How do you attempt to match Stephen Jones and Rob Kitson’s wonderful written tributes to Eddie Butler ? Well the answer is you don’t. All I can do is speak from my Welsh heart, a heart that has taken a severe pounding over the last few days.
Eddie commanded the press rooms of international rugby stadiums, not in an assertive macho way, but in a wonderfully warm comforting manner, this big bear of a man seemed to fill the room as he entered it and in his wonderfully gentle manner he always shook everyone by the hand, it didn’t matter if you were an established hack or a new kid on the block you got the same warm greeting, and it made you feel all was well with the world.
Most of my work has been covering France home games, and Eddie nearly always got the commentary gig at the Stade de France in Paris, along with Jonathan Davies, the comforting presence of those two Welshman entering the salon de presse was always a moment I looked forward to.
It was my huge privilege to have met and known Eddie Butler, I feel a stomach churning loss so I can only imagine the pain those with a closer relationship to the big man must feel, I hope all the love and respect that has been shown in print and every other form of media will be of some comfort to them.
For me personally the press areas of the Stade de France and the Principality Stadium will have an empty corner that no one else can possibly fill, I will miss that big pre match outstretched paw so much.
Sleep peacefully Eddie anyone who has ever had the privilege to work alongside you will never forget you. I certainly won’t.