Nottingham born centre half Walter Bull played local Nottingham football in the early 1890’s for Nuncargate in 1891, Newstead Byron in 1892 and St Andrew’s in 1893 before joining Second Division Notts County in 1894, making his Football League debut at Woolwich Arsenal that November. Initially a forward, he soon developed into a first team regular scoring 18 goals in each of 1895-96 and 1896-97, as Notts County became Second Division Champions in the latter season, Bull having been The Magpies’ top scorer in the former. From October 1897 he moved into the half back line where he played for the rest of his career.
Bull represented The Football League against The Scottish League at Ibrox Park, Glasgow on 19th March 1901. He had previously scored for The North in an international trial match against The South at Crystal Palace on 25th February 1901. He then featured for The South v North at Ashton Gate, Bristol on 13th February 1905 and again on 22nd January 1906, as well as for The Professionals against The Amateurs the same month. During 1905-06 he was first reserve for the full England team 4 times as understudy to Colin Veitch, the regular centre half.
He scored 58 goals in 303 appearances over ten seasons for The Magpies before joining Southern League Tottenham Hotspur in the summer of 1904 for £300, where he became club captain. He represented Spurs on the Professional Footballers Association committee when the organisation was formed in 1907. The same year he was described as follows: “Thought to be the best centre half back in the South. Is quite a champion at heading the ball, and is an accurate shot. A great favourite with the crowd”. He counted amongst his team-mates Herbert Chapman at Tottenham and when in 1907 Bull was offered the job of Northampton Town manager, after accepting he changed his mind, and recommended Chapman take charge of the club instead, launching Chapman’s stellar career in management.
Having scored 9 goals for Spurs in 132 League, Southern League and FA Cup games, Bull would eventually become Chapman’s successor at Northampton Town after a spell at non league Heanor United in 1910, but he left for Argentina in April 1911 to become trainer of Club Gimnasia y Esgrima de Buenos Aires before returning to take over from Chapman in 1912 both playing for and managing the club for just a single season in 1912-13.