Tuesday, 15 May 2012

The twilight year - Don Hutchison's time at City

It’s no coincidence that Coventry City's most successful season post-Premiership saw the introduction of experienced heads to complement the younger players. Micky Adams' 2005/06 side comprised Richard Shaw, Dennis Wise and Don Hutchison alongside the likes of Gary McSheffrey, Andy Whing and Kevin Thornton in a campaign that provided rare cheer during a decade of frustration, false promises, mismanagement and flattened expectations.

After a slow start to the season, Hutchison signed in November on loan from Millwall prior to Wise's January arrival. It was clear from day one that 'Hutch' still possessed the ability to dictate the tempo of matches. During his Liverpool days there was extravagance and pace, now he kept it simple and was hugely effective in his cameo role. The phrase 'let the ball do the work' summed up his contribution as he made 15 starts and appeared 25 times from the bench during his playing year at the Ricoh. A little nutmeg here, a slide rule pass there, he made the game look easy, drawing on his top flight days with the Reds, Sunderland, West Ham and Everton. A professional in the twilight of his career he led by example and drew regular applause from the City faithful.

Hutchison can lay claim to scoring the most spectacular goal during our second tier stay. Boxing Day 2005, in front of 25,000 at Elland Road, saw Neil Sullivan clutching thin air as Don's swerving, dipping Papiss Cisse style half-volley crashed into the top corner of the net from distance. It's a strike you never tire of watching and summed up his quality while at City.

Sadly, an injury picked up in November 2006 sidelined him and he would never appear in sky blue again, released in the summer of 2007 by Iain Dowie. The value of Hutchison, Wise and Shaw cannot be underestimated, they were never replaced and we failed to build on falling just shy of the play-offs. It was clear last season that experience was sadly lacking, two or three wise heads will be key to our hopes of a successful campaign in the third division, we cannot rely solely on youth again.

League One countdown95 days to go
Fixtures release - 34 days to go
Transfer activity - we're still not allowed to make any

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