Dunston UTS FC Legends Interview
In this interview we talk to the clubs all time leading scorer Andrew "Bully" Bulford.
Pictured above - Dunston UTS FC's all-time leading goal scorer Andrew "Bully" Bulford.
Regarded by many Dunston UTS FC Supporters as one of the greatest forwards in the club’s history, we speak to all-time leading goal-scorer Andrew “Bully” Bulford.
Having signed from Ryton at the start of the 2008/09 season, Bully would go on to score a total of 221 goals during his 7 seasons at The UTS Stadium, 139 of which coming in The Northern League, he finished as the Club’s top scorer in 6 of his 7 seasons and will be forever etched into the memories of those who witnessed Dunston’s famous Wembley win in The FA Vase Final against West Auckland Town, scoring both goals in his side’s historic victory.
(Pictured above) Bully lifting the FA Vase at Wembley.
Your time at Dunston will be best remembered for The FA Vase win in 2012. Looking back on it now, what was it like to be part of that team?
Looking back you miss it massively. It’s like most things in life you don’t realise how much you miss it until it’s gone. A lot of people don’t understand the relationships and bonds the lads had and still have to this day. The mix of old, young and those who had something special was perfect and that’s thanks to Billy and Harra. Even if we didn’t win The FA Vase, the bond would still be the same.
During that season you scored in every game of every round in The FA Vase and then capped it off with two goals in the final at Wembley. Would you class that as the best season you had in your career?
As far as personal achievements go then yes, but in all honesty I think I had a better season the year before. I was runner up for the Northern League player of the year. Whitley Bay had won their 3rd FA Vase after beating us in the quarter final and Paul Chow was awarded Northern League player of the year, which I believe I would have won if not for that, but understandably Chowy was awarded it. After a 46 goal season, a goal scoring record in the Vase as well as winning the vase and man of the match at Wembley. I thought I would achieve my goal of Northern League player of the year but unfortunately the club never nominated me. Swaz was nominated and I suppose if I wasn’t to win it I would have wanted a team mate to.
Pictured above - Bully wheels away celebrating one of his goals during the greatest day in Dunston UTS FC's history.
You scored over 200 goals for Dunston UTS FC during your time at the club and are the leading goal scorer of all time. How long do you see that record lasting for?
As a striker you want your records to last forever, but if someone is coming close or beats the record I’ll be over the moon for them. Dunston has been fortunate to have some great strikers over the years and they have a couple now who I think could beat my record if they want to. If someone does beat my record I’ll be the first to congratulate them.
Pictured above - Bully celebrating at Wembley with Lee McAndrew (11) and Stephen Goddard (9).
After 7 seasons with Dunston you moved on, you’ve had spells with South Shields, Ashington, Whickham and now Newcastle Blue Star. Was it hard leaving Dunston and how does the experience and times you’ve had at those clubs compare to your time at Dunston?
It was the hardest thing I’ve had to do in football was leave Dunston. It wasn’t the best of departures but I felt the brilliant changing room I had been part of for all those years was gone. South Shields was a brilliant club with some great people behind the scenes but I probably went for the wrong reasons. Ashington was a great experience getting to work with Steve Harmison and Anders, two brilliant lads who I learnt a lot from.
Whickham again was probably the closest to a Dunston changing room I’ve seen since leaving Dunston. Honest, hardworking lads with strong on and off field bonds. Robin Falcus gave me the opportunity to have a taste of management with I loved and learnt a lot from that also, especially the importance of a good changing room.
Blue Star was a big decision for me, especially to drop out of the Northern League. I didn’t want to be one of those players who hangs about the Northern League for the sake of it before they retire. I wanted to help get a club with great history and ambition get back to its former glory. A proper challenge. Obviously Preeny played a big part in me joining, I’m still carrying him now like I did at Dunston but it’s a great craic.
Pictured above - Bully, still banging the goals in at Newcastle Blue Star.
Like you say with Blue Star, they have a superb history and things seem to be progressing really well over there.
It’s obvious that they’ve got a solid plan and ambitions to get back to the Northern League and beyond, but with the current situation as it is, and the decision to end last season, how frustrating is that for a club and you as a player?
It’s very frustrating for everyone. It was very likely we would have been promoted back to the Northern League last season, but you have to put things into perspective. We all love football but everything is such a mess at the minute. Personally I think we should have finished last season this season which would have been achievable, but with the current situation, I don’t see any possible option but to end the season now.
I’m a player, who let’s be honest, doesn’t have many seasons left as a player, a player from a club who would have been promoted, and I think the best thing to do would be to void the leagues, prepare for a fresh start next season when hopefully we live in a safer world.
If this pandemic has highlighted anything, it’s the importance of running a club properly. Dunston will be fine, Blue Star will be fine because they do things the right way. Other clubs who have lads on big contracts and have been blinded by the chance of success will find it hard.
Finally, looking back on your time at Dunston, a dressing room and club full of characters, what’s the funniest anecdote that you have?
Hard to nail down one; Chris Swales painting his toe nails, A gold fish appearing in the ice bath and Robbo (Michael Robson) being sick before every big game.
The best trick we played was on Billy Taylor. We had planned a trip to Magaluf before we won The Vase and Billy Taylor was coming.
A few weeks before we went we created a fake letter from EasyJet letting Billy know that he had been flagged as a dangerous passenger and wouldn’t be allowed to drink alcohol at the airport or he would be banned from flying. We had Billy going until he got to the airport. Never seen so much relief on a man’s face that he could drink.
Images displayed courtesy of Ken Fitzpatrick.