Bob Hazell

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Bob Hazell
Personal information
Full name Robert Joseph Hazell[1]
Date of birth (1959-07-14) 14 July 1959 (age 55)[1]
Place of birth Kingston, Jamaica[1]
Height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Playing position Defender
Youth career
Wolverhampton Wanderers
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1977–1979 Wolverhampton Wanderers 33 (1)
1979–1983 Queens Park Rangers 106 (8)
1983–1986 Leicester City 41 (2)
1985 Wolverhampton Wanderers (loan) 1 (0)
1986 Reading 4 (1)
1986–1989 Port Vale 81 (1)
Total 266 (13)
National team
1978 England U21 1 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Robert Joseph "Bob" Hazell (born 14 June 1959) is a former footballer who made 266 league appearances in a 12-year career in the Football League between 1977 and 1989. Despite being born in Kingston, Jamaica, he represented England at under-21 level. His nephew is the former Oldham Athletic defender Reuben Hazell, and his son Rohan is a non-League player.[2]

A big physical defender, he began his career at Wolverhampton Wanderers, featuring in the FA Youth Cup final in 1976. He moved on to Queens Park Rangers in 1979. He helped QPR to the Second Division title in 1982–83, and also played in the 1982 FA Cup Final. He moved on to Leicester City in 1983, and had a brief spell back on loan at Wolves in 1985, before he signed with Reading. He joined Port Vale in December 1986, and was a regular for the "Valiants" until a back injury forced his retirement in June 1989.

Club career[edit]

Hazell began his career at Wolverhampton Wanderers, and featured in the 1976 FA Youth Cup final, which ended in a 5–0 aggregate defeat to West Bromwich Albion. He turned professional at Molineux under Sammy Chung, and played 33 First Division games for Wolves in 1977–78 and 1978–79, before transferring to Queens Park Rangers for a £240,000 fee, who had just been relegated into the Second Division.

Rangers finished fifth in 1979–80 under the stewardship of Tommy Docherty, two places and four points behind promoted Birmingham City. Following this disappointment, Terry Venables was put in charge at Loftus Road. The "Hoops" then dropped to eighth position in 1980–81, before rising to fifth again in 1981–82, just two points behind promoted Norwich City. Hazell played for QPR in the 1982 FA Cup Final against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley, and provided the assist for Terry Fenwick to make the original tie a 1–1 draw. However a Glenn Hoddle penalty was enough to hand "Spurs" a 1–0 victory in the replay. Perhaps his most impressive performance though came in the semi-final against West Bromwich Albion, where he marked Cyrille Regis out of the game.[3] Promotion was finally achieved in 1982–83, as Rangers won the Second Division title by a ten-point margin.

Hazell transferred to First Division rivals Leicester City in September of the 1983–84 campaign. He helped Gordon Milne's "Foxes" to post a 15th place finish in 1984–85, but became plagued by injury problems. He had a brief loan spell at old club Wolves in 1985–86, but could do little to prevent Sammy Chapman's side from slipping into the Fourth Division. He left Filbert Street and moved on to Second Division side Reading for the 1986–87 season, but made just four league appearances for Ian Branfoot's "Royals", before leaving Elm Park.[4]

He joined Third Division side Port Vale in December 1986.[1] His signing proved to be another master-stroke by manager John Rudge, and along with defensive parter Phil Sproson, Hazell quickly shored up the "Valiants" defence before the end of season run-in.[1] He played 52 league and cup games in 1987–88, and gained some measure of revenge over Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup as he helped Vale to snatch a memorable 2–1 win. Hazell was a regular feature in the first eleven until he received a back injury in January 1989.[1] He made seventeen league appearances in Vale's 1988–89 promotion season, but injury meant he was unable to play in the play-off final victory over Bristol Rovers.[1] Unable to overcome a back injury, he was given a free transfer in June 1989, having made 100 club appearances in all competitions at Vale Park.[1]

International career[edit]

During his time at Wolves he represented the England under-21 and England 'B' teams.

Style of play[edit]

"Big Bob was your typical 'throw back' defender who took no prisoners and would kill to prevent a goal. On the ball he had much more skill and ability than he was given credit for, but it was his physicality that scared opposing forwards to death. This monster of a man had a particularly light, soft-spoken voice. But I never heard anyone take the mickey out of him!"

Robbie Earle writing in 2012.[5]

Post-retirement[edit]

After leaving the game, Hazell became a Sports Prevention Manager, working to help rehabilitate young offenders through sport.[3]

Honours[edit]

with Wolverhampton Wanderers
with Queens Park Rangers

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Kent, Jeff (1996). Port Vale Personalities. Witan Books. p. 132. ISBN 0-9529152-0-0. 
  2. ^ NonLeagueDaily.com
  3. ^ a b "Semi-final just a blur for Bob". Express & Star. 1 April 2008. Retrieved 10 June 2012. 
  4. ^ Brown, Neil. "BOB HAZELL". Retrieved 12 May 2009. 
  5. ^ Earle, Robbie (12 January 2012). "Here's my promotion-winning Vale team". The Sentinel. Retrieved 12 January 2012.