Dabbers legend Colin Hutchinson passes away


COLIN HUTCHINSON

1936 – 2017

Dabber fans of a certain age will be saddened to hear of the recent passing of the club’s longest-serving manager Colin Hutchinson, at the age of 80.

Colin was a popular figure at the old Jackson Avenue ground, being appointed in January 1973 after considerable success in the hot seat at Stafford Rangers.  He turned the Dabbers from perennial Cheshire League strugglers into a force to be reckoned with, blooding into the Nantwich team many names that were to become familiar – including the likes of John Carter, Dave Cooke, Kevin Roche and Kevin Westwood.

His deadpan humour was lifted by robust charm, and his intelligent football brain earned him great respect among players, fans and opponents alike.  At the time, only the Northern Premier League separated Nantwich from the Football League and it is testament to his managerial skills that, in 1976, ‘Hutch’ elevated the Dabbers to 6th position in what could be considered equivalent to today’s ‘Step 2’ (the National League North).

In the same season, Colin steered Nantwich to the Cheshire Senior Cup Final and, in a thrilling 5-4 extra time victory over NPL Champions Runcorn, ensured the trophy was brought back to Nantwich for the first time in over 40 years.

The 6th place finish was repeated in 1976/77, but after nearly 7 years at the helm, Colin sought a new challenge in December 1979, taking over the reins at Droylsden.

His mammoth managerial record at Nantwich was:

Played 347, Won 123, Drew 81, Lost 143, Goals For 541, Goals Against 588.

Born in County Durham, Colin’s career as a footballer was cut short by injury.  He made 9 first team appearances for Stoke City in the 1950s and was later on the books of Stafford Rangers, Crewe Alexandra and Macclesfield Town.  But it is in the dug out that he will be best remembered, becoming Stafford’s youngest-ever Manager when he was appointed at the age of 30 in 1966.  He rejuvenated Rangers, making them one of the leading lights outside the Football League prior to turning around Nantwich Town’s fortunes.

Hutch’s achievements with the Dabbers were recognised when he was invited as the club’s guest at the dinner in 2010 to commemorate the club’s 125th anniversary season.

Colin Hutchinson brought inspiration to many aspiring local footballers and brought much joy to followers of Nantwich Town in the 1970s.  Colin will be remembered with great affection and in paying tribute to his achievements, the club offers sincere condolences to his family and friends at this sad time.

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