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Norman 'Bites Yer Legs' Hunter
Personal information
Full name Norman Hunter
Date of birth 29 October 1943 (1943-10-29) (age 66)
Place of birth    Gateshead, England
Playing position Central defender
Senior career1
Years Club App (Gls)*
1962–1976
1976–1979
1979–1982
Leeds United
Bristol City
Barnsley
Total
540 (18)
108 0(4)
031 0(0)
679 (22)   
National team
1966–1975 England 028 0(2)
Teams managed
1980–1984
1985–1987
1988
Barnsley
Rotherham United
Leeds United (caretaker)

1 Senior club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only.
* Appearances (Goals)

Norman 'Bites Yer Legs' Hunter (born 29 October 1943 in Eighton Banks, Gateshead, England) is a former English footballer who was a member of the Leeds United team of the 1960s and 1970s. He was also part of the 1966 FIFA World Cup winning squad, receiving a medal in 2007.[1] He has since been included in the Football League 100 Legends. He was nicknamed "Bites Yer Legs" Hunter.

Contents

Career as a player

Initially an inside forward, Hunter was moulded by Leeds into a central defender who made the No. 6 shirt his own in 14 years with the club he joined at the age of 15, giving up a job as an electrical fitter in the process. He had been spotted playing for his local amateur side. He made his first-team debut in 1962, forming a partnership at the back with Jack Charlton which lasted for a decade. Leeds were promoted as Second Division champions in 1964 and a year later came very close to the "double" of League championship and FA Cup with Hunter to the fore. However, they lost the title to Manchester United on goal average and were beaten 2-1 by Liverpool in the FA Cup final, though Hunter's accurate long pass into the Liverpool area started the move which led to Billy Bremner's goal.

Hunter made his debut for the England team in 1965, but the partnership between Charlton and Bobby Moore meant that he spent much of his international career as an understudy, winning 28 caps in total. He was in the squad which won the 1966 World Cup but never kicked a ball. In the 1966 World Cup final only the 11 players on the pitch at the end of the 4-2 win over West Germany received medals. Following a Football Association led campaign to persuade FIFA to award medals to all the winners’ squad members, Hunter was presented with his medal by Gordon Brown at a ceremony at 10 Downing Street on 10 June 2009. [2]

Hunter picked up a medal as Leeds won the League Cup and their first European honour with the Fairs Cup (later UEFA Cup) in 1968. A year later he won his first title medal and then in 1970 he was part of the team which sought a unique "treble", but won nothing. Hunter spent a short part of the 1970 season injured but he was in Alf Ramsey's squad for the summer's World Cup in Mexico, coming on as a substitute in the 3-2 defeat by West Germany.

In the 1971 FA Cup, Leeds lost to Colchester United by 3-2 in the fifth round. They were 3-0 up and Hunter scored one of Leeds' goals as they attempted a comeback.

In May 1972, Hunter's joy as he fought the Leeds cause was captured in a photograph. His defensive position meant that he was at the opposite end of the pitch to Clarke when the Leeds striker launched his diving header - Hunter, like most central defenders, only went forward for set-pieces or when running with the ball at his feet. A photographer behind the Leeds goal, at the opposite end to Clarke, captured the moment as Hunter leapt high in the air in celebration with arms and legs spread, as if in the midst of a star-jump. Leeds won 1-0 and Hunter had his first FA Cup winners' medal. At the end of the game, Hunter climbed the steps to the Royal box twice - once to collect his own medal, and then again to help the badly injured Jones negotiate his way up and down. Jones had been receiving treatment for a dislocated shoulder while his team-mates had been getting their prizes.

1973 saw further defeats in Finals, as Leeds lost in the F.A. Cup Final to Sunderland, and then a few days later to AC Milan in the now defunct European Cup Winners Cup. This match is one of a series of matches involving Italian Clubs that are regarded as being "fixed", by Dezso Solti. Hunter was sent-off in this match for retaliation.

