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Steve Bull
Personal information
Full name Stephen George Bull
Date of birth 28 March 1965 (1965-03-28) (age 44)
Place of birth    Tipton, England
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Playing position Striker (retired)
Youth career
1981–1984
1984–1985
Tipton Town
West Bromwich Albion
Senior career1
Years Club App (Gls)*
1985–1986
1986–1999
2000–2001
2004
West Bromwich Albion
Wolverhampton Wanderers
Hereford United
Pelsall Villa
Total
004 00(2)
474 (250)
006 00(2)

484 (254)   
National team
1989
1989–1991
1989–1990
England U21
England B
England
005 00(3)
005 00(2)
013 00(4)
Teams managed
2000–2001
2008
Hereford United (coach)
Stafford Rangers

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

Stephen George "Steve" Bull, MBE, (born 28 March 1965 in Tipton, Staffordshire) is an English former footballer who is best remembered for his 13-year spell at Wolverhampton Wanderers. He played there from 1986 until his retirement from playing in 1999, and holds the club's goalscoring record with more than 300 goals in all competitions.

He was capped 13 times for the England team between 1989 and 1991, scoring four goals.

Contents

Playing career

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Early years

Bull was born on Tipton's Moat Farm estate and started school in September 1969 at Wednesbury Oak Primary School and moved up to Willingsworth High School in September 1976, by which time he was excelling in school football teams. The junior teams he played for included Ocker Hill infants, Red Lion and Newey Goodman. He left school in 1981 to join non-league Tipton Town. During this time he also held down a succession of factory jobs in addition to playing local league games.

He began his professional career, aged 19, after being recommended to West Bromwich Albion in 1984 by his Tipton Town manager Sid Day, who also worked as a scout for the Baggies. After initially having to train with the club's youth ranks, he was quickly offered a pro contract and moved into first team contention. He made his senior debut on 23 October 1985, replacing Garth Crooks in a 2–1 Full Members Cup win against Crystal Palace.[1][2] He made his league debut as a substitute against QPR on 12 April 1986; it was his only league appearance that season.[3] He played three Second Division games for Albion after they were relegated in 1986, scoring twice, and also scored one goal in two League Cup appearances for the club.[4] In November 1986, he was sold to local rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers, along with Andy Thompson, for £65,000 where he remained until the end of his professional career in 1999.

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Over 13 years at Wolves, Bull broke no less than four of the club's goalscoring records. He became their all-time leading goalscorer with 306 goals in competitive games (250 of them in the Football League, also a club record) and became their highest goalscorer in a single season when he scored 52 goals in competitive games during the 1987–88 season. He also scored a club record of 18 hat-tricks. His debut for Wolves, then languishing in the (old) Division Four, was against Wrexham on 22 November 1986. He went on to make 464 league appearances for the club, 561 appearances in total.

He is regarded as such a legend at the club that one of the main stands at their home ground, Molineux, is named after him. This commemoration was made in June 2003, with the stand having previously being known as the John Ireland Stand.

Bull scored 52 goals in all competitions during the 1987-88 season as Wolves won the Fourth Division championship and became the first of only three teams (later matched by Burnley and Preston North End) to have been champions of all four divisions in the English league. The following season he inspired Wolves to a second successive promotion, this time as Third Division champions, with 50 goals — marking a tally of 102 goals in two seasons. While still playing in the Third Division, he was selected for the England team and scored on his debut against Scotland at Hampden Park.

Bull continued to perform well in the second tier of the English league, and stayed loyal to his Midlands roots despite interest from the likes of Aston Villa, Coventry City, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Ajax, PSG, Internazionale, Manchester United, Liverpool, Rangers, Lazio, Boca Juniors, Newcastle United and even Italian giants Juventus and Genoa, who reportedly had a £3.5m bid turned down prior to the 1990 World Cup.

Bull played only one game in the English top flight — coming on as a substitute, replacing Andy Thompson, for West Bromwich Albion in 1986 — the rest of his career was spent in the lower divisions. He came close to achieving his ambition of reaching the Premier League in 1995 and 1997, but Wolves lost in the play-offs both times.

During his final two seasons at Molineux, his chances of first-team football were reduced by a series of knee injuries. In July 1999, the 34-year-old Bull finally gave in and announced his retirement. However, he soon returned to playing as player-coach of Hereford United for a season in the Conference, working with Graham Turner, the manager who had signed him for Wolves.

