On Thursday 17th December Steve Walsh and Steve Bull will be co-hosting a Q&A night at the Walkers Stadium…
They have obviously mellowed towards each other because there was a time when Walsh and Bull was our version of Ali and Frazier, Holyfield and Tyson, Eubanks and Benn… it certainly livened up a few Leicester/Wolves encounters in the late eighties and early nineties.
The first bout came one November evening at Filbert Street in 1989. In the middle of a hum-drum 0-0 draw Walsh tackled Wolves’ legendary centre-forward. It was hard but fair, but Bull didn’t seem to think so. He leapt to his feet, swung a fist into Walsh’s face and then flung himself backwards to the ground in a bizarre attempt to frame Walsh. The ref had no choice but to send Bull packing.
A grudge was born and then carefully nurtured with Bull protesting his innocence to the press in the face of overwhelming video evidence to the contrary.
In the return game at Molineux that season Bull was in scorching form and hit hat trick in a 5-0 victory. Walsh was given the run around that night and he didn’t look best pleased about it, though actual unarmed combat was avoided on this occasion. The next meeting at Molineux brought a 2-1 win for Wolves and there was plenty of needle between the two protagonists still bubbling below the surface. The Mercury carried a photo of the two squaring up with foreheads pressed together like rutting stags, and if looks could kill there would have been two funerals that day.
Over the next season the Walsh/Bull War seemed to have cooled down. City beat Wolves 3-0 and Bull received a bad knock in the groin to the delight of the Kop. Honour was satisfied. But then the peace was shattered on an August evening at Molineux at the beginning of the 1992-93 season. The opening shots were fired early in the game. Bull received a yellow card for a dreadful high challenge on Walsh, and then beat the City centre-half to the ball to score his 200th goal for Wolves. Neither of these incidents had given Walsh much cause to whistle a happy tune and his blank gaze and set jaw-line boded ill. The Central TV cameras were firmly fixed on the two players when Walsh picked his moment. They were running together, off the ball, jockeying for position, when Bull backed a little too close to his blue-shirted Nemisis. Walsh sharply dipped his head and brought it into contact with Bull’s cropped dome. It wasn’t exactly a Glasgow Kiss from the Duncan Ferguson School, but Bull saw a window of opportunity and reacted as though he had been the victim of a sniper on the South Bank roof. The ref immediately waved a red card in Walsh’s face.
Molineux was mostly building site at this time and the City legend had to pick his lonely way across the wasteland before he could reach the sanctuary of an early bath in the Portakabins. A 3-0 defeat for City and a three match ban for Walsh was the damage. That was the climax of the feud. Walsh missed most of the 1993-94 season due to injury, then City made it to the Premiership, Wolves didn’t and Bull’s star began to fade. Of course, at the time, each incident would be greeted by much tutting and condemnation from the football authorities and TV pundits. But the fans knew that it was pure theatre and Walsh v Bull on the bill put hundreds on the gate!
For details of the Walsh and Bull Q&A e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org