Back in the 1990s football was just starting to lose its hard man, no-holds-barred image of yesteryear. However, one tough-tackling and uncompromising player remained. He played for Huddersfield Town and his name was Darren Bullock.

Today many people admire Jonathan Hogg for his no-nonsense challenges and passionate, never-say-die mentality. However – back in the 90s – Bullock was Hogg’s original original.

Signing from Nuneaton Borough in 1993 it was the then Terriers manager Neil Warnock who saw Bullock’s talent. The rest, as they say, is history.

Having played over 125 times for Town up until 1997, Bullock had written himself into Huddersfield’s history books, winning promotion with the team in 1994-95 from the third tier to the second division of English football. 

That same passion for Town still burns in him today. The 52-year-old said: “Huddersfield means a great deal to me, not just the club but the whole town.

“That’s how passionate I am for it and its people. I’d bleed blue and white for it. It was a great honour for me to play for the club and its fans. Cut me open and I bleed blue and white. I’d happily put the shirt back on now and play for free. I love the club to bits. 

“After I left Huddersfield it just became a job for me being a footballer, it wasn’t the same and I became bored of it. I don’t follow any other of my clubs, I only follow what’s happening at Town.” 

Thinking back to the day Warnock scouted Bullock, he said: “I was born in Worcester and because I played in local teams at grassroots level it makes you appreciate the game more.

“It’s not about money, fancy cars and big houses. It’s about playing for a club in front of good, loyal hard working people and giving your all.

“I was a bit of an odd case and hot head back then. I would have probably made it a lot quicker at pro level if I wasn’t like that in my younger days. However I then got a family and knuckled down at Nuneaton. I was being scouted by a few people and luckily one of those was Neil Warnock. 

“I was playing away at the West Midlands police in Birmingham. Neil and the others came down, he walked around the ground and after 10 minutes they left. I thought I’d blown it, it was the worst 80 minutes of my life. Fortunately after 10 minutes he’d seen enough of me and wanted to sign me. 

“I signed for the club and went to watch them on the Saturday when they were playing Cambridge at home. On the way back to Worcester I had a number of phone calls from clubs trying to sign me.

“Clubs like West Brom and QPR wanted me. However Neil believed in me and signed me when all these other clubs were initially too worried to sign me. What they were going to offer was ten times what Town had offered but I gave Neil my word I’d sign and so I did.” 

With Bullock signed up and Warnock building a formidable squad, the team in 1993-94 made it to the League Trophy final. It was the first time Town had played at Wembley since 1938 where they played and lost the FA Cup final. Town did lose the League Trophy final to Swansea City, beaten 3-1 on penalties. Despite it being a disappointing end to Bullock’s first campaign at the Terriers the second season would be historic.

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Town were promoted in 1994-95 beating Bristol Rovers in the final. Bullock remembers that season well. He said: “We started the season well, we got up to about Christmas and we had a few injuries but somehow got through that and a difficult spell and made into the play-offs where we played Brentford.” 

The play-off games against Brentford would go down in history as one of the greatest times to watch the club. On that semi-final play-off game Bullock said: “In the first leg they battered us, but we got away with a 1-1 draw. I remember after the game they were singing and shouting like they’d already won it, forgetting there was a second leg. 

“When it came to the second leg we were all so focused in training. I thought we were really up for it. We got down to Brentford and I’ll never forget Neil coming in the dressing room before the game and saying he’d had a walk around the stands and somehow found out that they’d got lots of champagne in and T-shirts made ready to get after the game because they were that confident of winning. Well it was like a red rag to us as a team.”

It went down to a penalties and Bullock had his moment to write himself into Huddersfield Town’s history.

He said: “We didn’t think it’d go to pens but it did. Boothy looked like he was going to be sick when it did. We stepped up and I remember Franny (Steve Francis) saved one. He was one of the best keepers in the sport for me.

“I was pacing up and down when they were being taken, I made my mind up where I was going to put it as Steve saved their shot.

“I told myself I was just going to run up and smash it as hard as I could. Their keeper said to me afterwards if he’d have got a hand to it, it would have bust his hand as I hit it that hard.” 

Bullock’s penalty was scored and he and his teammates had made it to Wembley where Bristol Rovers were waiting.

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Bullock described the week leading up to the day and the day itself. He said: “The week leading up to it was great, it wasn’t a party atmosphere it was serious we didn’t want to go through 40 plus games to miss out on promotion by losing one. We trained like it was our first game of the season. Neil took us away to relax us too which was good man management.

“On the Friday I couldn’t sleep, and so Neil let me have a few beers to calm me down. That’s how he was, he knew how massive a game it was for me and how I was so excited but nervous. His man management was spot on. 

“I’ll be honest the adrenaline was so much I can’t remember the last 10 minutes of the game or the trip back to Huddersfield. It’s just a blur. I know my dad was behind the royal box seeing me lift the cup. It was fantastic my family and friends watching me, just what an unbelievable day, I was and still am so proud of everyone involved.” 

After the promotion season manager Neil Warnock left the club and was replaced with Brian Horton. Bullock played for the Terriers until 1997 eventually moving to Swindon for £400,000.

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The Huddersfield diehard fan is now ready to pull on the Town shirt one more time as he is taking part in the Match For Heroes 3 charity game at Golcar United in May. 

On playing in the match he said: “I wasn’t involved last time but I’m very excited about it. It’s a great cause and it’ll be great to meet up with some of the old faces. 

“It will be special for it to take place in Golcar and it will be special for me because when I first moved to Huddersfield I lived in Golcar. I lived there for about eight months before moving to Holmfirth. Golcar is a lovely place, the community is fantastic around there. 

“I haven’t played football for seven years and my knees are shot to bits. So even if I get five minutes on the park and walk about a bit that’ll be great for me.”