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Leeds great Norman Hunter passes away

A combative central defender for Leeds and England in the 1960s and 1970s, Norman Hunter has died at the age of 76.

Norman Hunter pictured in 1969
Norman Hunter pictured in 1969 ©Getty Images

English football is today mourning the passing of the former Leeds United and England defender Norman Hunter. The 76-year-old died in hospital this morning after contracting coronavirus.

Hunter made 726 appearances for Leeds between 1962 and 1976, helping the Yorkshire club win English league titles in 1969 and 1974 – the latter season also bringing personal recognition with the Professional Footballers' Association's Player of the Year award.

A formidable centre-back, he collected the 1968 English League Cup and 1972 FA Cup with Don Revie's Leeds, and played in four European finals – winning the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1968 and 1971 but finishing on the losing side in the finals of the 1973 European Cup Winners' Cup (against AC Milan) and the 1975 European Cup (against Bayern München). For his country, Hunter earned 28 caps and was a member of England's victorious 1966 FIFA World Cup squad.

After ending his playing days with spells at Bristol City and Barnsley, Hunter managed first Barnsley and then Rotherham United. He remained a regular presence on matchdays at Elland Road where there was a suite named in his honour. A statement from his old club today said: "He leaves a huge hole in the Leeds United family, his legacy will never be forgotten and our thoughts are with Norman's family and friends at this very difficult time."