Jimmy Bullard has a reputation as a great old-fashioned professional, a throw back to the days before agents and Bentleys, when a roast was something the players’ wives cooked on Sunday afternoons.
But the way Bullard has conducted himself regarding his move from Fulham FC to Hull City would shame Ashley Cole. In September 2006 Bullard collided with Newcastle’s Scott Parker and ruined his knee ligaments. He didn’t play again for sixteen months – until January 2008. His return coincided with the arrival of Roy Hodgson, who orchestrated a miraculous escape from relegation.
A strong second half of the season led to a call up to the England squad in August 2008 – although he did not play in either game. And how did Bullard react to this? By thanking the staff of Fulham FC for spending sixteen months rehabilitating him, which made his call up possible? No – he demanded a new contract with wages an England international (of sorts) deserved.
Roy Hodgson, understanding that his demands were beyond the club’s means, and that Danny Murphy is the true midfield general at Fulham, said no. So Jimmy Bullard turned his back on Fulham and went up north to Hull City, who met his demands. While he can claim that he has moved from the tenth placed team to the ninth placed one, Hull are sustained by a freakish run in Autumn but collapsing form since. Fulham, meanwhile, have the fourth best defence in England and one of the canniest managers around. Only one of those teams risks getting sucked into the relegation mire, and it’s not the Cottagers.
It wouldn’t be a great shock if Hull City find themselves back in the Coca-Cola Championship next season. And what then for good old fashioned honest pro Jimmy Bullard?