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Norman Hunter, Leeds United legend, dies of COVID-19 at 76

Norman Hunter, Leeds United legend, dies of COVID-19 at 76
April 17
17:06 2020
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Norman Hunter, former England’s centre-half, has died after contracting COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by coronavirus. He was 76.

The former Leeds United legend, who had 726 appearances for the Elland Road club side, passed away in the hospital after testing positive for the novel virus.

The demise of Hunter, who made 28 appearances for England between 1965 and 1974, was announced by Leeds in a statement on Friday.

“Leeds United are devastated to learn of the passing of club icon Norman Hunter at the age of 76,” the statement read.

“Norman was taken to hospital last week after being diagnosed with COVID-19 and despite continuing to battle and the best efforts of NHS staff, he sadly lost his fight earlier this morning.

“Born on Friday 29th October 1943 in Eighton Banks, County Durham, Hunter left school at the age of 15 to become an electrical fitter.

“Playing for Birtley Juniors, he was scouted by Leeds and following a trial game was offered a place on the club’s ground staff.

“Making his Leeds debut against Swansea Town at the age of 18 on Saturday 8th September 1962, he helped Don Revie’s side to a 2-0 victory and would go on to become one of the greatest centre-backs the game has ever seen.

“Hunter amassed a huge 726 appearances for Leeds United over a 14 year period, the club’s most successful to date, earning the infamous nickname ‘Bites Yer Legs’.

“Helping Leeds rise from the Second Division, Hunter was at the heart of the defence as the club became champions of England twice and Inter-Cities Fairs Cup winners twice, along with successes in the 1968 League Cup, 1969 Charity Shield and 1972 FA Cup.

“He won a total of 28 caps for England and was in the 1966 World Cup-winning squad, whilst was also the first winner of the PFA Players’ Player of the Year in 1974.

“Hunter left Leeds to join Bristol City in 1976, prior to a spell at Barnsley, who he later went on to manage along with Rotherham United.

“Norman remained part of the furniture at Elland Road throughout the years, being a regular speaker in the suite named in his honour, and was in attendance as recently as last month’s victory over Huddersfield Town.

“He leaves a huge hole in the Leeds United family, his legacy will never be forgotten and our thoughts are with Norman’s family and friends at this very difficult time.”

Hunter did not receive a medal for the Three Lions’ 1966 success as rules stipulated that only the 11 starting players received medals.

But he and the remaining members of the squad — including the likes of Jimmy Greaves — received theirs in a 2009 ceremony at 10 Downing Street.

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