John Hutchinson has revealed that Central Coast Mariners coach Paul Okon never spoke to him during his departure from the club where he spent 12 years.
The former Mariners skipper was an assistant coach under Okon’s predecessor Tony Walmsley and made a “mutual agreement” with Central Coast to depart the club in August on the same day the ex-Socceroos midfielder took over in Gosford.
Speaking to Goal in his first interview since beginning work as an assistant coach with the reserve team of MLS outfit Seattle Sounders, Hutchinson revealed his disappointment at the way he was discarded by the Mariners.
EXIT WAS ‘TOUGH’
“It was obviously tough. Once Tony got sacked and you know you’re in limbo land because a new coach is going to come in and not want you, and all that kind of stuff,” he said.
“Once Okon got the job and I hadn’t spoken to him at all at that stage, you know you’re not going to keep your job anyway.
“I had myself prepared once Tony left I was going to lose my job. Okon didn’t speak to me at all the whole time.
“So in terms of that, that was really disappointing. To be at a club for 12 years and the head coach can’t even have a chat to you – that was really disappointing.”
Hutchinson still hopes to return to Gosford and coach the Mariners one day but concedes “I don’t really have much to do with them at the moment, which is sad”.
The former midfielder was a member of the Mariners’ inaugural squad and played 228 A-League matches, which makes him the club’s games record holder.
After leaving Central Coast in August, Hutchinson traveled around the world on a professional development tour.
“Just to have a look about, see what other teams do and just see some different coaching styles and all that,” Hutchinson explained.
“So my first stop was actually Seattle and I came here because I’d made contact with Dave Tenney, who is the ‘S and C’ [strength and conditioning] guru here, and I came over for a week here.
“Went to Qatar as well, went to Hong Kong and then I emailed the [Sounders’] GM when they made the [2016 MLS Cup final] to wish them all the best and from there, they told me a coaching job was available. I applied for it, went through the interview process and got the job.”
The Gippsland-born coach is relishing his time in the Pacific Northwest, with S2 sitting fifth in the USL’s Western Conference after 10 games.
“It’s an incredible football club, a wonderful club. It’s run so well. It’s highly professional; the training facilities are really good,” Hutchinson said.
The 37-year-old added: “I think Australia needs [a professional second division] desperately… so we can keep players in Australia, and they can stay there and become better footballers and the coaches don’t have to go hunting around the world looking for jobs.
“I’m enjoying my time, though, here. I wouldn’t want it any other way.”