Ralph Hunt

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For other people named Ralph Hunt, see Ralph Hunt (disambiguation).
Ralph Hunt
Personal information
Full name Ralph Arthur Robert Hunt[1]
Date of birth (1933-08-14)14 August 1933
Place of birth Portsmouth, England[1]
Date of death 17 December 1964(1964-12-17) (aged 31)[1]
Place of death Grantham, England[1]
Playing position Forward
Youth career
Portsmouth
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1952–1953 Portsmouth 5 (0)
1953–1955 Bournemouth 33 (7)
1955–1958 Norwich City 124 (67)
1958–1959 Derby County 24 (10)
1959–1961 Grimsby Town 53 (39)
1961 Swindon Town 21 (13)
1961–1962 Port Vale 14 (6)
1962–1964 Newport County 83 (37)
1964 Chesterfield 17 (5)
Total 374[2] (184)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Ralph Arthur Robert Hunt (14 August 1933 – 17 December 1964) was an English footballer. A prolific forward, he scored 184 goals in 374 league games in a 14-year career in the Football League.

He began his career at Portsmouth, before moving on to Bournemouth in 1953. Two years later he transferred to Norwich City, and set a club record with 33 goals in a single season. He joined Derby County in 1958, before moving on to Grimsby Town the following year. He switched to Swindon Town in June 1961, before being sold to Port Vale for £3,500 in December 1961. He was sold on to Newport County for a £2,000 fee in July 1962. He joined Chesterfield in 1964, but was killed in a car crash in December 1964. Despite his record of close to a goal every two games in the lower divisions, he never won any major honours and was never promoted.

Playing career[edit]

Hunt began his career at his hometown club Portsmouth, where he only made five First Division appearances in the 1952–53 season. Manager Eddie Lever did not keep him on at Fratton Park, and Hunt moved on to Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic. Jack Bruton's "Cherries" finished 19th in the Third Division South in 1953–54 and then 17th in 1954–55.

He departed Dean Court and signed with league rivals Norwich City, who were then managed by Tom Parker. Hunt finished as the club's top-scorer in 1955–56 with 33 goals, which remains a club record. He hit 21 goals in 1956–57 to become top-scorer for a second successive season, though the Carrow Road club were forced to apply for re-election after finishing bottom of the division. The "Canaries" then improved under the stewardship of Archie Macaulay to post an eighth place finish in 1957–58, and so were placed in the Third Division the following season following the re-organization of the Football League. He was later inducted into the Norwich City Hall of Fame.

Hunt spent the 1957–58 season in the Second Division with Derby County, as Harry Storer led the "Rams" to a 16th place finish. Hunt then left the Baseball Ground to join league rivals Grimsby Town. The "Mariners" suffered relegation in 1958–59, finishing one point behind Rotherham United, who avoided the drop. Tim Ward replaced Allenby Chilton in charge at Blundell Park, but could only take the club up to fourth place in 1959–60, two places and seven points below the promotion places. Hunt finished as the club's top-scorer during the campaign with 33 goals. The club slipped to sixth in 1960–61, 12 points behind promoted Walsall.

He transferred to Third Division club Swindon Town in a swap deal with Fred Jones in June 1961.[3] He hit 15 goals in 25 league and cup games for Bert Head's "Robins" in 1961–62, but departed the County Ground half-way through the campaign.[3] He joined league rivals Port Vale in December 1961 after manager Norman Low paid out a £3,500 fee.[1] He turned up on a motorbike ten minutes before the kick-off on 16 December, before he got onto the pitch to make his Vale Park debut against Shrewsbury Town – he then preceded to score a hat-trick in what was a 4–1 victory for the "Valiants".[4] Despite bagging six goals in fourteen games he lost his place in March and was sold on to Billy Lucas's Newport County for a £2,000 fee in July 1962.[1]

He finished as the club's top scorer in 1962–63 with 32 goals. He bagged three hat-tricks: the first came in a 6–0 win over Barrow at Somerton Park on 17 September, the second came in a 5–1 win over Crewe Alexandra on 6 October, and the third came in a 6–2 win at Holywell in the Welsh Cup on 17 April. He hit 16 goals in 1963–64, including a hat-trick against Hereford United in the FA Cup First Round on 18 November. Despite his scoring exploits, the "Exiles" still could only finish 20th in the Fourth Division in 1962–63 and 15th in 1963–64.

He signed with Tony McShane's Chesterfield for the 1964–65 season. He scored five goals in 17 Fourth Division games at Saltergate. Hunt died in a car accident on 17 December 1964 at the age of 31.[1] The accident occurred on the return journey to watch cup opponents Peterborough United with teammates Peter Stringfellow (who was driving), Ron Powell and Doug Wragg.[3]

Hunt also guested for Gloucester City during his playing career.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Kent, Jeff (1996). Port Vale Personalities. Witan Books. p. 147. ISBN 0-9529152-0-0. 
  2. ^ Stats from Neil Brown stat site
  3. ^ a b c "profile". swindon-town-fc.co.uk. Retrieved 24 June 2012. 
  4. ^ Kent, Jeff (December 1991). Port Vale Tales: A Collection Of Stories, Anecdotes And Memories. Witan Books. p. 280. ISBN 0-9508981-6-3. 
  5. ^ Clark, Timothy R.D.; Kujawa, Rob (2009). The Complete Record of Gloucester City AFC 1883–2009. Gloucester: Tiger Timbo Publications. ISBN 978-0-9557425-1-4.