Today will probably go down as one of the saddest days in our club’s history. We’ve lost Billy and Don previously, now because of this hideous virus Norman(Bites your legs)Hunter passed away today.
The news came mid morning as I, for something to do I laid out shirts on my bed to take a photograph of them. Opening the box they are kept in I saw the shirt Norman signed a few years ago. It had pride of place, a little yellow from storage but his signature still stood out.
On hearing the news I’ll openly admit the tears fell for one of our own. I’d met the great fella more than a few times and occasionally had a word about how the team were playing and how he thought they’ed do that afternoon or evening. Each time I met him he stuck out his hand, shook it with warmth and asked how I was.
Norman was a legend, his prowess in the heart of the defence in one of the best teams in the 70’s shone out. He stood with Jack Charlton as mighty pillars determined by any means as to keep the opposition from scoring. Dirty never, but had the ability to slightly ‘bend the rules’ to his advantage when it was needed.
I saw him from 1973/74 season when I started going to Leeds, throughout the heartbreaking European Cup campaign and until he left the club. He may have moved away from Elland Road but his heart remained within the stadium. His retirement meant he could give his views of his beloved club via the media and the great man never disappointed with his honest comments.
The enigmatic centre back had a career that spanned 18 years and for the most part of it was spent in Yorkshire with spells at Leeds United, Barnsley and a stint at Bristol City.
Hunter made over 726 appearances for Leeds United in what continues to be the most successful period of the clubs history winning the first division twice and the second division once along with both an FA Cup and League Cup.
Winning club player on the year for the in 1971, Hunter also went on to win the PFA Player of the Year in 1974.
A list of Norman Hunters honours are below;
882 League appearances, 25 goals
World Cup Winner
Football League First Division: ‘69 and ‘74
Football League Second Division: ‘64
FA Cup Winner: ‘72
League Cup Winner: ‘68
Charity Shield Winner: ‘69
Inter-Cities Fairs Cup Winner: ‘68 and ‘71
PFA Player of the Year: ‘74
PFA Team of the Year: ‘74
Football League Legends: ‘98
Leeds United Player of the Year: ‘71
My tribute is short but is sincere. I say this loud and proud I was so grateful for every moment I was blessed to spend with such a wonderful man and a great footballer.
God Bless you Norman. Sleep well my friend and rest easy.
By Keith Ingham