Lincoln City Apprentice Graham Hutchison has signed a deal with Birmingham City which will see them take over the scholarship of the teenager.
First year Apprentice Hutchison, who joined the Imps’ Centre of Excellence as a 15 year old in preference to Nottingham Forest, recently spent a month on trial at Fulham before linking up with Birmingham and impressed enough to secure a move to the Premier League side.
Hutchison, who made his international bow for Scotland at U17 level earlier this season, joins Birmingham for an undisclosed fee and follows in the footsteps of Jack Hobbs, Scott Loach and Lee Frecklington in signing for a Club in a higher division.
Head of Youth Tom Spall said:
“The news that first year scholar Graham Hutchison is set to sign for Birmingham City is great news for everyone involved. It’s great news for Graham himself, it’s great news for his parents, it’s great news for the Club and, of course, it’s great news for ourselves in the youth department.”
“Graham was floating about in Nottingham Forest’s development squads when we were first made aware of his potential. Forest couldn’t make their minds up about him so we brought him in, had a look at him and it didn’t take long to see that he had something about him. We offered him a place in the Centre after trial, which he gladly accepted, and it went from there.”
“He did very well when he played in our Youth team as an under-16. He was a big lad for his age but still a decent footballer. He’s also a quick learner, a bright lad and very good in the classroom.”
“As is the case with all the lads, Graham’s education is very important and he takes that knowledge on to the pitch. We offered him a scholarship early and it didn’t take him long to settle in. He really has gone from strength to strength.”
“Whilst you’ve got to have the people in the first place to spot players of his calibre, you’ve also got to be able to tease that potential out of them and give them the right environment to learn in. You’ve got to nurture the lads’ potential and we’ve definitely done that with Graham.”
“Having spent some time with Fulham, he joined Birmingham on trial a few weeks ago and I recently went to watch him playing for their Reserves in a centre-back partnership with Frank Queudrue. He was actually organising Frank Queudrue so just by looking at that you can tell that he certainly takes things on board very quickly. He’s a footballing centre-back, but he’s like a man mountain and has really pushed on.”
“It’s safe to say that being involved in the Scotland U17 squad attracted the attention of the scouts. As soon as any boy from outside the Premiership makes his international debut then there are going to be scouts from all over watching them so it was good for us that Graham represented his country as in the end it’s worked out that someone spotted him. His defensive partner in the Scotland team is also at Birmingham as well so he should have no problems in settling in.”
“Of course, I would have loved to have seen him play in our first team but for Lincoln City to sell a player to a Premier League team is fantastic, not only for us as a Club but also for Graham and his future aspirations.”
“Since I’ve been here, Graham is the fourth youth product we’ve sold to either a Premier League or Championship club and it’s a massive lift for the youth department and a big pat on the back for the Centre’s coaches.”
“As I’ve already mentioned, there’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes. Centres nights are particularly hectic, but enjoyable, and it makes it even more enjoyable when someone either runs out for our first team or we sell them on to a Club in a higher division.”
“We’ve got a number of excellent little footballers at the Club now and I’m sure there will be an under-nine boy out there training in our Centre of Excellence on a wet Tuesday night hoping he’ll become the next Graham Hutchison in a few years time. Watch this space…”