County news September 17, 2008

Butcher admits to Surrey's failings

Cricinfo staff

Mark Butcher has said that Surrey's relegation, which is almost certain to be confirmed at The Oval in the next day or so, is not something that will be mourned by many outside the club.

"We have never been a club people particularly loved," Butcher said in an exclusive interview with the Daily Express. "It all stems from way back when someone in the offices said that we were like Manchester United. It perpetuated the moneyed, arrogant, southern so-and-so thing and, to be honest, in the period when we were winning a lot of trophies we were more than happy to play up to that."

Surrey have been criticised for an over reliance on their old players, and Butcher admitted that when they were relegated in 2006 they missed a chance to rebuild. "We were so desperate to go back up that the old guys who got us chucked down all played, and the younger blokes spent another year not getting any experience."

He remains confident that mistake will not be repeated and said that relegation this time would do the side good. "Everybody goes through a time when they have to take the pills, rebuild and go again and without a shadow of a doubt it is probably a year overdue for us."

Butcher, 36, had a good start to the season but a knee injury kept him out of the side since the end of May. He will know by the end of the month if he needs a third operation.

With his father, Alan, rumoured to be on his way out as coach, there is also speculation that Butcher, who has one year remaining on his contract, may be jettisoned as captain.