Nothing ignites the passions of the 54-year-old more than the sight of the St George's Cross and his native land. Yet the Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager is beginning to think he will be pushing up the daisies before he finally comes to settle again on English soil.
A house purchased recently in leafy Suffolk is proof of a desire to go home, someday at least, while the famous image of the bloodied bandage and England jersey endures as evidence of his patriotic zeal. It remains the strangest of paradoxes, then, that Butcher seems so inextricably linked to life in Scotland.
On Wednesday, after much soul-searching, the 77-times capped Englishman knocked back a lucrative contract offer from npower Championship Barnsley in favour of remaining in Inverness. It has proven to be a turbulent, emotional week in which he was wowed by the Yorkshire club's set-up and their strong desire to secure him as manager, but not moved enough to up sticks from the Highlands. It was a tough choice but he found his answer within four years of toil which has taken Inverness to the brink of a unprecedented success in league and cup campaigns this season.
Butcher admitted that Inverness chairman Kenny Cameron "nearly fell off his chair" when he was shown the zeros on Barnsley's contract offer, the Yorkshire side able to offer a dizzying wage in an attempt to lure the Inverness manager south. Yet, when it came down to it, a move just didn't add up. It was never about the money, and neither was his decision coloured by past failures in charge of Coventry City, Sunderland and Brentford.
"A lot of people think I am desperate to get back to England but it's just that I can't get out of Scotland," said Butcher yesterday. "It keeps dragging me back, even though I think my visa here expired about 20 years ago. Every time I try to leave I end up back. Maurice [Malpas, his assistant at Inverness] has been trying to get rid of me as well.
"People say I have unfinished business down there and I have said it myself before as well. But I really enjoy Scotland and always have. I'll continue to do so. English football is where a lot of people want to be. It's where I grew up and played. But I enjoy bugging people up here and getting under people's skin and being a nuisance, while trying to make this club the best it can be.
"Would it bother me never to return to England professionally? I never thought that I would be up here as long in the first place. It was January 6, 1992 when I was sacked at Coventry [and] some 21 years on I'm still in the game and still enjoying my football. I've got a good job and a great place to live. If it's the case that I don't go back to England professionally, then I don't go back. It won't be a problem. If you can find an environment where you work and really enjoy it, then great."
A measure of the mutual trust between Butcher and his chairman was found in the latter's decision to allow his manager speak to Barnsley with 18 months left on his contract. Butcher makes no bones about how torn he was after travelling from Suffolk to Yorkshire earlier in the week.
"When Barnsley got in touch all hell broke loose. The chairman's phone was going so much his battery died twice," he said. "Barnsley were great and treated me really well and they made me an unbelievable offer. They did everything they possibly could to get me down there but I just had this gut feeling I wanted to finish off what we have started here. I just thought about the players here and the fact that we are in a nice position. I didn't want to give it up. And I certainly didn't want someone else coming in and stealing all the glory.
"There was vindication right away when we got back to training yesterday and the lads were taking the mickey out of me and Maurice. Richie Foran, who I signed for Motherwell and Inverness, said he had already been looking at flats in Barnsley. It was great fun – and it was great to be back."
Had he been driven simply by money, the decision for Butcher would have been quite different. "Barnsley offered me more [than he is paid by Inverness] ... a lot more ... and then some more again," he said. "I would have been the highest-paid Barnsley manager ever. That is how much they wanted me.
"But it has never been about money for me. It has been about pride and enjoying my football. It's about making any club I am at better and we are doing that here."
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