How Norman Hunter became a true legend at Leeds United

Leeds United legend Norman Hunter has died aged 76. Here, we take a look back at his stunning career in our obituary.

Friday, 17th April 2020, 1:17 pm
Updated Friday, 17th April 2020, 2:38 pm

Norman Hunter, the former Leeds United defender and World Cup winner, has died at the age of 76.

The former Whites defender - who remained a club ambassador up until his passing - was admitted to hospital last week after being diagnosed with coronavirus.

Following a week-long battle, he sadly lost his fight on Friday morning and leaves behind a club devastated and a city in mourning.

Only three players in United's history have made more appearances for the Whites - Jack Charlton, Billy Bremner and Paul Reaney - as Hunter featured 726 times during a 14-year spell in West Yorkshire.

His stint with the Whites, which ran from 1962 to 1976, cemented his status as one of the club's greatest ever players as he became a true Leeds legend helping United reach new heights on the pitch under Don Revie's stewardship.

Hunter joined the Elland Road ranks as a 15-year-old and went on to become one of the most revered defenders plying the trade in the world.

Seen as a tough-tackling centre-back, he was handed the nickname 'Bite Yer Legs' by the United faithful for his uncompromising style of play.

Leeds United legend Norman Hunter. (Picture: Luke Holroyd)

Hunter was very much seen as the enforcer in a team filled with tough characters that helped to transform Leeds from a struggling Second Division outfit to European Cup challengers.

He played a key role in United's two First Division titles during his time at the club and helped claim Leeds' first and only FA Cup trophy in 1972, as Allan Clarke’s goal earned victory over Arsenal at Wembley.

Hunter also lifted the League Cup once, Inter-Cities Fairs Cup twice and was a member of the Whites side who were controversially beaten by Bayern Munich in the 1975 European Cup final in Paris.

Just one year earlier, in 1974, Hunter was recognised by his peers having been named the first ever winner of the Professional Football Association Player's Player of the Year award, which has since been handed to stars including Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Hunter was also a member of the England 1966 World Cup-winning squad, though he did not see any match action during the tournament.

He went on to earn 28 caps for his country before finally winning his battle in 2009 to earn a medal for his triumph under Sir Alf Ramsey, as FIFA lifted restrictions over honours for those who were named in the squads.

Following his departure from Leeds he went on to play for Bristol City and Barnsley, before managing the Tykes and Rotherham United after he hung up his boots.

Hunter was still an ambassador and matchday regular at Elland Road, where he would sit on the gantry for every home clash, and will be sorely missed by everyone connected to the club and city.