Perth Glory’s former head physio Chris Hutchinson speaks about working with and looking after the club’s players during his 14 years of service.
There are fewer people better placed to give insight on the day to day life inside an A-League club. Hutchinson’s responsibilities have ranged from getting players fit in preseason, delivering on-field treatment, helping with injury recovery and more recently advising and managing the current team of physios at the club.
Every single player to walk through the doors of the club in the last decade will all have been tended to at some point by Hutchinson. He describes how each player often had their own routines and requirements on match days.
“Some people get there really early and like to loosen up and tape up before the game,” Hutchinson tells Kick360, “others will be more self-managed.”
“Everyone has their own game day routines so we give the players a bit of a license because they know what they need on game day.”
One vastly experienced player that Hutchinson recalls being impressed by is former French international and Premier League defender William Gallas, who despite struggling to adapt to the Australian conditions, would become the perfect role model for some of his younger teammates.
“He’d had a couple of calf issues before he came over to us from Tottenham, and I think he took some time to adapt to the hard surface and also the temperatures.
“I think we had a game in country Victoria and it must have been well over 40 degrees, so someone who’s used to playing in rain or even snow, he was struggling!
“But Will was the ultimate professional, I used to say to a lot of the younger guys, ‘You need to hang out and get some information from this guy, because goes to the extreme for what he does for his body.’
“Even at that age he was waking up in the morning and prepping for training for at least an hour, sometimes going on-field for an hour’s session by himself before training with the rest of the team for another hour or hour and a half.
“We would do the gym session with the guys, then he’d go home, have some sleep then come back for some more sessions later. At 8 o’clock at night we’d have people going over to his house for sessions to get him ready to go.
“All day every day he was looking after himself, and he was great to have here and see a guy of that calibre expected as an individual player, and we all had to rise up to that level so we could help him.”
Hutchinson’s also been able to see and help Diego Castro prolong his playing career. Perth’s Spanish captain was signed from LaLiga club Getafe in 2015, and has just completed his sixth season in Western Australia, aged 39.
“He’s in the same calibre as Will, so the way he prepares his body and the knowledge he has gained from playing so many years and what he can tolerate, if that guy tells you something about his body and it’s not adding up, you know that it’s the truth and you can trust him 100% that we need to investigate it.
“You could leave him for three months and he will look after himself, he will eat right, sleep right, change his routine so that he offloads parts of his body that he needs to rest so you couldn’t ask for a better professional.
“He’s great on the field but he also lifts the professionalism of the club and the level they need to work at.
“It’s been a pleasure to work with him over the last six years and we need more players like him over here!”
Hutchinson still works part-time at the club despite stepping away from his head physio role in 2019. He was personally invited back to help out by Richard Garcia when the rookie head coach first threw his hat into the ring for the job.
“To be honest, I was kind of out of the club at the end of the Covid stuff and there were other people taking that role of head physio and I didn’t think I needed to be there as much.
“It was only when Richie was appointed, he had spoken to me beforehand and said he was interested in the position and would I be interested in coming back to help out.
“There wouldn’t have been too many people that would have swayed me to come back to the club, just because I had done my time there and I was moving in a direction, but I said if you’re going to be head coach, I’ll come and help you out.”
Garcia is one of a number of ex-Glory players that Hutchinson worked with throughout his tenure and has now seen return in a coaching role. In fact, the vast majority of the current coaching staff are former players, who Hutchinson has enjoyed seeing progress and continue contributing to the club.
“Together with the other coaching staff that we have, I was physio when they were all playing, it sounds really bad!
“You’ve got all of our leaders that were at the club within the last 10-15 years, and now they have all come back to the club as coaches.
“They’re building a different culture that’s not so much built on strict rules and making players fear what they need to do, it’s actually building a good environment for the players as an example.
“They have been exactly where these players have been and were the ones driving that as players.”
Finally, Hutchinson is also glad that the club is now utilising and developing the sporting talents of Western Australia, both on and off the field.
“Most of our coaches are all now living in WA so they’re embracing that side of things again which is good because we were going away from that again.”
“That’s now what they’ve done with their recruiting, trying to get back our younger guys that used to play with the club in the youth teams that went overseas or over east.”
“From my perspective, I’ve always tried to bring the physios up through the ranks from the academy teams, youth teams and then helping the first team out as an assistant and then up maybe even as head physio.”
“The coaching seems to be the same philosophy with Richie with the youth teams and Steve [McGarry] with the other 10 teams down there. [Jamie] Coyne was the same with the under 20s and now Ruben [Zadkovich] is with the youth team as well.
“They’re all making their way to the top and bringing the young players with them as well, which I think will be very good for the club in the future.”