Newcastle 3 Villarreal 3
He has failed to live up to his former glories since leaving Manchester United, and following a loan spell at Birmingham last season, he knows it is time he put his house in order.
But two goals in Saturday's 3-3 draw with Villarreal and suddenly there was a chink of light.
Glenn Roeder: 'It's a new season and the slate is wiped clean for everybody. Nicky's had an excellent pre-season, his motivation has been everything you expect of him, he's a terrific professional to work with.
'I have faith in him, in his ability - that's why I pick players. If you are good enough and I need you, I pick you. He did well last week when he came on and today, although his goals will get the headlines, even if he hadn't scored, he had an influence on the game.
'His first six passes were forward passes and accurate ones, they put pressure on the Villarreal defence which we hadn't done before. He was the kind of player in central midfield where everything revolved around him, he was prompting things.
'He's not famous for getting goals, and even less so for headed goals but hit two that made it look like that's his main quality. It was terrific technique, they're easily missable and Alan Shearer would have been proud of them. I think he thought he might even get a hat-trick!'
The Spaniards were well in control after moving 3-1 ahead through Moreno Josico, former Arsenal winger Robert Pires and Gonzalo Rodriguez just after the hour. But there was a sting in the tail as Butt produced two fabulous headers to rescue Geordie pride ... and who knows ... save his Newcastle future.