Hibernian legend Keith Wright has no doubt that “inspirational” Terry Butcher will find the recipe for success at Easter Road – after the former England captain was willing to muck in as a part-time chef at Raith Rovers.
Butcher, who had been sacked from previous management roles at Coventry City and Sunderland, was on Jimmy Nicholl’s coaching staff at Stark’s Park when Wright joined the club in 1997.
The former Hibs striker says the entire squad was stunned to see the work ethic of the England hero, which included cleaning the players’ kits, mopping the dressing room and making lunch for the first team.
And he is praying Hibs chairman Rod Petrie can convince Butcher to make the move from Inverness to Edinburgh, insisting he would lead the capital club by example.
The 48-year-old said: “I worked with Terry at Rovers and, even back then, you could see there was a spark and a determination.
“We would walk into the club and he would be cleaning boots, mopping up or making sandwiches. We would look at each other and say: ‘Surely that’s not the guy who captained England at the World Cup!’
“But that summed Terry up. He had an incredible drive and work ethic. As a footballer, that inspires you. You want a coach who is willing to do the things he asks you to do, and Terry worked as hard as any player.
“He leads by example and that is a great trait to have. I’m sure he would do that at Hibs. He could walk into that dressing room and immediately have those boys playing for him.”
Wright recalled how Butcher was also humble enough to work quietly behind the scenes at Rovers, learning from Nicholl, currently caretaker manager at Hibs, and his assistant Alex Smith. And he believes that spell – following the disappointments south of the Border – made Butcher a better manager and spoke volumes for his character.
Wright continued: “It would have been easy for him to think he was too good for a club like Raith and call it a day after a couple of tough jobs in England, but he didn’t – he wanted to learn and bounce back.
“He just worked away in the background. I speak to so many people that do not know Terry even worked at Raith Rovers, because he just got on with his job. Despite playing at the very highest level and having a trophy cabinet to die for, he was willing to listen to what Jimmy [Nicholl] and Alex [Smith] were saying and learned.
“He has developed a lot since those days, but it is possible he has taken Inverness as far as he can. Hopefully, with the added resources and the size of the club, he will fancy a crack at Hibs.”
Wright has also urged Petrie to ensure Butcher’s backroom team are part of any deal.
There has been no definitive word on the future of his long-term assistant manager Maurice Malpas or the potential role of “super scout” Steve Marsella, who has been responsible for many of Inverness’s terrific signings from south of the Border.
Wright added: “When a club does well, it is very rarely down to one man. Inverness clearly have a great set-up and, if we want Terry, then we should get his team in place.”
Former Hibs goalkeeper Mark Brown is also convinced Butcher’s passion and personality will light up Easter Road.
Brown also played for Inverness and worked with Butcher at Motherwell.
Last night he said: “It was only for six months he was coaching me but I saw what Terry was all about. The biggest thing about him is his passion. It was important at Motherwell and you can see the remarkable job he’s done at Inverness.
“Part of that is down to the passion he brings to the job. That’s probably his biggest attribute, along with his coaching and managerial ability.
“His personality is the kind that lifts a club.”