Alan Hinton can recall a Derby County victory over Arsenal from the 1972-73 season with vivid description as if it happened over the weekend, including a shot that he smoked into the upper v.
“Thank God the net was there, otherwise it’d still be going,” he said.
The current Sounders FC TV analyst and former NASL and A-League Sounders coach learned this year that he isn’t the only one with fond memories of his exploits with the Rams.
In celebration of their 125th year, Derby County FC is holding a year-long birthday celebration that includes a fan-voted Best XI that includes Hinton, who scored 63 goals in 253 games on the left wing at the BBG.
“It proves that soccer fans have great memories of those times and some fathers have passed those memories to their kids, talking about those marvelous moments,” said Hinton, who will be recognized at Saturday’s match against West Bromwich Albion. “It was a time the fans will never forget because they haven’t been close since.”
Derby County won titles with Hinton on the wing in 1971-72 and 1974-75, but are now relegated to Coca-Cola Championship or second division.
Hinton started his career at 18 years old with the Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1961, scoring 29 goals over 75 games before signing with Nottingham Forest in 1964. 112 games and 24 goals later, he signed with their local rivals at Derby County in 1967. He played eight seasons with the Rams before moving to the North American Soccer League, playing first for the Dallas Tornadoes, then finishing his playing career with the Vancouver Whitecaps. He coached one season with the Tulsa Roughnecks before signing on to coach the Seattle Sounders.
He coached the Sounders to a 58-38 record, then coached the Tacoma Stars in the Major Indoor Soccer League from 1985-1990. When the Sounders restarted in 1994 in the A-League, Hinton was at the helm. And this year, when the Sounders FC launched their inaugural season in Major League Soccer, Hinton was there as a pre-game and halftime analyst on television and radio.
With all the excitement surrounding his current team and his old club, it’s been a year of celebration for Hinton.
“It’s been a fabulous year for me,” Hinton said.