Months earlier, Hunter was in the England team which needed to win their last qualifying tie for the 1974 World Cup in West Germany. The opposition at Wembley were Poland on 17 October 1973 who just needed a draw. It was 0-0 when Hunter raced across to the touchline to make a tackle but trod on the ball and lost it. Poland quickly made a counter attack and took the lead. Clarke equalised with a penalty but England could not get past Tomaszewski from open play and a 1-1 draw saw them miss out on a place at the World Cup. Another famous photograph from Hunter's career was one of him in an inconsolable state being led off the pitch by Bobby Moore, whose place in the side he had taken.

Hunter had a new defensive partner for the next season with Leeds, with Gordon McQueen taking the No. 5 shirt made famous by Charlton. Leeds started the season with a 29-match unbeaten run, which led them to the title. Hunter was in the League for a fifth season and the departure of manager Revie to the England job meant that Hunter's own international career continued through to 1975, even though many expected him to be axed after his error against Poland.

Other clubs and managerial roles

Hunter played one more season with Leeds before leaving in the autumn of 1976 (at the same time as Bremner) and joining Bristol City. He played there for three years and was instrumental in helping them retain their first division status, before returning to Yorkshire as a player for, and then manager of Barnsley.

As manager of Barnsley, Hunter inherited a side which had won promotion from the Fourth Division under former Leeds teammate Allan Clarke and secured their promotion to the Second Division in 1981, with Hunter buying a few more players, such as Ray McHale and Stewart Barrowclough. The side finished in 6th place in 1981-82, finding themselves within sight of promotion at one stage and held Liverpool to a 0-0 draw at Anfield on 12 January 1982 in the League Cup. However, in the summer of 1982 the side broke up and Hunter brought in players that upset its rhythm. The team gradually declined, finishing mid-table in 1983, and on 8 February 1984, with Barnsley fighting relegation, Hunter was sacked. He was replaced by another former teammate, Bobby Collins.

While manager of Barnsley, Hunter was still registered as a player and played his final professional game in the 1982-83 season.

A week later, he assisted his former Leeds team-mate Johnny Giles at West Bromwich Albion until June 1985, when he managed Rotherham United. Although he guided them to the fourth round of the FA Cup in 1986, the league form was mediocre, with mid-table finishes. Hunter was sacked on 9 December 1987 after they were knocked out of the FA Cup by Macclesfield Town 4-0, three days previously. The team were 17th in the table at the time.

Shortly after, during a spell of "old boys network" appointments to the coaching staff at Leeds in the 1980s, Hunter became a first team coach (Clarke, Eddie Gray and Bremner all had spells as manager) and had three games as caretaker manager after Bremner's sacking in September 1988. Leeds lost all three of these games however, and Howard Wilkinson was instead appointed manager. He brought in his own coaching staff and dispensed with Hunter's services on 11 October 1988.

On 13 March 1989, Hunter was appointed Bradford City's first-team coach by former team-mate Terry Yorath, who was manager at the time, but he was sacked on 19 February 1990 when the team were fighting relegation. Hunter decided after this that he no longer wished to work within football, and spent some time selling sports goods and insurance.

Later life

Hunter turned to the after-dinner circuit recounting his anecdotes, and since 1993 has worked for local station BBC Radio Leeds and Yorkshire Radio as a summariser at Leeds games. In 1998, the Football League, as part of its centenary season celebrations, included Hunter on its list of 100 League Legends. Hunter released his autobiography, Biting Talk, in 2004. He married Sue on 11 June 1968. They had a son and daughter and two grandchildren.

Career statistics

[3]

Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
1962-63 Leeds United Second Division 36 2
1963-64 42 2
1964-65 First Division 41 2
1965-66 41 5
1966-67 40 0
1967-68 40 2
1968-69 42 0
1969-70 35 1
1970-71 42 1
1971-72 42 0
1972-73 32 1
1973-74 42 0
1974-75 25 1
1975-76 31 1
1976-77 9 0
1976-77 Bristol City First Division 31 0
1977-78 38 3
1978-79 39 1
1979-80 Barnsley Third Division 24 0
1980-81 6 0
1981-82 Second Division 0 0
1982-83 1 0
Total England 679 22
Career Total 679 22

Honours

England

Leeds United

References

External links

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