Jimmy Bullard playing for Ipswich in March 2011
|Full name||James Richard Bullard|
|Date of birth||23 October 1978|
|Place of birth||East Ham, London, England|
|Height||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|West Ham United|
|1998–1999||Gravesend & Northfleet||30||(7)|
|1999–2001||West Ham United||0||(0)|
|2011||→ Ipswich Town (loan)||16||(5)|
|2012||Milton Keynes Dons||2||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 14:14, 2 October 2012 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).
James Richard "Jimmy" Bullard (born 23 October 1978) is an English former footballer who played as a midfielder. He played youth football at West Ham before moving to Gravesend & Northfleet in 1998. Two seasons at Peterborough United was followed by a spell at Wigan Athletic where he scored ten goals in 145 appearances in the league.
A transfer to Fulham in 2006 resulted in six goals in 39 league appearances before Bullard moved to Hull City in 2009. A loan move to Ipswich Town commenced in 2011 where he scored on his debut. On 1 October 2012, Bullard retired from professional football because problems with his knees meant he was unable to keep up the playing demands of up to two games a week.
Bullard was born in East Ham, east London. He played schools' representative football for Bexley Primary Schools FA and Kent Schools FA whilst at primary school, and then represented North Kent Schools FA whilst a pupil at Erith School. He was a painter decorator but turned his career to professional football aged 20. He started his career in non-League football with amateur club Corinthian before moving to Gravesend & Northfleet before being signed by the club he supported as a boy, West Ham United, for a fee of £30,000 in 1999. He did not manage to break into the team, however, and was given a free transfer at the end of the 2000–01 season. After a three-week trial, he then signed for Peterborough United, where he first made a name for himself, scoring 11 goals in 62 league starts for Barry Fry's team. This earned him a move to Wigan Athletic for £275,000 in January 2003.
Bullard quickly established himself in the Wigan first team and was named in the PFA Division Two Team of the Year for 2002–03. He helped Wigan secure promotion to the FA Premier League in the 2004–05 season and an appearance in the 2006 Football League Cup Final, which they lost 4–0 to Manchester United.
On 11 February 2006, Bullard was honoured by Sky's morning football show Soccer AM for running the length of the pitch in an attempt to score when the floodlights went out during Wigan's League Cup semi-final home leg against Arsenal and leapfrogging a pile of players in a goal mouth scramble in the Premier League against Everton, resulting in him falling on his face. They decided to rename the studio doors and they are now known as Jimmy Bullard's Back Door.
On 28 April 2006, it was announced that Bullard would sign for Fulham at the end of the 2005–06 season after a £2.5 million offer from the London club triggered a release clause in his contract. On 16 May 2006, Bullard was officially confirmed as a Fulham player.
Bullard's Fulham debut came as the team lost 5–1 to Manchester United on 20 August 2006. His first goal for Fulham came against Bolton Wanderers on 26 August, a last-minute penalty kick to level the scores at 1–1. Three days later, after he scored a 28-yard (26 m) curling free kick against Sheffield United in a 1–0 win, Fulham boss Chris Coleman hailed Bullard as "the best £2million we've ever spent".
On 9 September 2006, Bullard dislocated his kneecap in a match against Newcastle United. This injury was thought to keep him out for six to eight weeks. However three days later it was revealed that Bullard would in fact be out for up to nine months with cruciate knee ligament damage. Fulham's new manager Lawrie Sanchez announced that the midfielder was aiming to return around October 2007. However, he did not make a first team appearance until 12 January 2008, coming off the bench to play against West Ham. Bullard then came on as a half time substitute in a 2–1 win against Aston Villa on 3 February, setting up the equaliser then scoring the winning goal from a 25-yard (23 m) free kick and winning the man of the match award. He scored an identical free kick weeks later, to rescue a point against Blackburn Rovers and keep Fulham's hope of Premier League survival alive.
After missing a large part of the season due to injury, his return to the team, along with club captain Brian McBride, sparked Fulham into a run of form which saw them move out of the bottom three with one game remaining, after a 2–0 victory over Birmingham City. After helping Fulham out of the relegation zone, Bullard vowed to stay at Fulham to remain loyal with the club.
At the start of the 2008-09 season, Bullard found himself being linked with various clubs, with his former club, Wigan, expressing an interest in signing him. However, newly appointed manager Roy Hodgson said to fulhamfc.com that he would not sell Bullard, insisting he was a key player. Bullard claims he is in talk to sign a new deal with the club. However, this was denied by the club. The surrounding of Bullard's future at Fulham left him "very confused". Despite being regularly featured in the first team in the first half of the season, it was reported on Sky Sports that Bullard was told by the club that he could leave the club.
On 23 January 2009, Bullard completed a move to Hull City for £5 million, a record transfer fee paid by the club. In an interview broadcast on BBC's Football Focus on 31 January 2009, Bullard discussed his reasons for leaving Fulham:
|“||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.||”|
—Jimmy Bullard, 
Fulham boss Roy Hodgson said "He's been seeking the type of contract we couldn't give him. I congratulate Hull and Jimmy on getting the contract he wanted. It wasn't just wage demands prompting Jimmy to go, but the length of contract too". Bullard signed a four-and-a-half-year deal with Hull.
