Calum Butcher says “unfinished business” brought him back to Dundee United as he expressed his pride at making 100 appearances for the club.
Butcher left the Tangerines in 2015 after two years in the City of Discovery only to return at the beginning of 2019 after stints with a few clubs down south.
Last month’s 4-1 defeat to Rangers at Ibrox marked the midfielder’s century and, in turn, another step towards mission complete for Butcher.
On returning for his second spell, Butch was determined to get the Terrors back into the Premiership and going up against Scotland’s big boys week in, week out.
‘Top six and winning silverware was spoken about when I first came back and that’s where the club wants to go’
With that ticked off, the 30-year-old’s focus is now on helping United build and fight for top six and silverware in the seasons to come.
“It’s a proud moment and really nice,” Butcher said of joining the Tangerines’ 100 club.
“You don’t really think about it consciously, you don’t see it tallying up game by game but when it happens it’s nice.
“It’s good to have played 100 games for a club I really care about and want to do well for.
“Coming back I knew we wanted to get back in the Premiership and playing at the top level, building towards really competing.
“Hopefully we can go on and have a good cup run.
“Last year was just about going up and we managed to do that. Staying in the Premiership was massive this year.
“The top six and winning silverware was spoken about when I first came back and that’s where the club wants to go.
“There’s a five-year plan and a vision of where the club wants to be. That’s definitely where I see it going and a place I want to be.
“We want to be in the top six and having good cup runs, enjoying those moments because you don’t get enough of them in your career.
“That’s what we’ve got to be aiming for in the future, for sure.”
Unfinished business motivates United enforcer Butcher
Midfield ace Butcher, who can also play at centre-half, believes there is a big difference in atmosphere at United this time around compared to his first spell.
Not only has the club changed, the Essex lad feels he has matured into a leader for the Tangerines and one ready to prove himself “all over again”.
He continued: “When I came here last I was in a totally different situation to what I am now.
“When I first came here I was a young kid who hadn’t played a lot of games and I was finding my way.
“Things happened very quickly when I went down south, I was winning stuff straight away and playing a lot of games.
“I came back a different player. I wasn’t enjoying my football at Mansfield so to come back up with (ex-manager) Robbie (Neilson) and (sporting director) Tony (Asghar) here everything clicked.
“I started enjoying football again and that’s important because careers are short.
“I was coming here to restart and kickstart my career after leaving Spurs the first time but the second time it was after having good spells down south, winning things and being a senior player.
“I wanted to be someone playing week-in, week-out and I also wanted to come back to United and prove myself all over again.
“I felt like I never really got to show enough. Part of the reason I left was I wasn’t able to see a future on the pitch.
“I never anticipated leaving, I wanted to carry on because I was starting to really settle and play a lot more games, but it didn’t work out.
“Coming back, I wanted to do well and I felt like I had unfinished business here. It was the perfect time to come back and win something and get promoted.”
Derby double the pick of the bunch
Picking a highlight from his ton of games, it’s hard for Butcher to see past last season’s 6-2 derby win over Dundee at Tannadice, in which he scored twice.
However, he insists just being able to enjoy football again has been enough for him.
Butcher added: “The derbies were very good to play in last season. To score twice in the 6-2 was great.
“There have been so many games, even my first game back against Morton was one of the most enjoyable matches I’ve ever played after having a tough time of it in England.
“To come back and have that feeling again was great.
“Captaining the side against Hibs in the Scottish Cup was a good moment as well.”
Kids have caught the United bug
Off the pitch, Butcher has returned to Dundee a father of two.
He says he loves raising Archie and Maggie, alongside partner Nancy, in a city that feels like home for them.
“I felt that coming back and I always enjoyed it here last time,” he added.
“Scotland and Scottish people, I really like it, the way they are. Everyone’s so friendly and wants to help each other.
“I really noticed that when I was here last and coming back it was different because we had kids but we’re really settled.
“That’s down to knowing the city and being comfortable here. I could just hit the ground running.
“I care for the club, want us to do well and be a part of that.”
Although he was raised on a strict diet of Arsenal – and then first club Tottenham – Butcher admits his kids are a lost cause.
They’ve already been bitten by the United bug.
Asked if they are fans of the club, Butcher replied: “Archie is, Maggie a little bit because they’re still quite young but they know.
“They watch games on the TV and, hopefully, as they get a little bit older they’ll be able to come back to the games.
“They’ve not been able to this season but they’re always a part of it. We’re a close family and do a lot of stuff together so they’re well aware.
“Archie’s got a United shirt and so has Maggie so they’re always looking for the latest thing.
“Archie got a scooter for his birthday and he was like: ‘Can I have an orange and black one please, daddy?’
“I asked him why and he said because it’s United colours so he kind of knows, it’s good.”