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Craig Hinton

We look back at this defensive legend’s Harriers career…



Craig Hinton in his Kidderminster Harriers days

Safe to say that defensive legend Craig Hinton had a successful six year spell at Aggborough, being part of the team that won the Conference in the 1999/00 season, and reached the FA Cup third round of the FA Cup.

A trainee at Birmingham City, Hinton joined Harriers as a 20 year old full back in 1998. Brought to the club by Graham Allner, Hinton told us how he first heard of interest in him from Aggborough.

Hinton recalled: “I did two years of on Youth Training Scheme and then two years of professional football at Birmingham, but I wasn’t really playing much and was just in the reserves so I just needed to push forward really and try to get first team football elsewhere.

“I went to a few clubs on trial and then Graham Allner rang me and I came down to training a few times, then played a few games and it went from there!”

Hinton began playing as a centre back more often during the beginning of his Harriers career, a position that he would engineer to become his own throughout his six years at Aggborough.

However, within a few months of joining Harriers, long term Harriers manager Graham Allner left the club after 15 years at the club, but Hinton’s Harriers career only went from strength to strength under new manager Jan Molby. Making 42 appearances in his first season in red and white, Hinton certainly accomplished his aim of playing consistent first team football.

On the differences between Blues and Harriers, Hinton enjoyed the friendliness that the Aggborough club provided, as well as the alternative type of challenge to playing reserve football at a higher level.

“It was very different but it was very friendly. There seemed to be a good togetherness and it was more of a family club,” said Hinton

“Playing competitive football week in, week out, I learned a lot quickly.

“It was sad to see Graham go, but Jan Molby came in and carried on from where Graham left off and brought a few new players in, which probably freshened the club up a bit”.

The 1999/00 season was one that will stay in the memories of Harriers fans for a long time, as it ended in promotion to the Football League. Again ever present in the team, Hinton made a total of 44 appearances, missing just one match in the entire season.

In this time, Harriers gained a reputation for playing easy on the eye attacking football, and Hinton A reminiscent Hinton has great memories of what was one of the best seasons in the club’s history, especially as the season was drawing to a close with Harriers confident of sealing the title.

“It was just a great time and it was one of those seasons where we thought that half way through the season, we were going to win the league,” Hinton admitted.

“In the last five to ten games we were going into every game thinking that we’ve won the league and there is no pressure on us, so we can go and play and enjoy our football.

“We seemed to play our way out of the Conference rather than being big bruisers and battle our way out”.

A rock at the heart of the Harriers defence, Hinton continued to feature heavily as Harriers entered the Football League, making over 200 appearances over the course of the next four seasons in England’s fourth tier.

It was in the 2003/04 season that Hinton was part of a great FA Cup for for Harriers, as the club reached the third round to face Wolverhampton Wanderers at Aggborough in front of 6,000 spectators. The match ended as a 1-1 draw, but Harriers unfortunately lost the replay 2-0.

After featuring in 284 matches over a six year spell, Hinton admitted that it was a very difficult decision to leave the Worcestershire club, but wanted a new challenge elsewhere.

“Kidderminster is such a family club, it was hard to leave,” said Hinton.

“It’s only down the road for me, my mum and dad used to travel on the away supporters bus to games!

“But I thought that after six years, I needed a change”.

His move was to Bristol Rovers in 2004, and he would go on to spend five seasons with The Pirates, before featuring for Northampton Town and Luton Town, then ending his career with Solihull Moors.


This article is about: Alumni


 

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