Arthur Bunting: Hull FC mourn death of legendary coach, aged 80

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Wigan beat Hull in 1985 Cup final thriller

Former Hull KR and Hull FC coach Arthur Bunting has died, aged 80.

Bunting was a Rovers player before taking up a coaching post at Craven Park but it was across the city at Hull FC where he was most successful.

He built a team containing stars such as David Topliss, Peter Sterling, Gary Kemble and James Leuluai, winning numerous honours.

"This is a very sad day for everyone connected with the club," Hull FC executive director James Clark said.

"We lose one of the finest people to ever be associated with Hull FC. His record as a coach speaks for itself, unprecedented success and deservedly recognised as the man responsible for overseeing a golden era in the club's history.

"However, for all those who knew him around the club, his close friends and former team mates, he is remembered as the perfect gentleman, kind and supportive, and a genuine rugby league fan with a brilliant sense of humour. He had a smile for everyone."

Mourned throughout the city

Peter Sterling tackled in the 1984 Australia Tour
Peter Sterling (bottom) was among the stars brought to Hull in Arthur Bunting's spell in charge.

Much like Colin Hutton, who died in February, Bunting's career was spread between the two Hull clubs.

He was part of Rovers' 1964 Challenge Cup defeat by Widnes at Wembley, during a nine-year playing spell with the Robins and then spent another four years as head coach during the mid-1970s.

Yet it was as a coach where Bunting enjoyed huge success, taking over at Hull in 1978 and going onto establish the Airlie Birds as one of the most successful sides of the late 1970s through to the middle of the 1980s.

Pontefract-born Bunting was in charge when Hull met their city rivals in the first and only all-Hull Challenge Cup final in 1980. His side lost 10-5.

After guiding Hull to promotion in world-record fashion in 1979 with 26 wins from 26 games, he pioneered the signing of top Kiwi players, with Kemble and Leuluai joined by Dane O'Hara and Fred Ah Kuoi, as well as the later stellar acquisition of Sterling - an Australia Test half-back and State of Origin representative.

Those players under Bunting's coaching were part of perhaps the greatest Challenge Cup final of all time, when Wigan featuring Sterling's Parramatta teammate Brett Kenny, edged out Hull in the 1985 classic.

The Black and Whites claimed the championship in 1983, lost three consecutive Premiership finals between 1981 and 1983, appeared at Wembley four times in six years in the Challenge Cup - winning the 1982 final against Widnes after a replay at Elland Road.

There were also Yorkshire Cup, John Player Trophy and Floodlit Trophy successes during his career before he departed in December 1985.

Hull FC will mark the passing in their matches against Salford and Castleford.

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