Known by his fans as 'Bully' for his club loyalty, rapport with supporters and passion for the game and also known as the "Tipton Skin" for his trademark closely cropped haircut, he received an MBE for services to Association Football in December 1999, shortly after retiring as a first class player.

In May 2003, Bull appeared in a testimonial game for West Brom's Bob Taylor at The Hawthorns. He amused many of the Albion fans in attendance by dramatically falling to the ground when the chant went up, "Stand up if you hate the Wolves".

On 29 July 2006, Bull made one final appearance for Wolves in his 20th anniversary testimonial game against Aston Villa at Molineux, playing the first seven minutes of the match.

Steve bull scored 306 Goals for Wolves

International career

Bull was capped 13 times by England, and scored 4 goals in the build up to Italia 90, including on his full debut against Scotland on 27 May 1989. He went on to score two more goals in a friendly against Czechoslovakia in 1989–90, one of which was voted in as number 37 of England's 50 Greatest Goals. His final England goal came against Tunisia, which earned him a place in Bobby Robson's World Cup squad.

Despite starting his international career well, he did not score another goal for England after this. He played four times during Italia 90 - three times as a substitute against Republic of Ireland, Holland and Belgium and once as a starter against Egypt. His final match for England was on 17 October 1990 against Poland, but was not picked again by his future Wolves manager, Graham Taylor.

In total he scored nine goals in 23 appearances for his country at full, U-21 and "B" team levels.

Management career

On February 21, 2008, Bull entered management with Conference National side Stafford Rangers. He had previously worked as a coach at this level with Hereford United in the 2000–01 season and had completed his UEFA Pro B coaching license in the years in between. The team were mired in the relegation zone at the time of his appointment and he was unable to prevent relegation.

However, he parted company with the club on 12 December 2008 as the club ran into financial difficulties.[5]

Personal life

Bull's cousin, Gary, was also a professional footballer. Steve Bull currently lives in Wolverhampton where he undertakes considerable work for charity.

Honours

Career statistics

Club Season League FA Cup League Cup Other[6] Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
West Bromwich Albion 1985–86 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 3 0
1986–87 3 2 0 0 2 1 1 0 6 3
Total 4 2 0 0 2 1 3 0 9 3
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1986–87 30 15 0 0 0 0 7 4 37 19
1987–88 44 34 2 3 4 3 8 12 58 52
1988–89 45 37 1 0 2 2 7 11 55 50
1989–90 42 24 1 1 4 2 1 0 48 27
1990–91 43 26 1 0 2 0 2 1 48 27
1991–92 43 20 1 0 2 3 1 0 47 23
1992–93 36 16 2 1 2 1 2 1 42 19
1993–94 27 14 2 0 0 0 1 1 30 15
1994–95 31 16 2 0 3 2 3 1 39 19
1995–96 44 15 4 2 5 0 0 0 53 17
1996–97 43 23 1 0 2 0 2 0 48 23
1997–98 31 7 3 0 5 2 0 0 39 9
1998–99 15 3 0 0 2 3 0 0 17 6
Total 474 250 20 7 33 18 34 31 561 306
Hereford United 2000–01 6 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 7 2
Career total 484 254 20 7 35 19 38 31 577 311

References

  1. ^ Matthews, Tony (2005). The Who's Who of West Bromwich Albion. Breedon Books. p. 40. ISBN 1-85983-474-4.  
  2. ^ Matthews, Tony (2007). West Bromwich Albion: The Complete Record. Breedon Books. p. 395. ISBN 978-1-85983-565-4.  
  3. ^ Matthews, Tony (2007). West Bromwich Albion: The Complete Record. Breedon Books. pp. 348–349. ISBN 978-1-85983-565-4.  
  4. ^ Matthews, Tony (2007). West Bromwich Albion: The Complete Record. Breedon Books. pp. 350–351. ISBN 978-1-85983-565-4.  
  5. ^ "Bully out as Stafford Rangers boss". Express & Star. 2008-12-12. http://www.expressandstar.com/2008/12/12/bully-out-as-stafford-rangers-boss/.  
  6. ^ Includes other competitive competitions, including the Football League play-offs, Football League Trophy, Full Members Cup, Anglo-Italian Cup, FA Trophy

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