MANILA – England football icon Terence Ian “Terry” Butcher was named the new head coach of the Philippine men’s football team.
Best known in England for playing through a World Cup match against West Germany drenched in blood, Butcher was chosen to replace the Azkals’ German-American mentor Thomas Dooley.
“This is a big challenge. I see a lot of work ahead of us. But it will be fun work,” Butcher told a news conference Thursday night. “Playing for the country should be an honor and a privilege and a pleasure.”
Butcher, 59, has been out of work since leaving Newport County in 2015. In the Azkals, the English mentor is set to reunite with Steve Marsella, the team’s goalkeeping coach.
“I want to work hard for the team and strive to be the best,” he said. “With success comes pressure, so we can’t rest on our laurels. There’s no reason we can’t get high as we possibly can.”
Butcher’s experience as player and coach from overseas will greatly help the Azkals, team manager Dan Palami said.
“We need somebody with a wide international experience, good leadership skills and a vast knowledge of international football. Terry Butcher can provide us with all of that,” said Palami.
Butcher “has been in a similar situation before, just like the Azkals, where we have a limited budget,” Palami added. “Despite the limited budget, he was able to bring Inverness into one of the more successful runs in the Scottish Premier League and earned several coaching honors.”
As a professional player, Butcher played for Ipswich, Rangers, Coventry, Sunderland, and Clydebank in a career that lasted almost 20 years. He also earned 77 caps for the English national team.
After his retirement, Butcher had managerial career with Coventry, Sunderland and Brentford in England; Partick Thistle, Hibernian and Inverness Caledonian Thistle in Scotland; Sydney FC in Australia; and Newport County in Wales.
Aside from Butcher and Marsella, other members of the Azkals coaching staff are Scott Cooper, senior football adviser, and Chris Greatwich, Marsella’s co-goalkeeping coach.
Dooley started his career as Azkals head coach in February 2014 but failed to steer the national team to any major tournament or get past the group stages of the 2016 AFF Championship.
His coaching stint with Azkals was marked with numerous altercations with players, including Stephan Schrock, who then decided to quit playing for the national squad.
Before his contract ended earlier this year, Dooley was able to usher Azkals to the AFC Asian Cup, which managed a narrow victory against Tajikistan during the qualifying match.
“I have to say a big thank you to Thomas Dooley for getting the Azkals that far and for improving the team and believing in the team,” said Butcher. “I think with another team behind the team, these are exciting times for the Philippines.”/PN