Creative midfielder Bullard has occupied many column inches since he signed for Hull City in January 2009, but it is worth remembering that beneath all the financial shenanigans, disputed contracts and questionable evening activities, when Hull City signed fringe England player Jimmy Bullard it was a massive paradigm shift for a small club realising it was now a big club. Bullard’s debut ended within ten minutes to a serious knee injury that required surgery (the knee had been damaged previously while Bullard was at Fulham) and he returned nine months later. He showed good form for two months, sparking a temporary revival of City’s second Premier League season and even making worldwide headlines when his goal celebration at the Etihad Stadium that mocked Phil Brown’s on-pitch half-time team-talk the previous season. In December 2009 Bullard again injured a knee against Aston Villa while dualling with James Milner. He briefly returned at the fag end of that relegation season but made no impact. His third season at City was again studded with injuries, after a mooted season-long loan to Celtic fell through. The season was also full of stories of Bullard’s wild nights out that ensnared other squad members, but he did play a few games and even contributed a marvellous last minute winner against Sheffield United on Boxing Day 2010. The following summer City suspended Bullard for misconduct on a pre-season trip and jettisoned him shortly afterwards.
Bullard was born in East London and raised in the South East London suburbs of Bexley. He did not have the typical footballer’s route to the professional game, having played his teenage years with non-league clubs. In 1999 he joined West Ham United but in two years he hadn’t had a sniff of the Hammers’ first team and moved to Peterborough United. It was at the Posh that Jimmy first made his name with two seasons of goals and assists. He moved to Wigan Athletic in 2003 and helped the Latics gain promotion to the Premier League in 2005. He assisted Wigan to the 2006 League Cup Final before switching to Fulham the following summer. His reputation grew further at Craven Cottage and he was on the fringes of the England squad by 2008 – however he had also suffered knee injuries by this time. It was those injuries that dissuaded Fulham from offering Bullard the new and lucrative contract he craved, which prompted his switch to Hull.
After being paid off by Hull City, Bullard waited until January 2011 before he signed for Ipswich Town. He thrived in his first season at Portman Road and was awarded a Player of the Season prize, which prompted a two year contract extension. Alas in 2011/12 the injuries caught up with Jimmy again, as did his drinking antics which sparked a suspension. He left Ipswich in 2012 and signed a short term deal at Milton Keynes Dons, which was to be his last club. Bullard then entered coaching – he managed Leatherhead during 2016 and 2017 – and has also launched a media career following his appearance on the “I’m A Celebrity…” insect-chomping show, which has seen him appear on panel shows and Soccer AM.
Bullard was called into the England squad for the first and only time in August 2008, but did not appear in either of the subsequent internationals.
Date/Place of Birth: 23 October 1978, Newham
Hull City First Game: 28 January 2009, West Ham United A (Premier League), 30 years, 97 days old
Hull City Final Game: 8 January 2011, Wigan Athletic H (FA Cup Third Round), 32 years, 77 days old
Corinthian (1996-1997), Dartford (1997-1998), Gravesend & Northfleet (1998-1999), West Ham United (1999-2001), Peterborough United (2001-2003), Wigan Athletic (2003-2006), Fulham (2006-2009), Hull City (2009-2011), Ipswich Town (2011, loan), Ipswich Town (2011-2012), Milton Keynes Dons (2012)
Hull City Record
Career: 24 apps, 7 goalsJimmy Bullard
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