A Thumbnail Sketch of Hutchie from 1940-2009
“Hutchison Vale” was formed in the Hutchison area of Edinburgh in 1940 and was a one team outfit playing in the under 21’s Juvenile League, their first strip was yellow and black stripes which was adopted as the club colours and is still their first choice. Their highlight was winning the Scottish Cup (The Lady Darling) in 1949, and their goal keeper that day was Tommy Younger who went on to play for Hibernian F.C., then was transferred to Liverpool F.C., he also captained Liverpool and Scotland (whom he captained in the 1958 World Cup). In later life he was President of The Scottish Football Association.
“HUTCHIE” as they had affectionately become known and still are, enjoyed moderate success until their demise in 1958, at that time the famous “MA” & “PA” BRYSON were in charge, “PA” Bryson was “sine dide” and the authorities at the time made it difficult for the club to compete in the leagues, so sadly they disbanded.
However, in 1968 Jackie Landells ( a former player from the 40’s) restarted the club, with the help of Harry Patterson and “wee” Rab Dunn, they competed in The Boys Club of Scotland League, and they were of a decent standard, and their captain Jimmy Reynolds later signed for Hibernian F.C.
Dougie Allan was recruited to the club and he acquired the Scout Hut at Ford’s Road and obtained a 20 year lease on it, this location enabled the club to play and train at the field in Ford’s Road by the Water of Leith.
A significant time for the club was during the 1975-76 season when a merger with Tartan BC and Stockbridge BC, ran by Rab Lettice merged and straight away Hutchie had a better calibre of Team Rab, brought Vincent Abbasciano, who was a school teacher of Italian decent he brought a lot of players from primary school select side, particularly from the Leith /Granton area, The modern Hutchie was starting to take shape.
Suddenly “HUTCHIE” was competing with Salveson, Tynecastle and Edina Hibs who had enjoyed dominance since the early sixties in Edinburgh. Around this time a Gordon Neely came to the club his organisation and allied to the established style of play was to be the templates of the “HUTCHIE” style of play.
The pass and move game was synonymous with “HUTCHIE” and they also played in a disciplined manner, with the players learning good habits from a young age.
I remember the “HUTCHIE” team of the Neely’s from 1978 to 1983 of which seven of their players went senior. They were John Collins (Hibs),Eddie May (Dundee Utd),Joe & Gordon McLeod (Dundee Utd), Grant Fairley & Gordon Leitch (East Fife), and John Laidlaw (Rangers) who came back to the club as a coach in 90’s. They were certainly one of the best teams “HUTCHIE” ever produced.
“HUTCHIE” has grown from strength to strength in the last thirty years, and have recruited some excellent leaders who have kept up the traditional “HUTCHIE” style of play. Paddy Dollan, (Later to become manager of Cowdebeath F.C.) Clive Glass, Malcolm McKenzie ( Youngest Scotsman to play in the old English First Division for Port Vale, his manager was the great Stanley Mathews) Willie Darroch, Willie Verth, Frank Lewis (Who joined the club in 1978 and is still with us), John Laidlaw (previously mentioned),Ricky Graham, Derek McColl, Alan Lucas, Raymie Carr and Tom Smith all came to the club in the mid 80’s early 90’s and helped the club achieve a vast amount of honours and the added bonus off so many players being signed full time by senior clubs.
In 1989 “HUTCHIE” started the kids school with Ian Murray (Captain of Hibernian and now a full Internationalist at every level) being one of the kids there on the first night, this has been an unqualified success with a lot of players going senior that started their footballing life at our kids school. “HUTCHIE” was the first club in Scotland (possibly the U.K. to set up a kids school).
The system has manifested into the measured step system with the under 6’s on a Saturday mornings, the tots school for 7 and 8’s on Friday evenings and the kids school on Mondays for 9 and 10’s, although it is getting harder to get good leaders the dedication of the band of leaders who are in attendance at these times is highly commendable indeed.
The club also have a blossoming women’s/girls section, with now 4 girls teams and a women’s team all playing in the various Scottish Leagues. Paula McVay and Sharon Walker were the driving force and the acquisition of Colin Tait to manage the women’s team has turned “HUTCHIE” into one of the biggest female section in the East of Scotland.
The club has many new challenges both present and in the future and it is all the more remarkable that with 500 players, 70 leaders that the club remains entirely voluntary.
In recent years, the floodlighting of Fords Road, the Acquisition of Clermiston Pavilion, the tie up with Everton Football Club, becoming a Community sports club, establishing a club physiotherapist and a goalkeeping coach, have all been positive steps for the club.
In recent years the acquisition of Clermiston park, becoming a community club, establishing the S.F.A. standard award, enjoying charitable status, have all helped to strengthen the club in the last year the joining forces with Lothian Thistle who play in the East of Scotland Senior League will be a great assurance to attain senior status
And which has enabled hundreds of players to go on play senior (over 110 ex players currently) and junior football. Winners of 63 Scottish Cups runners up in 24 finals, is a record second to none, winners of trophies in SPAIN, SWEDEN, DENMARK, HOLLAND, IRELAND, ENGLAND, CANADA and the U.S.A. make “HUTCHIE” a club known and respected throughout the footballing world.
So players when wearing the famous “black and yellow”, wear the jersey with pride, a lot of excellent players have wore it before you, and it is up to you all to carry the tradition on. This helps to bring the best out of players at the club and always inspires the opposition to try that bit harder against you.
Hutchie continue to play the game as it should be played [i.e. the beautiful game]
And to add to that our current 13s vale team have achieved the best acclimation in football and won THE BRITISH CUP the first time it has ever been played for,
“Hutchison Vale Youth Football Club” are going ahead with an exciting new initiative that will open a door of opportunity to late developers in the famous Edinburgh nursery club. During the close season, players in the current under-17, under-19 and under-21 age groups will continue to train and the club have arranged games with Scottish senior clubs with the objective of letting these clubs sign any of the Vale players. Leaders at Hutchison Vale have expressed concern that all the resources in Scottish football are currently being aimed at the younger groups and they now want to readdress the balance, giving late developers within the older age groups in the club the chance to step up to a higher level. Club leader, Tam Smith, explained the reasoning behind this new initiative, saying: “Boys playing in the club’s 17s, 19s, or 21s will have a select squad training once a month.
We have already arranged matches for them against senior opposition ranging from the SPL to third division. This will put the players to the forefront in terms of being spotted at their later stages and it also plugs a big gap in the scouting system that currently operates with the senior window in which almost all resources are put into the younger age groups. How will it work? If, for instance, a player impresses a senior club and the desire of the senior club is to sign him, then he will be released right away. It is a win, win situation for both the club and the player. It is an important part of the ethos within Hutchison Vale club that the goal is for us to try and get players playing at the highest standard possible and this comes before the winning of trophies etc. Long after the trophy win is forgotten, seeing players playing in the senior game for years to come is a much sweeter achievement!”
Further explaining the concerns felt among leaders at Hutchison Vale, Mr Tam Smith, added: “It shows the club’s desire to put the players first over everything else and, hopefully, if it doesn’t work out for the players they can then play for our senior side In a further move to benefit players at Hutchison Vale, all players aged 16 and above will be put through their coaching badges and that will help them in the future, if they see coaching as an option to playing!”
Thank you Thomas Smith
Our next chapter will be on soon