Pompey fan Butcher seeks to topple Cook's men

AN AWAY game for Yeovil '“ but a home fixture for their midfielder Matt Butcher.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 7th April 2017, 9:35 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 7:01 pm
Matt Butcher faces Pompey for Yeovil on Saturday
Matt Butcher faces Pompey for Yeovil on Saturday

The highly-regarded 19-year-old is expected to line-up for the Glovers in tomorrow’s Fratton Park visit.

For the Denmead youngster it also represents the opportunity to face his boyhood heroes on the sacred turf.

The former Cowplain School pupil was a North stand regular with dad Dave during the Premier League years.

Butcher even had an unsuccessful Pompey 12-week trial, later suffering the same outcome at Southampton.

Then, at the age of 12, he was spotted by Bournemouth playing for Wimbledon Park Tigers – and has remained their ever since.

A loan spell with Yeovil has developed into a season-long stay, with 38 games and two goals for a player who can also operate at left-back.

Butcher has already faced Pompey this term in the Checkatrade Trophy and in League Two at Huish Park.

But tomorrow will be the first time the ex-Denmead FC player will have featured at Fratton Park in a competitive fixture.

Dad Dave said: ‘It’s Matt’s dream to play at a packed Fratton Park.

‘He appeared as an 84th minute substitute for Bournemouth in last summer’s friendly, but to play in front of a full house in the league would be something else.

‘This could be a one-time only chance for him and there will be seven or eight family members there to watch, with many of us in the Chimes Bar.

‘There’s no guarantee Matt will be starting, of course, but it will be a proud day for us all. We’re Pompey fans.

‘I’ve taken him loads and loads of times to Fratton Park, but eventually football commitments stopped us going down there.

‘As a kid, his ambition was always to play for Pompey, but now he’s aiming a bit higher. Having said that, next year you’d expect Pompey to be in League One.

‘At the age of 10 he had a three-month trial and played in a few games.

‘Conor Chaplin was there at the same age as a left winger at the time.

‘Then the phone went quiet. One minute you’re the biggest thing, the next he wasn’t – that’s the way football is.

‘Southampton also had a look at him and said “No”, which is fine, and he kept playing for the Pompey in the Community Elite team under Paul Hardyman.

‘Then Bournemouth eventually came in – and he has flourished.’

Butcher has a Cherries deal which ties him to the Premier League club until the summer of 2018.

That security has enabled them to loan him out to the likes of Poole, Woking and, for one match, Gosport.

Last season he made both his FA Cup and League Cup debuts for Eddie Howe’s side, but has yet to feature in the Premier League.

Dave added: ‘Matt has always played up an age group and is now in his second year as a professional.

‘Last summer the first-team squad travelled to America and he was also included – the only member of the under-21s to do so.

‘He went to Yeovil on loan with no guarantees or anything, but has proven himself. Hopefully he can continue that.’