Dons hero Butler returns to semi-pro ranks at Hampton

Wimbledon Guardian: Back in the game: Former Staines Town and AFC Wimbledon striker Richard Butler Back in the game: Former Staines Town and AFC Wimbledon striker Richard Butler

Hampton & Richmond Borough boss Paul Barry may have pulled off a major coup after persuading striker Richard Butler to return to semi-pro football.

Former Staines Town front man Butler enjoyed a prolific spell at AFC Wimbledon, scoring 54 goals in 123 appearances for the Dons under Dave Anderson before leaving Kingsmeadow in 2007.

The 29-year-old, who has taken time out of the game in recent years, put pen to paper on a deal at the Beveree this week to spearheard Hampton's Ryman Premier League campaign alongside the league's leading scorer last term Charlie Moone.

Barry also added the services of former Hemel Hempstead forward Gareth Chendlik to his squad, while Luke Wanadio and Paris Mason both confirmed their commitment to the cause for another campaign with the Beavers.

But it is the presence of Butler that Barry reckons will really catch the eye when pre-season preparations begin in earnest at Merstham next weekend. 

“It's great to be able to confirm some new signings, old faces and new. We're back in pre-season now and things are beginning to take shape," said the joint boss.

“Richard is an experienced quality front man and it will be good to get him back playing at a good level and enjoying his football again.

"We know what he is capable of, we know he can get goals and his work-rate is top class.

“Gareth comes highly recommended by Dean Brennan, the manager at Hemel. He is attending university in Kingston so it works well – we are glad we've got him.

"He is a sharp goalscorer so along with Charlie, Ben and Richard will hopefully form a potent front line with plenty of options.

“Paris, as people know, is an exciting wide man shows the route through from academy along with Reece Brewster.

"It's good to have Luke back, hopefully he can continue his improvement and really push on next season.”

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