Steve Bull is remembered as nothing short of a hero by the supporters at Molineux. Stephen George Bull spent 13 seasons leading the line for Wolves, banging in a record 250 league goals and netting more than 300 times in all competitions for the club.
The Early Years
On the 28th March 1965, Steve Bull was born in Tipton. Initially, Steve played football for two local junior teams, Red Lion and Newey Goodman, and his school teams, Ocker Hill infants and Willingsworth High School.
Starting out as a teenager with local non-league club Tipton Town, Steve’s goalscoring exploits soon caught the eye of West Bromwich Albion, and he signed for the Baggies in August 1985.
Despite impressing in the club’s youth ranks, he failed to nail down a first-team place. He scored three goals for them in nine matches.
Manager Graham Turner set up a deal for him and Andy Thompson to move to the local rivals based at Molineux on the 20th of November, 1986.
He joined at a low point in Wolves’ history, with the team languishing in the old Fourth Division and the club seeing gates as low as 5,000.
Just 2 days later, Steve started for Wolves against Wrexham, and they lost 3-0 to a depressing Wrexham side at Molineux.
Wolves suffered the most humiliating defeat in their history the following Monday evening when non-League Chorley ousted them from the FA Cup. The new signing was cup-tied, and had no choice but to watch from the stands.
However, Steve Bull soon began to bed in, and he scored his first goal for the club in a cup game against Cardiff in December 1986. His first league goal soon followed this, netting the winner against Hartlepool.
From the beginning of February, Wolves began to turn their season around, with Bull’s goals central to their improving form. During the rest of the season, the Black County team only lost three out of 22 games.
Come the month of May, they narrowly missed out on automatic promotion and lost the play-off final to Aldershot, with ‘Bully’ finishing the season on 19 goals.
The revival continued the following season. They stormed to the Fourth Division Championship and won the Sherpa Van Trophy. He scored his first hat trick for the club when the club beat Hartlepool 4-1 at Molineux in the season’s final game.
His Hero Status
It was a momentous campaign for Steve Bull, and he achieved hero status among the Molineux faithful after netting the club’s goalscoring record in only his second season at the club.
Bull scored 34 goals in the league, three in the FA Cup, three in the Littlewoods Cup, and 12 in the Sherpa Van Trophy, giving him an incredible total of 52 in one season.
He followed this up with another stellar year in 1988/89, hitting four hat-tricks and two four-goal hauls on his way to an overall tally of 50, as Wolves secured back-to-back promotions as Third Division champions.
Middlesbrough’s George Camsell and Bull remain the only strikers to have netted 50 times in English league and cup football in successive seasons. George achieved his feat in the 1920s.
Despite playing in the third tier of English football, he was soon considered for the national side. On 27th May 1989, he made his England debut, coming on as a substitute at Hampden Park against Scotland.
He scored, silencing the many critics who claimed he couldn’t perform at such a high level. Steve Bull scored two goals against Czechoslovakia at Wembley.
Over the next eighteen months, Steve Bull went on to make a total of 13 appearances for England, scoring four goals. His fine club and international form earned him a place in Bobby Robson’s squad for Italia 90 World Cup where he was employed mainly as a substitute.
During the 1990 World Cup, he played four times. Once as a starter against Egypt and three appearances as a substitute against the Republic of Ireland, Netherlands, and Belgium
With Wolves, ‘Bully’ continued to bang in the goals with regularity throughout the early 1990s as the team sought promotion to the promised land of the top flight.
Steve Bull Exploits
In 1992, Steve Bull broke the Wolverhampton Wanderers goalscoring record, surpassing John Richard’s tally of 194. Unsurprisingly, his goalscoring exploits sparked great interest from several top-flight clubs, including Coventry City and Newcastle United.
He came close to signing for the Sky Blues in 1995 but pulled out at the 11th hour amid mounting pressure and public outcry from the Wolves supporters.
On the field, Wolves desperately chased promotion to the top flight from the Second Division but suffered playoffs finals heartache twice, in 1995 and 1997. This meant that Steve Bull would never grace the Premier League in the black and gold of his beloved Wolves.
On a personal level, Steven Bull found the back of the net for the 300th time for Wolves in February 1998, and six months later, he struck his 18th hat-trick for the team in a game against Barnet.
By the end of the decade, a series of knee injuries took their toll on the legend, limiting his involvement in the first team.
He soon announced his retirement at age 35, though a brief comeback as player-coach with Hereford United was to follow. He left managing to focus on Public Relations at Molineux as he is still affectionately known for his contribution to the club by the fans.
A black and gold god, Steve Bull was awarded an MBE for services to football in 1999 and had a stand at Molineux named in his honor in 2003. Wolves appointed Steve honorary vice-president in July 2006.
Steve Bull is regarded as a legend at Wolves. Even die-hard fans of other clubs would spend their hard-earned money to come and watch him play. All he wanted to do was to play football and score goals. He certainly achieved that.
Steve Bull Statistics
Full Name: Stephen George Bull
Birthdate: 28th March 1965
Birthplace: Tipton, Staffordshire
- Tipton Town 1984–1985
- West Bromwich Albion 1985–1986
- Wolverhampton Wanderers 1986–1999
- Hereford United 2000–2001
Total: 504 appearances, 327 goals
- England (13 appearances, 4 goals)
- 1987–88 Fourth Division Champions
- 1988–89 Third Division Champions
- 1988 Football League Trophy
- 1999: MBE for services to football
- 2018: Freeman of the City of Wolverhampton
Interesting Facts About Steve Bull
- Only five players outside the top two tiers have been capped by England since the Second World War.
- He is the cousin of former West Bromwich City and Barnet footballer Gary Bull.
- Wolves Steve Bull made 5 England U21 appearances and scored 3 goals. He made 5 England B international appearances and scored two goals.
- While playing for Wolverhampton Wanderers, Steve Bull scored 13 times against Bristol City and Port Vale opponents. Next was Notts County with 11 goals and Leicester City with 10.
- His first four-goal game happened on 26th November 1988 versus Preston North End.
- Steve Bull’s best goal-scoring season was 1987-88 when he scored 52 goals. That was 34 goals in the league, 3 FA Cup goals, 3 League Cup goals, and 12 Sherpa Van Trophy goals.
- The 1988-90 season was his best goal-scoring season in the league. He finished with 37 goals.
- Having always said he wanted a crack at management. Steve took over the reins at non-league Stafford Rangers mid-way through the 2007/08 season.
- In 2003, the John Ireland Stand was renamed the Steve Bull Stand.
- The feat of scoring at least 50 goals in two successive seasons remain unique in English football.