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NORMAN BULLOCK 1932-2003

Norman BullockThe club was sorry to hear of the recent death of Norman Bullock who made 187 league appearances and scored 41 goals for the club between 1952 and 1960. A predominantly left footed player Norman was an extremely versatile performer who played in a number of different positions from left back through to centre forward although most of his games were in the forward line. Everyone at Chester would like to pass on their condolences to his family and friends.

Norman was born in Nuneaton in 1932 and supported Aston Villa as a youngster. His boyhood ambition was to play professionally for his heroes and after leaving school at 14 he signed as an amateur for Villa. Norman continued to play amateur football for Coton Villa, as well as Nuneaton Borough in the Leicestershire Senior League, but in June 1949 he was selected to play for Aston Villa in a practice match, against Blackpool, at Redditch. Although the Villa youngsters were hammered by the experienced Seasiders Norman obviously did enough to impress the management and achieved Testimonial Programmehis ambition by signing professional forms at Villa Park in September 1949. Over the next three years Norman was restricted to Central League football and in 1952 he underwent his National Service at Oswestry. It was while he was in the army that Chester manager Frank Brown made an enquiry about him and although he had the option to stay at Villa he chose to make the move to Sealand Road.

Norman made his Chester debut in August 1952 against Bradford City in the same game as Dick Wright, Freddy Sutcliffe and Matt Costello and scored the second goal in a 2-0 victory. He finished the season as second highest goalscorer, behind Don Travis, but played most of the following seasons in the reserves. In the 1955/56 season he was a regular at outside left and continued in the same position the following year. On the opening day of the 1956/57 season he scored one of Chester’s goals in a 2-2 draw at Wrexham and was unlucky not to add a second when he thumped the crossbar with an unstoppable shot. In 1958, his service for the club was rewarded with a testimonial match against an All Star XI. The game, played at Sealand Road, featured footballing greats like Tommy Docherty, Johnny Hancocks and Joe Mercer.

At the start of the 1959/60 season Norman went part-time in preparation for a career outside the game and in October 1959 joined Rhyl. His debut for Rhyl came in the FA Cup 1st Round against Grimsby Town and he scored the consolation goal in a 2-1 defeat. The following season he moved along the coast to play for Bangor City and picked up a runners-up medal playing in the 1961 Welsh Cup Final against Swansea Town. In 1962 Norman joined Prestatyn in the Welsh League where he finished his playing days. When Norman became part-time he started work as a plumber and later became a self-employed house-builder.

When I spoke to Norman a few years ago he recalled his time playing for Chester in the 1950s. As he explained, money was particularly tight at Chester in those days and there were occasions when only the local players turned up for training because the club could not afford to pay expenses for players living out of the city. With financial problems off the pitch it was inevitable that the club would struggle on the playing side and between 1952 to 1958 Chester never finished higher than eigth from bottom in the Third Division North. Under these circumstances Norman said that it was particularly difficult playing as a forward because they always seemed to be chasing the game and spent most of the time helping out the defence! Norman was a stalwart in a struggling Chester team for eight seasons and I was left with the impression that he could have achieved more in a better side. Norman was modest about his own achievements but I’m sure he would have been delighted to have known how well he was remembered by Chester supporters.


Norman (8) in action aginst Millwall at Sealand Road in 1958
FOOTBALL LEAGUE RECORD
 
Sept 1949 – July 1952 Aston Villa 0 apps
July 1952 – Oct 1959 Chester 187 apps 41 goals
 
First Chester game – v Bradford City August 30th 1952
Last Chester game – v Bradford Park Avenue October 3rd 1959

Chas Sumner [Published 18/10/03]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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