Jimmy Bullard, a cheeky chappie cockney who is a known loved football figure in England but, is that all changing?
Bullard started his career in the football league at Peterborough United after being released from West Ham United. After some good performances for Peterborough he earned himself a move to Wigan Athletic, a team on the up. They had Dave Whelean investing money into the club, and they were definitely a club going places. Jimmy was part of the Wigan team that got promoted to the Premier League in 2005, giving him the chance to play his trade in the elite league.
This is where Jimmy got his reputation as a joker and everyone loved his love and passion just to play football. He was always known as a joker at Peterborough, but there was no spotlight on him in the lower leagues. The Sky TV show SoccerAM soon adopted him as their favourite player, for his characteristics on the field. Showing how football should be played and enjoyed. It was not just his antics on and off the field, the man is also a very extremely talented footballer.
After a season in the Premier League Bullard moved on, back to his roots in London by joining Fulham for what seemed a snip at £2.5m. He soon became a hero among the Fulham faithful, like he had done at every other club he’d graced his presence with. Unfortunately for Bullard he had a serious injury in a game against Newcastle, which would see him out for 9 months with cruciate ligament damage.
In January 2009 Hull City came in with a bid of £5m for Jimmy Bullard and he joined the newly promoted Premier League club. There were rumours that Hull City had offered him a lucrative contract to join them, which Fulham refused to give him. However Jimmy came out with the following quote about his move to Hull…
I had sixteen months left on my contract, which to me – I’ve been out sixteen months, I know it isn’t a long time – and I wasn’t willing to play with sixteen months… with one year left on my contract, and I did tell them that, I made that clear, even though I am under contract. Also I didn’t feel I had the backing from the club, so I felt like it was time to move on. I felt like Fulham didn’t want me and it was as simple as that really. I was in talks with Fulham over a contract and I was told I’m not getting a new contract and I can leave in January. So for a player to be told that was quite harsh, you know, and I came up to speak to Hull and it was totally different, and it sort of made it a lot easier for me. I’m only human, I just wanted to play for a team who really wanted me, and Hull showed me that really.
Which to Hull fans seemed a fair deal, he just wanted a longer contract to protect his future of his family. Bullard could not play in the first game due to been ill, he was unveiled on the pitch before a FA Cup 3rd round tie against Millwall. This was a big coup for Hull City, and the fans were delighted to see him sign.
Bullard finally made his debut for Hull City in February. A game which would see him go to the club that once released him, West Ham away, a midweek game. Bullard came on as a sub, playing a 37 minute part in the game, he seemed to take a heavy challenge from Scott Parker, the same man who gave him his injury when at Fulham. However Bullard seemed to be ok and continue with the game.
After the game it would be revealed that the injury was a lot worse than first thought, and saw Bullard out for another 9 months. Bullard came back to action in October the next season, and he inspired Hull City into some fantastic form in November, with an unbeaten month for the Tigers, 2 wins and 2 draws. Picking up the player of the month for November.
The chairman of Hull City had also been relieved of his duties by the owner, and the clubs finances were in some what of a dire state. Previous Chairman Adam Pearson was brought into the club to help the situation. However the decision to sign Bullard for £5m and paying him an alleged £45,000 a week did not come into question while he was putting out these sort of performances.
On 5th December Jimmy Bullard’s luck was out again when going up for an ariel challenge against Aston Villa, had him land awkwardly on his knee, the other knee this time. He was then reported to be out for another 8 weeks, and the Hull fans would not see their saviour back in action until January.
Bullard came back to action in March time, and it was getting tough for Hull City, they were in desperate need for him to come back, and get some points on board before they faced the drop. On Jimmy’s return he was not the same player, it didn’t look like the effort was there not interested in tackles. Not the same cheeky chappie that had once been. Against Sunderland, a game that Hull fans saw as a must win, Hull got a penalty and Bullard stepped up only to striker the post. Which the home crowd responded with boos and jeers. Hull fans were not happy, with a man earning £45,000 who cost them a record £5m failing to what looked like failing to put any effort in. Bullard was substituted at half time, it was then Hull fans realised they could not rely on the loved Jimmy Bullard to save them from the drop and relegation was everything but confirmed.
The Hull fans were not impressed with the man who dazzled them a few months earlier, not just for his on the pitch exploits but his off the field ones too, rumoured to be out drinking often in the City centre flashing the cash that he was earning for a financially troubled club that the locals loved.
When relegation finally arrived Adam Pearson announced that a lot of changes would have to be made to cut the ever so large wage bill. Bullard was one of the players Adam Pearson hoped to move on from the club. He was then linked with a move to SPL giants Celtic. It seemed almost a done deal for Bullard to be moving up north on loan to Celtic with the Scottish club rumoured to be paying £30,000 of his £45,000 wages. This was a perfect deal for both Hull City and Celtic. These talks all broke down due to Jimmy Bullards contract demands. It was alleged in the Daily Mail that Bullard wanted 30k on top of his 45k wages to join Celtic. Before this had all come out in the press Bullard was seen said in an interview with the BBC..
“It’s purely a football decision for me, it’s not about money – not to me at least, although it might be for them.”
While this transfer saga with Bullard has gone on, he’s not been involved in any of Hull City’s pre season plans and will not play for the club again, at least until the transfer window shuts and they are left lumbered with the high earner.
I understand that Bullard is entitled too his £45,000 a week and it’s the old board at Hull City at fault for offering him such a deal, I know most people in his situation would hold out for everything that they can possibly get but, for a man that loves football so much, would it not be in his and the clubs best interests to take a wage cut?
Kevin Kilbane also of Hull City has recently agreed to take his wages over 2 years rather than 1, therefore taking a 50% pay cut. Would Kilbane have got another year on his contract at Hull, maybe not but, it see’s him playing football at Hull for another year and it helps the club out financially. A great gesture from the Irishman, it’s a shame we don’t see more of it.
So does Bullard still have his loved cheeky chappie reputation? He certainly doesn’t in Hull.
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