Steve Bull was born in Tipton on the 28th March, 1965. He was to become the greatest goal scorer in the long and eventful history of Wolverhampton Wanderers. Steve first played football for his school teams, Ocker Hill infants and then Willingsworth High School, as well as for two local junior teams, Red Lion and Newey Goodman.
He joined Tipton Town after leaving school and his goal scoring exploits for them were noted by one of West Bromwich’s scouts and he signed professional forms for the Albion in August, 1985. In nine games for them he scored 3 goals before, on the 20th November, 1986, he came to Molineux along with Andy Thompson in a deal set up by Graham Turner.
Steve made his debut against Wrexham just 2 days later in a Wolves side that was struggling in the mid-table region of the 4th division and a crowd of just over 5,000 at Molineux saw them go down 3-0 in a dismal and depressing game. Worse was to come on the following Monday evening as the cup-tied Bull was forced to watch from the stand as Wolves suffered the worst humiliation in their history as they crashed out of the FA Cup to non-League Chorley.
He came straight back into the team and scored his first goal for Wolves in early December in a Freight Rover Trophy game at Cardiff. Then, 11 days later, he got his first League goal in a 1-0 away win at Hartlepool.
He got another 5 goals in 11 matches before the game at the beginning of February, 1987, against Stockport at Molineux, which many people saw as the turning point for the club.
Wolves were one down with less than 15 minutes to go when they suddenly clicked into gear and scored three, Steve Bull one of the goal getters. Wanderers then only lost three of the 22 games they played in the remainder of the season. They just missed out on promotion and then lost the play-off final to Aldershot. Bull scored 11 goals in those games giving him a total of 19 in his first season at Molineux. In the final league game he got his first hat trick for the club in a 4-1 Molineux victory over Hartlepool.
Steve had started to win many admirers amongst the Wolves support, but in season 1987/88 he was to become a hero. Wolves stormed to the Fourth Division Championship and also enjoyed a trip to Wembley where they beat Burnley to win the Sherpa Van Trophy. Bull scored 34 league goals, three in the FA Cup, three in the Littlewoods Cup and 12 in the Sherpa Van Trophy giving him an incredible total of 52.
He was the first player to score 50 league and cup goals in an English season since Peterborough’s Terry Bly almost 30 years earlier. The following season saw him score four hat tricks and two four goal hauls as Wolves swept to the Third Division title and came within a whisker of a Wembley return. This time he ended the term with 50 goals. The last time any player had scored 50 in two consecutive seasons was Middlesbrough’s George Camsell in the mid 1920’s.
His goal scoring exploits led to him being chosen to play for his country, firstly at Under 21 level, then, in May 1989, at full level when he came on a substitute at Hampden Park and smashed in a goal against the Scots to help silence the critics who had claimed that he could only score in the lower leagues. In April, 1990, he scored two against Czechoslovakia at Wembley to clinch a place on the plane to Italy for the World Cup Finals. In all he won 13 full caps, eight of them after coming on as substitute, and he scored four goals. He also made several appearances for the England B team.
In 1992, Bull broke the Wolves goal scoring record set by former Molineux idol, John Richards, when he netted his 195th goal for the club that he always remained loyal to after resisting the temptation to join clubs in the Premiership on several occasions. In February, 1998, he scored his 300th goal for Wolves, and six months later he notched his 18th hat-trick for the side in a game against Barnet.
But a knee injury failed to respond to surgery and he was forced to hang up his boots in the summer of 1999 at the age of 35. He returned to the field of play to make several appearances for Conference League Hereford United the following season before quitting again and concentrating on his work at Molineux in a PR capacity.
His loyalty to Wolves, his goal scoring exploits and charity work contributed to Bully, as he is still affectionately known by the fans, being awarded the MBE in the Millennium New Year’s honours list.
In 2003, the John Ireland Stand was renamed the Steve Bull Stand and in July 2006, Steve was made honorary Vice-President of Wolves. That month, the pre-season home friendly against Aston Villa was designated Bully’s 20th anniversary game and Steve made his final appearance in gold and black, playing the first five minutes of the match.
WOLVES PLAYING CAREER 1986-1999
League Appearances 461(13) Goals 250
FA Cup Appearances 18(2) Goals 7
League Cup Appearances 32(1) Goals 18
Other Appearances 34 Goals 31
TOTAL APPEARANCES 545(16)GOALS 306