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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 February 2008, 14:07 GMT
Bull ready for Stafford challenge
By Pete Oliver

Steve Bull
Steve Bull ponders the prospect of management
Former England striker Steve Bull has no qualms about launching his managerial career in the modest surroundings of Stafford Rangers.

Life with the Blue Square Premier strugglers will be a far cry from Bull's prolific days with Wolves.

It was his sheer weight of goals in the lower divisions which propelled him to the 1990 World Cup finals.

But the Molineux legend is prepared to do it the hard way after finally taking the plunge into management.

Stafford are second bottom in the table, 10 points adrift of safety. But there are still 16 games left, with 48 points to play for, and Bull is going into it with his eyes open.

"You can't just jump into a massive job and know about everything about the money and transfers and all the things involved," Bull told BBC Sport. "There's a lot to learn.

"It's a challenge and it will be hard to get them out of it. But that's what I like.

"If there's a challenge or a goal in front of me I want to get over it. I am a winner and always have been."

Steve Bull
Steve Bull celebrates one of his 306 goals for Wolves
Bull will need all of the qualities that saw him score a record 306 goals for Wolves in a golden 13-year spell if he is to revive Stafford this season.

The part-timers have won just three league games all season. But, typically, a man who won the first of his 13 international caps having just helped Wolves win promotion from the third tier of English football will not run up the white flag.

"Until it's mathematically impossible, we have got a chance of staying up," he insists. "And that's what I've said to the players.

"I have told the players they are playing for the club and for contracts."

Already Bull's impact has been felt. With the 42-year-old poised to take over, Stafford were inspired to their best result of the season as they won 2-1 at high-riding Forest Green Rovers.

Then when Bull got his first hands-on experience at Halifax last Saturday, Rangers picked up another point from a 0-0 draw.

"I was going to watch the first two games against Halifax and Histon from behind the dug-out but I couldn't let it happen. I had to get involved," he said.

Since a knee injury ended his Wolves career on their summer tour in 1999, Bull has continued to work for the Midlands club, where he is a vice-president, in a public relations capacity.

He was made an MBE for his services to football shortly after his retirement, he also runs his own events company and is the patron of a Wolverhampton-based children's charity.

But he has also found time to gain coaching qualifications and got the taste of life in a management team when he worked for a short time (even briefly lacing up his boots again) under former Wolves boss Graham Turner at Hereford United.

Steve Bull, born Tipton (March 1965)
WBA (Aug 1985-Nov 1986): 5 (4) games, 3 goals
Wolves (Nov 1986-July 1999): 545 (17) games, 306 goals
Hereford (Jan-May 2001): (7) games, 2 goals
It was Turner who took Bull from West Bromwich Albion to his beloved Molineux, where one of the stands is named in his honour and where the pair spearheaded two promotion successes to lift Wolves from the bottom division to Championship level.

At Hereford, Bull played a few games, scored a couple of goals and helped out on the coaching side and, wisely, still sees the vastly experienced Turner as a mentor.

"I have learned a lot from him over the years and I'm going to meet up with him soon. Hopefully he'll let me have a few players for nothing!

"I'll be calling in a few favours from managers and players that I know who have gone into management."

Despite his successful post-playing career Bull had missed the banter and camaraderie of the dressing room.

And after letting it be known on a television show a couple of weeks ago that he was ready for management, Stafford without a permanent boss since parting company with Bull's former Wolves team-mate Phil Robinson in December - wasted no time in making their highest profile appointment.

"They are a local side, just 20 minutes away from me," said Bull, who was also given a persuasive nudge by his wife.

"She said if I wanted to be a manager I should get off my backside and go and do it.

"I have spent most of my time round here and I just wanted to give it a go."

Stafford hope that the presence, drive and ambition of Bull will help revitalise a club that has struggled to compete with the full-time, better-resourced clubs in the Blue Square Premier since gaining promotion in 2006.

I have said to Stafford that I will always give it a go and if it doesn't work I will hold my hands up and walk away

Steve Bull

The initial signs on and off the field are that he wil.

The club's official website has received a record number of visits following news of his appointment and a big crowd is anticipated for Saturday's crucial relegation clash at home to Farsley Celtic - his first official game in charge.

And, even if relegation cannot be avoided, Bull hopes he can bring a brighter future to Marston Road before even thinking about going further in his new career.

"I have said to Stafford that I will always give it a go and if it doesn't work I will hold my hands up and walk away.

"But I can't think about anything further. I am fully committed to Stafford," said Bull, who will sign a contract until June 2009 at the club on Wednesday night.

"Hopefully, in two or three years, we will have a new ground and a club to be proud of. I will give everything to take Stafford as far as I can."



SEE ALSO
Bull appointed as Stafford boss
21 Feb 08 |  Stafford Rangers
Caretakers offer support to Bull
18 Feb 08 |  Stafford Rangers
Bull confirms Stafford job talks
15 Feb 08 |  Stafford Rangers
Bull handed fresh Wolves honour
27 Jul 06 |  Wolverhampton Wanderers
Bull targets Wolves manager's job
11 Mar 05 |  Wolverhampton Wanderers
Bull interested in Harriers role
11 Nov 04 |  Kidderminster Harriers
Wolves' cult heroes
17 Aug 04 |  Football Focus
Bull joy at Hereford opener
19 Feb 01 |  Hereford United


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