‘I hope Leeds United win promotion for Norman’ – Eddie Gray pays tribute to Norman Hunter

Eddie Gray says he hopes Leeds United can get back to the Premier League this season as a tribute to his friend and team-mate Norman Hunter, who died yesterday.

By Stuart Rayner
Saturday, 18th April 2020, 11:15 am

The legendary defender grew up a Newcastle United fan but once he made his Leeds debut in 1962 he became a dyed-in-the-wool supporter.

In paying tribute to a man Gray called “as important as anybody in Leeds United’s history”, he and Trevor Cherry talked about how Hunter’s passion for the club never left him.

“His biggest ambition towards the end of his life was to see the club back in the Premier League,” former winger Gray said.

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Norman Hunter. Picture: PA.

“Football’s on the backburner at the moment for obvious reasons but when it resumes – and it will – I hope Leeds United win promotion for Norman.

“Norman loved the club. Until he went into hospital he was still at the games, still doing his bits for the football club.

“He was always passionate about Leeds United, kicking every ball.

“Norman was as important as anybody in Leeds United’s history and I mean anybody. There have been some great players come through the door and Norman was up there with all of them.”

TRIBUTE: Eddie Gray. Picture: Tony Johnson.

Cherry, who Don Revie signed from his hometown club Huddersfield Town in 1972 to be groomed as Hunter’s long-term replacement, said: “I have seen quite a few Leeds games this season and I saw him at the Huddersfield game. It is very sad that he will not see them back in the Premier League.

“He loved Leeds United – simple as that”

When football went on hold for the coronavirus, the Whites were top of the Championship with nine games left, on course to return to the Premier League after 16 years away.

By the time Gray made his debut, on New Year’s Day 1966, Hunter was an England international, reliable on and off the field.

Norman Hunter and Trevor Cherry. Picture: YPN.

“He was a bit older than me but he was the same with everybody all the way through his career,” Gray said.

“On the pitch too, Norman was Mr Consistency. Every time he played, you knew what you were going to get – he was always a nine out of ten.”

A tribute to Norman Hunter at Elland Road yesterday. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.