By the early 2000s, his first-team chances at Manchester United further restricted by a number of new midfield acquisitions, Butt handed in a transfer request in January 2004, but turned down a proposed move to Birmingham City during the January transfer window. He was signed by Bobby Robson for Newcastle United in July 2004 for a fee of £2 million. He was seen as a replacement for the veteran Gary Speed, who had moved to Bolton Wanderers.
However, on February 13 2006, Butt walked out on his manager and former Manchester United team mate Steve Bruce, after finding out Bruce placed his son Alex Bruce in the squad ahead of himself, and was later fined two weeks wages, which was £80,000 (€115,800). After Birmingham were relegated from the Premier League, Butt returned to Newcastle who were being managed by Glenn Roeder.
Although not an instant fan favourite at St. James' Park, Butt won over some fans with two goals scored through headers in a pre-season friendly against Villarreal CF. There was some speculation that newly-appointed Sunderland manager Roy Keane would try to sign his former Manchester United midfield partner. However, due to the lack of back-up midfielders at Newcastle and his good pre-season form, Butt remained at Newcastle.
During the 2006-2007 season, Butt was much more involved in the first team at Newcastle, playing in the holding role which allowed the likes of Scott Parker and Emre to go forward. On January 14 2007, Butt scored his first Newcastle goal in over 2 years when he scored the winner against Tottenham in a 3-2 victory. His good form that season continued, as on April 9 2007, Butt won the man of the match award for his performance against Arsenal.
With former Newcastle captain Scott Parker having moved to West Ham United, Butt continued to play a big part in Newcastle's 07/08 Premier League campaign. On December 20 2007, he penned a new contract keeping him at the club until the end of next season. He is now vice captain.
After the World Cup he returned to his role as a squad player, providing experienced cover for the first-choice midfield pairing of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard. He was selected for the 2004 European Championships but missed the tournament through injury. His most recent international appearance was in a friendly against Spain on 17 November 2004. In total he has appeared 39 times for England.
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