Tony Butler 1935-2023

16 Jul 2023 | 8 comments

St Andrews

All at Blues Trust were saddened to learn of the death of former radio presenter Tony Butler. Tony passed away on Friday 14 July aged 88.

Tony will be remembered by many Blues fans as an icon of local radio, at both the BBC and BRMB.

A freelance sports journalist by trade, Tony is widely recognised as being one of the first presenters in the country to make the radio phone-in an event in itself, combining lively discussion, passionate supporters and controversial views wrapped up with humour and wit. He certainly took no prisoners with his forthright approach.

He was appointed Sports Editor at BRMB when it started in 1974 and modelled his approach on what he had heard on US and Canadian radio stations, where a more aggressive tone was prevalent than used on the BBC.

He pioneered both the football phone-in and the Saturday afternoon sport and music show (the BBC had commentary rights so BRMB was limited to short live reports from games). In those days, if you weren’t at a Blues game it was the place to keep up with what was happening.

In today’s world of the internet and social media, with immediate access to information, views and opinions, it should not be forgotten how important the radio phone-in became for football supporters from the mid-1970’s onwards. It was massive. It is still popular today of course, but perhaps not in the same light as it once was given the availability of so many other media outlets.

It was often the only way for fans to be able to publicly share their emotions regarding the ups and downs of their team, including immediately post-match. Tony helped create that opportunity and tapped into it with aplomb.

Many warm and heartfelt tributes have been paid to Tony, including this from the BBC.

A unique and talented broadcaster, Wolverhampton born Tony changed the landscape of football discussion for generations of supporters. And particularly so in the West Midlands, where he brought fans of all the professional clubs together. He went on to have a long and varied career across both commercial radio and at the BBC in the midlands.

He will be fondly remembered by countless people who love football, and many more who did not but loved his shows anyway.

Our thoughts are with his family, friends and former colleagues.

On yer bike, Tone. Rest in peace.

Blues Trust


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  1. Peter Bates

    A great listen after the match on Saturdays didn’t always agree with Tony but it was fantastic radio thanks Tony and condolences to the family of tony butler .

  2. Beverley King (Bluenosebev)

    Loved that Saturday afternoon broadcast when suddenly an excited voice with a rich Birimbgham accent would say “There’s bin a goal at St.Andrews” REST IN PEACE SIR

  3. Mitchell Bray

    Immensely saddened. Tony was an inspiration to me personally. His cavalier delivery of words and his little ‘tongue in cheek’ always got fans itching to get things off their mind. He once told me the only person he was a little afraid of was Big Mick referring to Mick McCarthy ( being the Wolves manager). Tony was special and of course the great creator of the everlasting prayer mat.

  4. Eddie Arkell

    So so sad he was an icon I only have the happiest of memories of Tony, every Saturday he’d tell me to get my prayer mat out so whoever you supported would get that crucial goal. Saturday was always an experience and really enjoyable one with Mr Butler at the helm. I will get me Prayer mat out one last time in honour of a Brummie through and through.

  5. JP

    We’ll all miss him, a true legend

  6. Andrew

    A true legend. He invented what is now talk sport What was the name of that music he played to try and get one of our local teams a goal?

  7. Mick Orton

    I can hear it like it was yesterday – “TONY BUTLER – BRMB – SPORT”, being spat into the microphone in a broad Brummie accent – my accent. Somewhat of a cliche, but, “legend” is the only way to describe him.

  8. Ed Truman

    ???? You’re spot on Mick. I’d forgotten that. Great memory! I didn’t always agree with him and sometimes felt he was a bit too near the knuckle. But he was compulsive listening and always great entertainment. My recollection is also that he was something of a closet Bluenose. I think he had real affection for the club given the challenges the club faced in those days and the fact that all too often those on the other side of the Expressway attracted more national attention. We won’t see the likes of him again. God bless Tony.

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