As Steve Bull celebrates his 50th birthday, columnist Graham Large has dug into the archives to pick out one of Bully’s finest performances in a Wolves shirt.
When I first set foot inside Molineux on my sixth birthday back in November 1990, there was only one player I wanted to see. Stephen George Bull.
Some of my earliest childhood memories include listening to Radio WM on a Saturday afternoon waiting to hear the infamous goal klaxon go off. If it was for a Wolves goal, I would be elated. But if it wasn’t scored by Bully, I would be disappointed.
In my early years, my father would frequently attend Wolves matches. When he returned home from the match, I would ask him the same two questions – 1) Did Wolves win? and 2) Did Bully score?
I didn’t need to know anything else.
I became a season-ticket holder at Molineux in 1993, and although he never repeated his lower league heroics where he scored 102 goals in two seasons, Bully was still an integral part of the Wolves team – not to mention still bagging a fair few goals! He was in the team when I went to my first game, and was a constant in that team for the next eight years.
In January 1999, rumours of retirement were rife, but Bully carried on playing until the end of the season when his knee finally gave way.
Bully spent 13 years at Wolves scoring 306 goals, including 18 hat-tricks, in 561 appearances.
A record which has truly cemented his status as a club legend.
I was asked to delve into the archives and take a look back at a famous game from Bully’s career. For me, the choice was simple; New Year’s Day 1990, where Bull struck four times as Wolves defeated Newcastle 4–1 at St James Park.
The game did not start well for Wolves. Newcastle were awarded a penalty in the seventh minute when Floyd Streete brought down future Wolves manager Mark McGhee. However, Mark Kendall was able to save Micky Quinn’s subsequent spot kick.
Wolves were lucky to go into half-time on equal terms, with Kendall making another superb save to turn away Liam O’Brien’s bullet header shortly before the break. But the tide was about to turn.
The opening goal arrived five minutes after the restart when Bull lashed in from close range following a mistake from Bjorn Kirstensen and a low cross from Paul Cook.
John Paskin almost immediately made it two only for former Wolves goalkeeper John Burridge to make a flying save from his driven shot. But a second goal wasn’t far away, Bull collected Keith Downing’s precise through ball and slotted the ball past the advancing Burridge.
The striker then completed his hat-trick with a far-post header from a Robbie Dennison corner. Cue the trademark aeroplane celebration that Bull used whenever he netted a treble – quite ironic considering that many Wolves fans had made the journey to Newcastle by plane!
And Bull wasn’t finished yet. His fourth was almost identical to his second although this time it was Dennison who threaded the ball through to Bull and he again took the ball past Burridge and slotted home from six yards.
An impressive performance, indeed. But what’s even more impressive is that Bull didn’t exactly have the ideal preparation for the game – those of you who’ve seen one of Steve’s many after dinner speeches will know why!
Happy birthday Bully.
Graham is the editor of Wolves retro magazine Old Gold Glory. Issue 3 of the magazine features an exclusive interview with Bully where he talks about his early years at Wolves. You can also follow the magazine on Twitter @OldGoldGlory.