Bullard made his Hull debut as a substitute in their 28 January 2009 match against West Ham, but picked up a knee injury during the game. The injury was to the same knee that Bullard dislocated whilst at Fulham, but was not initially thought to be related to the prior damage. However, it was sufficiently serious to necessitate Bullard flying back to the same surgeon, Richard Steadman, in the United States for further knee surgery. On 19 February it was declared that he would be out for the rest of the season after the cruciate ligament surgery. He returned to action on 6 October, in a reserve team match against Bolton, scoring a long range effort after cutting in on the inside of a Bolton defender. His Premier League return was off the bench on 19 October 2009 against his old club, Fulham, a 2–0 defeat. He scored his first goal for Hull, a free kick, against West Ham on 21 November 2009. He also scored his second goal for the club in the same game, this time from the penalty spot. His third goal for Hull came against Manchester City, again from the penalty spot. After the goal he imitated Hull manager Phil Brown's on-pitch team talk from the same fixture the previous season.
Against Aston Villa on 5 December, Bullard went up for an aerial challenge against James Milner and landed awkwardly, injuring his knee. After a scan it was confirmed that he will be out for six to eight weeks with an injury to the left knee. This came after receiving the player of the month accolade the Friday previous. He made a scoring return in February 2010 for Hull reserves. On 27 March he scored from the penalty spot against former club Fulham, giving Hull the lead in a 2–0 victory. His next penalty came against Sunderland on 24 April, but he hit the post with Hull a goal down receiving jeers from the Hull support, who viewed his high transfer fee and wages and the poor return on them as partly responsible for the club's financial problems. Bullard was substituted at half time, with Hull needing to win to avoid relegation.
On 27 June, Hull's chairman confirmed that Bullard was available for loan and was free to speak to Celtic if he so wished. However, Hull officials said on 12 July that Celtic and the player had been unable to reach agreement on his wage demands. The club opted to exclude Bullard from pre-season friendlies to reduce the risk of injury preventing the player's sale. At the start of 2010–11, Bullard was not given a squad number, but some time later he was handed number 27 and played the full 90 minutes against Derby County, before going on to play in a further three games. Bullard scored a last minute winner against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on 26 December, returning after an injury.
On 18 August 2011 Hull announced that they intended to terminate Bullard's contract.
On 27 January 2011 he joined Ipswich Town on loan. He scored on his debut in a 2–1 victory at Derby County on 1 February 2011. Hull City say his exit has saved the club £320,000 in wages, as he had signed a £45,000-a-week contract for them while they were still in the Premier League, although Ipswich have disputed the Tigers' figures.
The loan spell turned out to be a huge success, with Bullard netting five times in 16 appearances for Ipswich. Bullard was very popular amongst the Ipswich fans, winning the Supporters' Player of the Year award, despite only being with the club for three months. The majority of supporters called for the manager, Paul Jewell to sign him on a permanent basis. However, with Bullard's wages being so high at Hull, chances of a permanent move being agreed looked unlikely. On 3 April 2011, Bullard admitted that he would be interested in a move to Ipswich, and that he would be prepared to take a pay-cut. In an interview with the Daily Star, he said: "Money isn't everything to me, I've really enjoyed my time on loan at Portman Road and would love a permanent move."
On 25 August 2011, he joined Ipswich Town on a permanent deal, signing a two-year contract. After starting in the side, his form dropped and he spent most of the season on the bench until he was finally suspended by the club due to missing training after a drinking spree with Michael Chopra. Bullard was released by Ipswich in August 2012.
Milton Keynes Dons
On 28 August 2012, Bullard signed a short-term contract at the MK Dons as they push for promotion to the Championship, with a deal running until 31 December, Bullard was Karl Robinson's fifth signing of the summer, just days before the transfer deadline.
Bullard retired from football on 1 October 2012. His career had been severely impacted by serious injuries including ruptured cruciate ligaments in his knee twice in three years, playing for Fulham in 2006 and on his debut for Hull City in 2009. Bullard stated "In the summer I knew I wanted to give it one last crack and show people what I could do, But what I think with my strong head and what I could physically do are two different things. My head tells me I can do it, but my body tells me, no Jim, you can't." The following day, he was reported to have joined non-League side Holland as a player coach, with Holland chairman Mark Sorrell saying: "Jimmy is a family friend and has agreed to help us out. He will take the coaching sessions and will play three or four times a season". However, the deal fell through, with Sorrell saying: "The situation has got right out of hand. Jimmy likes to keep himself to himself and he was just coming down to help us out".
Although English by birth, Bullard has a German grandmother and was therefore eligible for the German national team. In the run-up to the 2006 FIFA World Cup, it was reported that Bullard was contemplating an international call-up from the Nationalmannschaft, having made his interest known to the national coach Jürgen Klinsmann. He was called into the England squad in August 2008 for the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Andorra and Croatia in September, but did not feature in either match. He was called up on three separate occasions.
- Football League Second Division: 2002–03
- Football League Championship: 2004–05 (Runner-up)
- League Cup: 2005–2006 (Runner-up)
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- Bullard not ruling out staying at Town
- JIMMY BULLARD: I'LL TAKE £25K PAY CUT
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