Why Leeds United and football has lost one of its finest sons in Norman Hunter - YEP comment

Norman Hunter was the embodiment of a city. He was the embodiment of a golden era.

Friday, 17th April 2020, 12:25 pm

Think of that Leeds United team he graced in the late 1960s into the 1970s, and he is one of the first names that comes to mind; fierce, dependable, committed, wonderful.

Think of the city of Leeds, hard-working and proud, and you have two more adjectives to describe Norman Hunter.

A city and the Leeds United community is in mourning for the loss of one of its finest souls.

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Norman Hunter kisses his medal, presented by Prime Minister Gordon Brown for representing his country in the 1966 World Cup. (Picture: PA)

All of football will feel this one.

Hunter was a league champion, an FA Cup winner, a winner of European silverware, a member of England’s World Cup winning squad and the inaugural winner of the PFA Player of the Year award.

Fair to say, he won it all.

And he did so with one of the best nicknames in all of sport: ‘Bites Yer Legs’, a moniker to send a shiver down the spine of opposing players and a current of excitement coursing through the veins of Leeds fans.

Former England and Leeds defender Norman Hunter had died ofncoronavirus (Picture: PA)

But he was never that one dimensional. ‘Bites Yer legs’ refers to his no-nonsense tackling, but he was equally graceful with the ball at his feet.

A cultured footballer, he thrilled Leeds United fans for 14 seasons before moving onto pastures new. He returned to Yorkshire to try his hand in management, with Barnsley, Rotherham United and Bradford City.

Every club he touched will be feeling this loss especially keenly.

But Leeds United was his club, his family, and he was their favourite patriarch.

Long after he retired, Elland Road continued to be his house, his place of worship.

Hunter was a regular at Leeds United games, working in broadcast, offering opinions, staying connected. Always there with a smile and a swish of his name for a small child, or even a grown man who had stood on the terraces and sung his name.

He was a gentle soul, despite his nickname. A kind man who had a good word for everybody.

Leeds and football has lost one of its finest sons.