

During his football life at school in the 1960’s, Butcher was part of a formidable “Saints” midfield and some of his colleagues included, former national footballer Gerry Gellineau and Richard De Souza, who also played cricket for T&T.

Butcher also rubbed shoulders with the likes of Leroy De Leon, who was a household name in secondary schools football and went on to give yeoman service to the country.

At age 18, Butcher’s silky skills did not go unnoticed and the one-time schoolboy sensation, named “Smooth,” was selected on the Trinidad and Tobago senior team.

In her quest to obtain a berth at the 1970 FIFA World Cup, Trinidad and Tobago had to get past Guatemala and Haiti in the opening round. Butcher gave a composed performance on debut as T&T drew 0-0 with Guatemala in Guatemala City.

His second match saw T&T lose to the Haitians on November 23rd, 1968, while his next fixture, two days later, saw Trinidad and Tobago come away 4-2 winners. Alas, this was Butcher’s last encounter in national colours.

Butcher’s first run-in with the local football authorities proved to be final. After senior national training one evening, the players were being transported in a van and, after he was dropped off half-mile from his home, Butcher recalled that the fumes from the vehicle was blowing into his face leaving him to think, “is this the way national players are treated?”

He resolved then never to reply to any further calls for selection from the national association.

Later in 1968, Butcher was drafted in the Royal Air Force (RAF) in England, where he served for four (4) years and continued playing the sport he loved whenever he got the opportunity.

Butcher returned home in 1972 and immediately joined the Port-of-Spain club, Maple FC, where he enjoyed instant success with the winning of the prestigious FA Trophy. While he was not a prolific goal-scorer, he did find the net on occasions, popping-up with some vital goals from his central midfield position.

After his club days ended Butcher pursued coaching and his beloved Ebonites FC from Barataria was his first stint. He was intent on developing his coaching skills and gained his United States Soccer Federation (USSF) A-licence in 1975, which was followed by a Diploma from the Brazilian Football Academy and a Preliminary Certificate in Coaching from the English FA.

He also clamoured for better football administration in T&T and shifted his focus in this direction. In the days of the professional league in the early 1980s, Butcher became part of the Premier League of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF), under the legendary, Arthur Suite.

As president of the North Zone, Butcher was part of a breakaway faction that was at loggerheads with the then Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA), in a battle to control football. Former football administrator, Austin Jack Warner, acted as mediator between the rival factions to bring about a settlement and in the end Butcher and his team capitulated.

The former national player was later appointed assistant national coach alongside Alvin Corneal.  

Butcher entered politics in 1986, and was appointed Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Creative Arts, under the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR) Government. He spent two (2) years in that position.

Although he drifted from the limelight, Butcher did not stray away from the game, travelling abroad to see the national senior team play and even lending his expertise as an analyst to a local radio station.

According to Butcher, from primary to secondary school; all the way up to the Super League and the Professional League; football is in need of an overhaul and the powers that be, including the government, need to help restructure football in Trinidad and Tobago.

He was thrilled, as many other citizens, to witness the national senior team qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, but feels that the team should do so on a more consistent basis.

He was not pleased with what transpired, in the aftermath of the 2006 World Cup qualification, but is full of praise for the current Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) for their efforts to get more matches for the senior team while trying to clean up the image of the administration.

Education

  • Tranquility Boy’s Government Primary School, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
  • St. Mary’s College, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
  • Caribbean Union College, St. Joseph Trinidad & Tobago
  • Andrews University, Michigan, U.S.A.
  • University of Phoenix, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A.

References

  • Interview-with Kenneth Butcher—22nd May 2014

Sport Clubs / Teams

Ebonites FC, Queen’s Park, Maple FC, Trinidad & Tobago

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