When you look back at the players you watched as a youngster you always have a “rose” effect, what I mean by that is that they always shape the feelings you have because you’re so young.
They are like gods players who command so much respect from you that you cannot possibly be in anything but awe of them. They are the people you want to emulate, at a tender age who wouldn’t want to be a professional footballer?
Then you mature into young men and the players who you look up to are of a similar age, your perspective on them is more refined, gone has the notion you will ever be able to emulate them, (just ask my team mates when that 9th goal went past my right hand and into the empty net). You now admire, wish, hope that you still might have a game or two that you raise your performances above a 2 out of 10.
A player I would defiantly add to the list of players I wished I could have emulated was Tony Norman. Tony hold the record for the number of consecutive appearances, he managed 226!! Wow that’s some record! A welsh international Tony was a footballer’s goalkeeper, strong under the nigh cross, and a very good shot stopper.
So what stands out for this supporter whilst watching Tony Norman? Well I’m getting a little long in the tooth these days and Tony was a similar age. Standing 6ft 2 inches he commanded his box to great effect and was a rock.
Tony played for City in all 372 times and played in every division baring the Premier League for the Tigers. In a 2005 a poll of City fans placed Tony 6th on the all-time list of Hull City players, he was the highest ranked goalkeeper.
Tony gained 5 caps for Wales, he must have sat on the bench maybe four times that number, why because Wales had a goalkeeper called Neville Southall. To be so close to someone of Neville’s calibre shows just how good he was.
Tony performed majestically for Hull City he was a complete goalkeeper. It’s a shame that there are so few medals to win in professional football as he for sure deserves a bucket full. His Hull City collection amounted to a couple of promotion medals.
What you have to understand when you look at the career of Tony at Hull City is that for many years we had been a sleeping giant with very little investment. Playing on a shoestring, being owned by a succession of people who could not effectively put the required finances in to make the club the force we all want it to be.
Tony was sold to Sunderland in December 1988, because at this time the board had little stomach for the fight. Languishing at the wrong end of the then second division the only way seeming was down. ☹. The only bright spot was that at least Billy Whitehurst came home, and they paid a then club record fee for his services.
Tony went on to play in the top division with Sunderland and made 198 appearances for the North-East Club. He even managed a couple of Wembley appearances sadly on the losing sides.
To sum up Tony was a player of immense talent who is held in the hearts of all supporters who travelled the length and breadth of England supporting our club. He won far more games for us than most strikers do today. Tony Welsh born, but one of our own.