Express & Star

How Wolves plunged to the lower leagues and nearly ceased to exist - Part 30: Out of darkness... and a certain Steve Bull

In more detail than ever before, the Express & Star tells the full Bhatti brothers story– a troubled era which saw Wolves plunge to the depths of the lower leagues and face financial oblivion. In Part 30, out of darkness cometh light – and a certain Steve Bull.

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Watching the FA Cup defeat to Chorley game from the stands were Wolves' two new signings, the players on whom Turner was pinning his hopes.

Four days earlier, the Wolves manager had rushed through the signings of Albion duo Steve Bull and Andy Thompson for a combined fee of £70,000.

It was a far cry from the days when Wolves smashed the British transfer record to pay £1.5 million for Andy Gray, but was nevertheless quite a large sum for a Fourth Division club, and represented quite a coup.

Of the two, Featherstone-born Thompson was the more established, the 19-year-old midfielder having played 20 games for Albion, who had just been relegated to the Second Division.

Bull, a 21-year-old forward from Tipton, had scored three goals in five games for Albion, but with Garth Crooks, Imre Varadi and George Reilly ahead of him in the pecking order, nailing down a regular first-team place was going to be a tall order.

Word was that Albion manager Ron Saunders did not feel Bull fitted in with his style of play, and he was looking to prune his squad following relegation.

"He didn't like the way I played, in fact that was the same for a number of us," Bull later said.

Steve Bull, left, and Andy Thompson, on the day they signed for Wolves

Bully had been plucked from West Midlands League outfit Tipton Town in 1984, whose manager Sid Day also worked as a scout for Albion.

He made his Albion first-team debut on October 23, 1985, when Nobby Stiles was in charge, coming on as a substitute for Crooks in a 2-1 Full Members Cup win against Crystal Palace. His league debut came the following April, coming on again as a sub in a First Division game against Queens Park Rangers.

Turner, who paid £50,000 for Bull and £20,000 for Thompson, had big plans for the pair.