Writer: Peverell Green
Date:Monday February 3 2014
Flying winger Don Hutchins is under the spotlight for the latest chapter in the Where Are They Now series.
DON HUTCHINS - Born 8th May 1948 Middlesbrough, Teeside.
Don began his football career as a youngster with North Riding before moving on to Middlesbrough Juniors, unfortunately he didn't progress any further with his hometown team and when he was released joined local team Stockton Juniors. His performances on the left wing attracted scouts from several teams to watch him and in February 1966 was persuaded to join Leicester City.
Not long after joining he was soon playing for their reserve team in the strong Football Combination League. Don also took part in an Under 20 International tournament in Holland that Leicester won.
He made his football league debut at Burnley in April 1967 although he made a handful of first team appearances he was mainly used as a reserve team player.
It was in one of these games that he came to the attention of Argyle manager Billy Bingham.
Argyle reserves played Leicester at Filbert Street and Billy must have been impressed by what he saw as he enquired about Don joining Argyle. He was told he would be available at a fee of £8,000. An experienced and skilled negotiator, Billy got that reduced to £5,000 and in July 1969 Don became an Argyle player.
He made his debut on 30th August 1969 in a 2-1 home win over Tranmere with Norman Piper and Fred Molyneux scoring the goals.
He scored his first goal for the club in early October when he scored the first goal in a 2-1 win at Mansfield with Trevor Shepherd also on the scoresheet.
With Argyle's usual left winger Aiden Maher in good form Don found his first team chances limited and he asked for a transfer, although the board agreed to let him go they didn't receive any offers for him. In his first season at the club Don made thirteen appearances and scored one goal.
With Ellis Stuttard now the manager, 1970-71 saw Don an almost ever present in the first team, and he repaid his managers faith in him by showing he wasn't only capable of beating an opposing full back with his speed and trickery, but had the confidence to beat a player then cut inside and hammer the ball into the net. He scored his first of the season at the same place he'd scored his first goal the previous year, at Field Mill Mansfield. This time in an easy 5-1 win with Mike Bickle (2), Don, Bobby Saxton and Keith Allen all scoring.
In the next away game Don got the only goal in a 1-0 win at Bradford City.
His next goal came in a game I still remember well, it came on a cold Wednesday evening in November at home to Shrewsbury. Argyle cruised to a 3-0 lead with Don and two own goals and the near 7,000 crowd thought the points were in the bag.
Unfortunately Shrewsbury thought otherwise and scored four goals. It took a late equaliser from Dave Burnside to rescue a point. The joy of being an Argyle fan just goes on and on.
Don's next goal was at home to Walsall in a 3-1 win, he scored the first with a rare Johnny Hore double making sure of the points. In February Don scored the first goal in a 3-2 defeat at home to Swansea with Bobby Saxton also scoring.
He then scored in three successive matches, the first on Saturday 13th March in a 1-1 draw at home to Chesterfield, the next Wednesday he scored the second in a 2-0 win at Reading and on the Saturday the first in a 2-0 win at Gillingham with Jimmy Hinch getting the second. In April he scored the Argyle goal in a 2-1 defeat at Port Vale.
His tenth of the season came in a 3-1 win at Eastville against Bristol Rovers, Jimmy Hinch opened the scoring then goals from Don and Steve Davey made the journey home a happy one for the travelling fans.
It was their third game in four days after playing Torquay on the Saturday, Fulham on Easter Monday and Rovers the following day. His last of the season came in a 3-1 home defeat at the hands of Bradford City when he scored the Argyle consolation goal. Don's eleven goals saw him finish the season as the leading goalscorer.
1971-72 again saw Don as one of the first names to go on the team sheet. His touchline hugging runs and pinpoint crosses made him a fans favourite.
It's a tribute to him that Argyle scored in all but seven of their 46 games and three of those ended in a draw. He scored his first in the first home game of the season in a 1-0 win over Blackburn. He then scored in a 3-2 defeat at Rochdale after Jimmy Hinch had opened the scoring.
In October he scored in three successive games, all at Home Park. He got the second in a 2-0 win over Bolton after their goalie had scored an own goal. Aston Villa were next with Argyle winning 3-2, Don scored twice and Derek Rickard got the other, it was an excellent result as Villa would finish the season as champions.
The following Saturday he got the goal in a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Wrexham. The next home game brought exactly the same result, another 2-1 defeat with Don scoring the Argyle goal this time the visitors were Brighton.
In November he got the second goal in a 2-2 draw at Bristol Rovers after Keith Allen had scored the first. Rochdale came to Home Park in January and were soundly beaten 4-1 with goals from Jimmy Hinch, Derek Rickard (2) and Don securing another two points for the Greens.
After Don had scored against Wrexham earlier in the season in a 2-1 defeat, Argyle got their revenge in the reverse fixture in a 2-0 win with an own goal opening the scoring.
Don's last goal of the season, his eleventh came in a 2-1 win at home to Barnsley with Jimmy Hinch scoring the winner. His attacking displays combined with his goals made him the target for other clubs and when Blackburn started to show interest despite Don wanting to remain at Argyle a deal was agreed between the two clubs and after 99 game and scoring 23 goals he was on his way to Ewood Park.
Don spent two years at Blackburn but never really settled, possibly because of his enforced move. There were rumours in the press and among the fans that at the end of his second season there he was going to return to Argyle.
These came to nothing and after making 40 appearances scoring six goals he moved to Bradford City.
In the seven seasons he spent at Bradford he was an almost ever present in the team and again became a favourite of the fans just as he had been at Argyle.
In 1980 he started to pick up injuries that took longer and longer to clear up. At the end of the 1080-81 season he was forced to retire because of the injuries.
He had made 286 appearances and scored 52 goals.
The following season attempted a comeback with non-league Scarborough but was unable to play competitively again.
After leaving football he became a sales rep with Leyland Paints and is now the Sales Manager with them for the North of England.
Date:Monday February 3 2014
Ref For Bury v Argyle (Wednesday April 16 2014)
Argyle Young Player of the Season? (Tuesday April 15 2014)
Argyle v Wimbledon Fan Fest (Tuesday April 15 2014)
Where Are They Now - Eugene Melaniphy (Monday April 14 2014)
One Day Left For The Early Birds (Sunday April 13 2014)
Argyle v Oxford Match Highlights (Sunday April 13 2014)
Oxford Win Max Points From Argyle (Saturday April 12 2014)
Stats: Plymouth Argyle v Oxford (Saturday April 12 2014)
Ref For Argyle v Oxford (Thursday April 10 2014)
Argyle On Parade (Thursday April 10 2014)
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