Norman Hunter (1943 – 2020)
Former Leeds United legend Norman Hunter has sadly died in hospital today at the age of seventy-six after being admitted to hospital on 10th April 2020 after testing positive for coronavirus. The tough-tackling defender earned himself the nickname of “Bite Yer Legs” whilst playing in Leeds United’s most successful era.
Hunter, joined Leeds United at the age of fifteen and went on to make 726 appearances matches in all competitions, the fourth-highest individual total in the history of the club. As an integral part of Don Revie’s famous side, he won the First Division title in 1969 and 1974, whilst helping them beat Arsenal in the 1968 League Cup Final and then returned to Wembley in 1972 as Leeds defeated the Gunners to win the FA Cup.
He also played in the 1975 European Cup final defeat by Bayern Munich in Paris, a year after Don Revie left to manage England. Howver he did taste European success as Leeds United won the now-defunct Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1968 and 1971. He won two league titles during a 14 year first-team career at Elland Road and was a non-playing member of England’s 1966 World Cup-winning squad.
Speaking in 2013, when he announced he was selling his Leeds memorabilia at auction, Hunter said, “Someone asked me if I was selling my shirt from that game against Bayern but I honestly don’t know where it is,” he added, “Medals don’t mean much to me. For me it was about being at Leeds United and playing with that group of players, It was magic.”
After leaving Leeds in 1976, Hunter also played for Bristol City and Barnsley, managing the Tykes and Rotherham after he retired from playing. He remained a massive part of the furniture at Elland Road throughout the years, being a regular speaker in the suite named in his honour and attendance as recently as last month’s victory over Huddersfield Town.
Leeds United Football Club said, “Everyone at Leeds United are devastated to learn of the passing of club icon Norman Hunter, his passing leaves a huge hole in the Leed United family and his legacy will never be forgotten.”
England World Cup winner Sir Geoff Hurst: “Enormously shocked and saddened to hear the awful news about my friend Norman Hunter, he will be very sadly missed. My heartfelt thoughts are with his wife, Sue, his family and the England and Leeds United fans, a huge part of the 1966-70 England squad back in the day.”
Former England captain Gary Lineker: Grew up watching that great Leeds United side of which Norman Hunter was a huge part. This awful virus was one crunching tackle too far but he’ll be biting yer legs somewhere. RIP.
Former England goalkeeper Peter Shilton: “Norman always had a laugh. He was very professional, a hard worker and someone who was good to have around in the squad. He was somebody you never liked playing against because he did let players know he was around. He was a great player. He had a lot more than just being a tough man.”
Former Leeds defender Danny Mills: “He loved Leeds like nothing else. It’s incredibly sad that he won’t get to see Leeds promoted back to the Premier League. His knowledge of football was immense. He could be critical of the players and the team but he did it in a charming way. He could be critical but never offended anybody.”