CENTRAL Coast Mariners’ ongoing recruitment and retention drive continues to gather momentum with captain and midfield stalwart John Hutchinson extending his stay with the Club for a further two seasons.
CENTRAL Coast Mariners- ongoing recruitment and retention drive continues to gather momentum with captain and midfield stalwart John Hutchinson extending his stay with the Club for a further two seasons.
Hutchinson was one of the first players signed by the Mariners for the inaugural season of Australia-s Hyundai A-League in 2005.
Since then the no-nonsense midfielder has made 193 competitive appearances for the Club, endearing himself to the Bluetongue Stadium faithful with his whole-hearted, determined displays.
33-year-old Hutchinson played for Gippsland Flacons (later Eastern Pride) and Northern Spirit in the National Soccer League, however insists there is no other Club he cares to represent in the A-League era.
“I don-t think I will ever leave the Mariners to go to another Club in the A-League,” Hutchinson said. “I love the Coast and I love the Club, and my family is very happy here. Football and life can change quickly, but if this is the last contract I sign in the A-League then I will be very happy.”
While Hutchinson enjoyed a brief spell on loan under Lawrie McKinna at China-s Chengdu Blades in 2011, the 2014/15 season will mark the former Maltese international-s tenth with the reigning Hyundai A-League Premiers.
Consequently, the Club is pleased to announce that subsequent to FFA approval, a testimonial match for Hutchinson-s decade of service to the Mariners will be played prior to the commencement of the 2014/15 Hyundai A-League campaign.
“It would be good if that happened and if it does I-d like a lot of people to come back and celebrate the day with me,” he said. “There-s been a lot of people who have been around the Club for a long time as well, and they-ve all helped contribute to the success that we-ve had.”
And while Hutchinson can look forward to at least another two and a half years in his beloved yellow and navy, the Morwell-born midfielder insists he-d prefer to look back on any personal achievements made throughout his career with the Mariners - such as appearance records - when he ultimately hangs up his boots.
“Personal achievements are nice and I-ll be happy to look back on them when I finish playing football,” he said.
“The league is very important to us as footballers. We train all pre-season to do well in the league, and growing up winning the league was always my aim. If I was to do it again with the Mariners this season, or in the next few years, that would be fantastic.”
Central Coast Mariners Head Coach, Graham Arnold, said Hutchinson deserved an extension to his current deal having led the team admirably on the park this season.
“‘Hutch- [Hutchinson] has been here since day one and is one of the true servants of the Club,” Arnold said. “He has shown great loyalty to the Club over an extended period of time and is a great example to many of the young players that we have in the team.”
Central Coast Mariners Chairman, Mr Peter Turnbull, added: “This is extremely good news for us as Hutch is an integral part of not only the leadership group, but of the character of the Club itself.”
“He has been an outstanding servant of the game in Australia, and is always willing to go the extra yard - especially if it is to see the referee to give some well meaning information and advice.”
Hutchinson joins attacking ace Michael McGlinchey and goalkeeper Justin Pasfield in re-committing themselves to the Club within the last week. Youngsters Hayden Morton and Michael Neill also put pen to paper recently, while Nick Fitzgerald linked with the team for two and a half seasons in January.