Nicky Butt’s association with Manchester United came to an end this week, with a report citing ‘friction’ between the former midfielder and the club’s new football director.
Butt has spent the past nine years working in coaching and development roles within the academy system of his former side, having previously spent 12 years with the Red Devils as a player.
He came through the system himself as part of the club’s fabled ‘Class of ’92’ and made 387 appearances in all competitions, winning 10 major honours.
However, Manchester United made a surprise announcement on Wednesday that the 46-year-old was to leave with immediate effect as he sought ‘a new professional challenge’.
“Having come through the Academy myself to play almost 400 games for Manchester United, it has been an absolute privilege to come back and work with a new generation of talent making that same journey,” Butt said in a statement on Wednesday.
“I’m proud of the role everyone on the staff plays in giving our young footballers the best possible chance of fulfilling their potential, and the results are clear to see in the increased number of homegrown players reaching the first team.
“I already know from my playing days how difficult it is to leave Manchester United, but it feels like the right moment for a new professional challenge and I look forward to exploring opportunities that build on the great experiences I’ve had here over the past nine years.”
According to The Athletic, Butt’s decision comes following a restructuring of the club behind the scenes, with John Murtough recently appointed as the club’s inaugural Director of Football and former teammate Darren Fletcher promoted to a position of technical director.
Butt and Murtough are said to hold contrasting views on football and the appointment of the latter into a more prominent position – as well as the overlooking of Butt for the role Fletcher now holds – is understood to have led to his decision to move on.
His next move remains unclear with rumours he could join Wayne Rooney’s set-up at Derby, whilst Celtic has also been mooted as a potential destination with former teammate Roy Keane reportedly under consideration for the vacant managerial position.