Bob Norris (b1949)
Born at Nottingham, and an England Youth International, like his father and grandfather Bob spent time at Nottingham Forest, before moving to Mansfield Town Reserves and Ilkeston Town.
He made his Grantham debut in the opening fixture of the 1970/71 season at Belper Town and along with Ernie Nixon immediately forged one of the most deadly striking partnerships that the Midland League had ever seen.
Bob scored his first goal for the club in the home match against Boston FC and that first season at London Road brought highlights including the winning goal in Grantham’s maiden victory over a Football League side, when Stockport County were defeated in November, a Second Round FA Cup appearance against Rotherham United, plus five goals in the league fixture against Ashby that helped him finish as the club’s top scorer.
Just to top it off, there was obviously the Midland League Championship winner’s medal, which was matched in the League Cup competition as Bob scored two of the goals in the first leg at Arnold.
It was going to be difficult to surpass those achievements the following season, but Bob certainly tried and knocked in 37 goals during the year, including all four goals in the Midland League fixture against Boston.
The year finished with another League title and a goal for Bob as Grantham defeated Scunthorpe United in the County Cup Final.
With Grantham moving into the Southern League, he found the defences no more difficult to penetrate, as his 33 goals, including four against Atherstone Town and a hat-trick at home to Bury Town, helped Grantham to both the Southern League Merit Cup and another league title.
Bob also played in the November 1972 FA Cup First Round Proper tie at Bradford City, while a year later he appeared in every round of the Cup run, scoring the fourth goal against Rochdale that finally put Grantham ahead in the match, and playing in the Third Round Proper tie against Middlesbrough in front of London Road’s biggest ever attendance.
The November 1975 FA Cup tie against Port Vale saw goals for him in both the original match and the replay, but that season actually ended with Jimmy Jackson as the club’s highest scorer, the first time that Bob hadn’t finished with the honour, although after the departure of David Platt he was back at the top after the 1977/78 relegation season.
Soon after the start of the following campaign Bob took over the managerial role after Terry Bly departed, and turned the team around to win the Southern League, Division One (North) Championship, also playing in that crucial closing match against Merthyr Tydfil. His last game for Grantham came in the October 1979 league fixture at home to Witton Albion and after little over a year at the helm, he had left the club, initially for a short playing spell at Arnold Town, followed by another period in the manager’s chair as he initiated Shepshed Charterhouse’s rise up the non-league pyramid.
Bob finished his playing career in the mid 1980s by making appearances for Radcliffe Oympic.
After many years involvement with the Redmayne & Todd sports shop in Nottingham, Bob ran his own textile firm in the city, manufacturing, among other things, football kits.
He is still involved with the Radcliffe Veterans football team.
Compiled with the assistance of John Barnes