Writer: Peverell Green
Date:Monday June 16 2014
Former Argyle forward Jimmy Hinch is under the spotlight in this installment of the Where Are They Now series.
JIMMY HINCH - Born 8th November 1947 Sheffield, Yorkshire.
Jimmy began his football career playing football for Porthmadog in the Welsh League. Tranmere manager Jackie Wright heard about his goalscoring abilities and signed him on in 1969.
In his first season he scored ten goals from 39 appearances.
Argyle had already played Tranmere twice in the 1970-71 season so Argyle manager Ellis Stuttard must have been impressed with what he saw, as he brought him to Home Park as a replacement for the injured Mike Bickle, with centre half Fred Molyneux moving to the north west in exchange, Fred had come from Southport so I guess he was happy to return to the area.
Jimmy made his debut on 13th February 1970 in a 3-2 defeat at home to Swansea with Don Hutchins and Bobby Saxton scoring the Argyle goals. He scored his first goal in the next home game a 2-2 draw with Wrexham with Keith Allen scoring the first goal.
He scored again three weeks later in a 2-0 win at Gillingham with Don Hutchins scoring the other goal. Jimmy followed that up the next Saturday by scoring twice in a 4-0 win at home to Reading with Dave Burnside and Keith Allen scoring the other two goals. Jimmy scored two goals over Easter to bring his tally to six, the first came in a 1-1 draw at Home Park and the other the next day in a 3-1 win at Bristol Rovers with Don Hutchins and Steve Davey scoring the second and third goals.
Jimmy had played in all eighteen games since he signed and had already completely divided the Argyle fans, he really was the Marmite of football, you either loved him or hated him, there was no in between with Jimmy.
Those who idolised his brilliance, me included, would ignore his many faults and sing 'Oh Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy Hinch'. Later adapted for Billy Rafferty.
He didn't so much as have good and bad games he had a good ten minutes then an appalling ten minutes, he could score a brilliant goal and miss a sitter minutes later, I know that happens to all strikers but Jimmy turned it into an art form. One thing's for sure he was always entertaining to watch.
Jimmy started 1971-72 with a goal in the opening game, unfortunately it came in a 3-1 defeat at Aston Villa. He scored again three days later in a first round League Cup win at home to Bristol City. His next came in a 2-2 draw at home to his old club Tranmere with Don Hutchins also scoring.
He again scored the first goal in a 3-2 defeat at Rochdale with Don Hutchins getting the second. In mid-November Jimmy scored the only goal of the game in a narrow win at Halifax.
In January he scored on successive Saturdays, he got the second goal in a 2-2 draw at Barnsley after an own goal had given Argyle the lead and then scored the first goal in a comfortable 4-1 win at home to Rochdale with Derek Rickard (2) and Don Hutchins also on the scoresheet.
Jimmy and Derek Rickard had formed a good partnership with Derek the main beneficiary from Jimmy's flick ons, unfortunately after scoring in the next game Derek suffered a broken cheekbone and didn't play again for three months, only returning for the last game of the season.
Jimmy continued to score regularly, he got the second goal in a 2-1 win at home to Barnsley after Don Hutchins had scored the first.
He then scored four days later in a 3-2 defeat at Blackburn with Micky Cave scoring the other goal.
On 1st April Jimmy scored in a 2-1 defeat at Torquay and the following Saturday scored the goal in a 1-1 draw at Swansea, in the next away game he scored the winner in a 2-1 win at Shrewsbury after Neil Hague had opened the scoring. Jimmy scored his eleventh goal of the season in the final game, a 4-1 win at home to Swansea with goals from Dave Provan, Derek Rickard, Collin Sullivan and Jimmy, giving him the honour of scoring Argyle's first and last goal of the season.
Jimmy's first goal of the 1972-73 season came in a game in mid-September at Home Park. It will always be remembered by those who saw it, not for the goals scored by Johnny Hore or Jimmy but the player who scored the first of the goals that beat Shrewsbury 3-0. Peter Middleton, who was making his debut and scored a truly magnificent goal.
Peter returned to Yorkshire after the game to visit his family prior to joining up with the team who were playing at Blackburn on the next Wednesday. Sadly he was knocked down crossing the road near his house and despite numerous operations was never able to play first team football again.
Jimmy continued to score goals, he scored in a 1-1 draw at Scunthorpe and four days later scored in between goals from Derek Rickard and Alan Welsh in a 3-1 win at home to Swansea. And three day later he scored in a testimonial for former Argyle goalie and long serving club servant Bill Harper, the game against Arsenal ended 1-1 watched by a crowd of 18,093, double Argyle's average league crowd. His next came in a 2-1 win at home to Halifax with strike partner Derek Rickard scoring the other.
His next goal came in a shocker of a result, a 7-1 defeat at Oldham. Jimmy scored the goal in a 1-0 FA Cup third round game at home to Middlesbrough. As well as his league and cup goals Jimmy also scored the third goal in the now legendary game against star studded Brazilian team Santos, with Argyle winning the game 3-2.
Jimmy then went on a bit of a goal spree scoring two goals in successive games. He got both goals in a 2-1 win at home to Port Vale and the following Saturday scored another two in a 2-2 draw at Tranmere.
His last goal came at the end of April in a 3-1 at Walsall with Neil Hague and Alan Welsh scoring the first two.
Argyle started the 1973-74 season with a 1-1 draw at home to Chesterfield with Ernie Machin scoring the goal. Argyle lost the next game at Tranmere 2-0, after going 1-0 down in the game Jimmy was substituted by manager Tony Waiters, with a young Paul Mariner replacing him.
It turned out to be Jimmy's last game after making 117 appearances and scoring 30 goals he realised if he wanted first team football he would have move to another club and he joined Hereford.
Jimmy spent the rest of the season at Edgar Street making 27 appearances and scoring seven goals before leaving them to join York.
Although he continued to score goals he was twice loaned out by York, in 1974-75 season he went to Southport and scored two goals from seven appearances.
He spent the 1976-77 season on loan to Los Angeles Skyhawks where he was an instant success scoring a total of 24 goals from 37 games, he was selected as the League Most Valuable Player and first team All Star recognition.
Jimmy returned to York and despite having scored twelve goals in 68 appearances was transferred to Sheffield Wednesday. He only made one appearance at Hillsborough before moving to Barnsley.
At the end of the season Barnsley sold Jimmy's contract to California Surf of the North American Soccer League.
Jimmy moved to America and has never returned, settling in California.
He spent the 1979 and 1980 seasons playing and later coaching with the California Surf.
After retiring from football Jimmy set up in business, running an Anglo/American business club and later a real estate and insurance business.
According to a recent report I had of him, Jimmy is well and still enjoying life in Los Angeles.
Date:Monday June 16 2014
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