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Monday, 6 November, 2000, 17:24 GMT
Hutchings shown the door
Chris Hutchings
Hutchings gambled his future on Collymore - and lost
BBC Sport Online Chief Football Writer Phil McNulty examines the dramatic decline of Bradford City boss Chris Hutchings.

Desperate men take desperate measures - so it was a sign of one manager's deep despair when he signed Stan Collymore to save himself from the sack.

Chris Hutchings' decision to get Collymore after being threatened with dismissal by chairman Geoffrey Richmond was not so much a last throw of the dice.

It was a public recognition that the fat lady had cleared her throat, advanced to the microphone, and announced the credits were rolling on a brief and inglorious managerial career.

Benito Carbone
Carbone failed to deliver
If Collymore's capture was designed to buy Hutchings time, it almost stretched the expectations of some when he actually lasted a fortnight after this ill-judged act.

The outspoken Richmond plucked Hutchings from relative obscurity when he appointed him as successor to Paul Jewell - and it took a mere 137 days to send him back.

Hutchings presided over only one league victory - an emphatic win against Chelsea inspired by showpiece summer signing Benito Carbone.

It was the signal for an outburst of optimism and self-congratulation from chairman Richmond that looks decidedly unwise when set against the backdrop of the unceremonious sacking of his manager.

He gloated in the after-glow of triumph: "People should remember we have a good record with rookie managers here.

"He's had to put up with remarks of 'Chris who?' Not only that - the bookies are tipping him as the favourite in the Premiership to lose his job."

Stan Collymore
Collymore's lone goal
Richmond was right on that score, the defeat of Chelsea pushing Gianluca Vialli towards the Stamford Bridge exit somewhat quicker than Hutchings was shown the door at Bradford.

The Bradford chairman has also had to battle against whispers that he was exerting undue influence on team affairs - and claimed his very public warning to Hutchings was only in keeping with Bradford's "open book" publicity policy.

Richmond allowed Hutchings to bring in previously untold reserves of talent in the summer, including Carbone and Romanian Dan Petrescu.

But there was the fear that the capture of Collymore was merely a case of giving Hutchings enough rope to hang himself.

And so it proved as the noose tightened.

What will happen to the wandering Collymore now as he presides over the demise of another manager who, in public at least, showed great faith in him?

Stuart McCall
McCall takes over
Hutchings, as with all managers, was defiant to the end, even after a tame surrender at Charlton on Saturday.

The brave talk of turning things around always sounded hollow with the fans turning against him, his chairman publicly questioning his future, and Bradford locked on course for another relegation struggle.

Bradford City and Richmond will march on towards their next crisis in the hands of caretaker manager and local legend Stuart McCall.

As for Hutchings, his managerial epitaph will be the signing of Stanley Victor Collymore.

He is not alone.

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