Today marks five years since the loss of the much-revered former Cliftonville Manager Jackie Hutton.
Leader of our famous Irish Cup winning side of 1979, the Bellshill-born boss was also the first person to guide a Reds team into Europe, qualifying for the historic Cup Winners’ Cup clashes with FC Nantes Atlantique just four months after that iconic Cup defeat of Portadown at Windsor Park.
Formerly a player with Wishaw Juniors, Hamilton Academical and St Mirren in his native Scotland, Hutton also featured for Scunthorpe United and Glentoran ahead of succeeding Brian Halliday as Cliftonville Manager, a post he held for three years before spells at the helm of Crusaders and the Ports.
A member of the Club’s Hall of Fame, Hutton first took charge of the Reds for a League game with Ballymena United on April 17, 1976 and oversaw a total of 140 fixtures before departing in the aftermath of an Ulster Cup encounter with Portadown on September 8, 1979 – just 12 days prior to that continental clash with Nantes.
Though much is made of the Club’s ongoing 41-year wait for Irish Cup glory, it’s worth noting that the triumph Hutton’s men enjoyed in 1979 bridged a 70-year gap between successes in the competition, while the County Antrim Shield victory which followed just weeks later ended another 53-year interval.
His significant contribution to one of the most celebrated eras in the history of Cliftonville FC can never be under-stated and Jackie remains a highly popular and much beloved figure in the story of Ireland’s Oldest Football Club.