Richie Wellens talks Andy Butler's future at Doncaster Rovers as a player and coach

Richie Wellens has told Andy Butler he will need to park his coaching ambitions for the time being if he wishes to remain a player with Doncaster Rovers.

Sunday, 23rd May 2021, 8:31 am

Butler managed Rovers from the start of March until the end of the season following the departure of Darren Moore but missed out on a long term appointment.

The centre half has a year remaining on his playing contract and spoke of being open to having an involvement in the new manager’s coaching set-up prior to Wellens’ being handed the reins.

But Wellens has informed the 37-year-old he will need to leave the club if he wishes to combine coaching with playing this season.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Andy Butler on the training ground with Rovers

“The only thing I have stressed to Andy is that he will not be a player-coach,” Wellens told the Free Press. “You cannot do it.

“If you’re a coach for me, you have to work 24/7. You have to take training and be involved in the day to day running of the club but then you have to go scouting at night time, watching players and the opposition. It’s a tough job with long hours and you cannot do that and train during the day.

“You have to be focused and fully fit.

“He’s got a playing contract for next year and like any other player we will wipe the slate clean.

“It’s up to him to prove to me in pre-season that he can be part of us going forward.

“My message to Andy Butler that I have relayed to him, is that I would love to be playing now.

“I love managing but it’s nowhere near playing.

“When you’re a manager, you eat rubbish all the time from motorway services because you’re always on the road, you put weight on, you go bald, you lose your beard, you don’t have time with your kids.

“You dedicate your life to being a manager.

“When you’re a player, you train for two hours, you’re fresh, you’re fit.

“Play as long as you can.”

It is unclear at this stage how Wellens’ stance will impact Butler’s position as manager of the Belles.

Butler is set to return to his role as Belles boss following his time in charge of Rovers and Wellens will assess the commitments required for the role.

The new Rovers boss admitted that earlier in his managerial career that he would likely have attempted to move Butler on this summer given the possibility for awkwardness in the situation.

But he has pledged to give Butler every opportunity to stake his claim to be part of Wellens’ plans for the new campaign.

“You have to understand that it’s a difficult situation for Andy Butler coming in,” he said.

“If you ask me what decision I would have made three or four years ago in the early part of my management career, then Andy Butler probably wouldn’t have been at the club. I would have been that ruthless.

“But I think it’s only fair that I approach it with a totally open mind. He has a playing contract.”


In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.