One of English football’s most energetic and entertaining characters retired from the game earlier this week. Jimmy Bullard announced his retirement on Monday after a spate of knee injuries have hampered his progress in recent years.
After an earlier spell at Peterborough United, Bullard first entered the Premier League scene in 2005 as a member of Wigan’s promotion squad from the previous campaign. His debut season in the Premier League was a huge success, as Wigan defied all the odds to achieve a respectable mid table finish, this after flirting with the Champions League places until a drop in form from December onwards.
After an impressive season, he was transferred to Fulham where his stardom continued to rise before his first devastating knee injury in 2006 kept him out of action for 16 months. It was no surprise that his return into the Fulham side coincided with a run of form that saw the club produce a great escape under Roy Hodgson.
Another knee injury during his Hull debut in January 2009 once again saw Bullard miss a large proportion of the season and twelve months later the same problem reoccurred, effectively bringing a close to his Premier League career. It was during his time at Hull that Bullard performed his most memorable stunt, as, after scoring an equalising penalty at Man City, he reenacted Phil Brown’s half time team talk from the previous season, which can be viewed here.
After moving on from Hull, Bullard had a spell at Championship side Ipswich before playing alongside Alan Smith at MK Dons for the early part of this season. But ultimately his knee problems were too much to overcome saying
“I had just had enough of it. I spoke to Karl (Robinson, MK Dons manager) and said “I’m thinking of calling it a day. It only takes one more whack on my knee and I don’t think it’s going to be able to take it.”
Bullard won over fans nationwide, not just for his ability as a footballer but also for his humour. In one particular game against Everton during his Wigan days, he caused laughter by leapfrogging over a huge melee inside the penalty area. It is a shame that such a colourful and charismatic career has been cut short by injury, but with Bullard’s contagious personality you can’t imagine it will be too long before he finds himself back on television screens.