London-born left full-back Dennis Butler joined the Tigers in June 1963, a £10,000 fee was paid to Chelsea for his services. Butler slotted straight into the City first team at the start of the 1963/64 season and missed only four matches in his first season at Boothferry Park. An orthodox left back who was hard working and tough in the tackle, Butler was not a scorer of goals – he never notched throughout his 13 year career in which he made 459 senior appearances – but was a solid presence at the base of City’s defence as the Tigers assembled a squad capable of winning promotion to the Second Division. Dennis missed a two month chunk of the 1964/65 season with Brian Garvey deputising, but he was a regular first team presence in the successful 1965/66 season that saw City lift the Division Three title, missing only 10 of 55 matches in all competitions. City also reached the FA Cup Quarter Final that season only to lose out to Dennis’s former club Chelsea.
Promotion to the Second Division didn’t trouble Butler who missed only one of 46 matches during the 1966/67 season, consistency that continued into much of the next season. But at the start of the 1968/69 season Butler was replaced at left back by new signing Scotsman Don Beardsley and Dennis spent most of the season filling in for others at right back. Butler did win back the left back shirt in April 1969 and retained it at the start of the 1969/70 season but by October 1969 Beardsley was restored to the first eleven and Dennis was again sidelined. He left the Tigers for pastures new in December 1969.
Dennis Michael Butler was born in the leafy West London suburb of Parsons Green and developed as a footballer through Chelsea’s youth team system. He made his Blues’ debut in November 1961 at the age of 18 in a First Division match against Manchester City and by February 1962 he was Chelsea’s first choice left back as they slumped to the foot of the table and prepared for a season in the Second Division. Chelsea bounced straight back with promotion at the end of the 1962/63 season, but Butler made only two starts all season as youngster Ken Shellito and experienced Scotsman Eddie McCreadie laid regular claim to the full back berths. With Chelsea heading back to the top flight and looking to strengthen their squad, they cashed in on Dennis Butler to the tune of £12,000 when he signed for Hull City in June 1963 – he made a total of 18 senior starts for the Blues.
In December 1969 Butler returned south and dropped down a division, signing for Division Three side Reading for a £10,000 fee. He was a first team regular for a season and a half but at the end of the 1970/71 season the Royals were relegated to the Fourth Division and new financial constraints hit the club. While Butler played regularly for the Royals for three more seasons, taking his appearances tally to 195, by the summer of 1974 the drop in remuneration meant that he was better off financially by setting up his own painting and decorating business in Tilehurst near Reading and playing non-league football for Southern League side Margate. A regular for Margate in the 1974/75 season, he made only four starts at the beginning of the 1975/76 season before clashes between his work and football commitments meant that he hung up his boots. Butler then continued to work as a decorator in the Berkshire area for many years.
Dennis Butler was evidently a popular name in football during the 1970s – in some texts City’s Dennis Michael Butler is listed as having been Port Vale’s manager in the 1978/79 season (that was actually Cheshire-born Dennis Anthony Butler) while a Dennis G Butler plied his part-time trade up front for local Berkshire side Newbury during the late 1970s and was occasionally mistaken in the press for the former Tiger.
Date/Place of Birth: 7 March 1943, Parsons Green
Hull City First Game: 24 August 1963, Watford A (Division Three), 20 years, 170 days old
Hull City Final Game: 15 November 1969, Middlesbrough A (Division Two), 26 years, 253 days old
Chelsea (1960-1963), Hull City (1963-1969), Reading (1969-1974), Margate (1974-1975)
Hull City Record
Career: 246 apps, 0 goalsDennis Butler
|1965/66||37 (0)||0||6 (0)||0||2 (0)||0||-||-||-||-|
|1966/67||41 (0)||0||3 (0)||0||1 (0)||0||-||-||-||-|
|1967/68||31 (1)||0||3 (0)||0||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|1969/70||16 (0)||0||-||-||2 (0)||0||-||-||-||-|