Object of the Week: Norman Hunter testimonial scarf Calendar
26 Aug 2021
What is the object and who was Norman Hunter?
This hand-knitted yellow, white and blue Leeds coloured scarf was created specifically to commemorate Norman (“Bites Yer Legs”) Hunter’s testimonial during the 1974/75 season, as can be read on it. Hunter made 726 appearances for Leeds United over 14 years, the majority of his senior career. He also spent his youth career at the club, as he joined at the age of 15, leaving behind his career as an electrical fitter. With Leeds he won the First Division twice, the FA Cup once, the League Cup once, and many other honours.
Norman was a part of the World Cup winning England squad of 1966, but didn’t play in any of the games. Hunter also received some individual honours in his career, such as the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award in 1973/74. After leaving Leeds he spent three years at Bristol City, then three years at Barnsley, before finishing his playing career.
Why “Bites Yer Legs”?
Whilst he did not actually “bite yer legs”, Hunter’s style of play was physical and tough, as well as skilful. The nickname originated from a banner that a Leeds fan made and held up at the 1968 League Cup final against Arsenal at Wembley, a banner which simply read “Norman Bites Yer Legs”. From that moment, the nickname stuck. Hunter said that he “didn’t think much” about the banner and living up to the name, and that he “never intentionally went out to hurt anyone”.
What happened at the testimonial?
The testimonial was played on the 5th May 1975 and was attended by 36,118 supporters. Norman Hunter played in his Leeds United side against a team put together by legendary Leeds manager Don Revie. Don Revie’s XI won 3-2 with their goals coming from Newcastle United’s Malcolm Macdonald and Manchester City’s Dennis Tueart. Leeds United’s two goals came from Billy Bremner.
Tell us more about what kind of a player Norman Hunter was
In Hunter’s testimonial programme (which only cost 20p!), Don Revie said that “Norman Hunter is one of the world’s top footballers.” He had a “personal magnetism and leadership”, was “the best sweeper that’s ever lived”, his “reading of games” and “ability to assess situations” set him out from the rest, was a “perfect tackler” and “a great passer too”.
What was Norman Hunter’s legacy?
In April 2020, Hunter sadly passed away, after which Leeds United announced that they would rename the South Stand at Elland Road after him. His greatness as a player and the success that he had with Leeds is more relevant than ever, with Leeds having been promoted to the Premier League and finishing at 9th in their first season back. Although Hunter did not get to see this promotion, his fighting “bite yer legs” spirit certainly lives on through this team.