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Bullard Back In Blue And White?

Recent reports have claimed that Ipswich Town are closing in on the loan signing of Hull City midfielder Jimmy Bullard. In the wake of the rumours, Vital Ipswich contributor WiltshireTractor is back to offer us his evaluation of a player that has proven popular both on and off the pitch:

In the wake of the Chimbonda affair, a new rumour has surfaced linking another of Paul Jewell's former charges with the Blues. The man in question is none other than Jimmy Bullard: a player who featured prominently in the Latics' ascension to the top flight.

Bullard originally rose through the youth ranks at West Ham United, who ironically brought him back after the midfielder made a name for himself in non-league football; most notably with Ebbsfleet United (then known as Gravesend & Northfleet).

However, Bullard was unable to break into the Hammers first team and was released in the summer of 2001. He was invited to Peterborough United for a trial, impressing them sufficiently to earn himself a contract with the London Road club.

It was with the Posh that Bullard started showing his potential, earning a reputation as an energetic midfielder with an eye for goal.

Then Wigan boss, Paul Jewell, noticed the ebullient midfielder's talents and swooped to sign him for what would turn out to be a bargain 275,000 in January 2003.

It didn't take long for Jewell to get a return on his investment and the midfielder practically became the Latics' engine room. In the three years at the JJB Stadium, Bullard featured 145 times, netting 10 goals.

It seemed Bullard had proven himself to be a Premiership calibre midfielder when Fulham took advantage of the player's 2.5 million release clause during the summer of 2006.

Sadly, fate struck a cruel blow to the midfielder's Premier League, and potentially international, prospects when he suffered a nasty dislocated knee cap from a Scott Parker challenge against Newcastle in September 2006.

The dislocated knee cap encapsulated Bullard's tenure at Fulham, as injuries blighted the majority of his three year stay at Craven Cottage. However, he did manage to enjoy an injury-free run in the latter stages of the 08/09 season. Bullard's injury-free spell helped to spark a late revival in Fulham's bid to avoid relegation. Bullard chipped in with a couple of memorable goals from free kicks as the Cottagers secured their Premier League status.

Bullard's form at the end of the 2008/09 season was enough to convince Phil Brown to shell out 5 million for the Londoner's services in the summer of 2009.

However, Bullard's time at the KC Stadium echoed that of this spell at Fulham. In two and a half years, the midfielder has made only 23 appearances for The Tigers.

Despite all of the player's injury woes, it would seem Jewell is keen to reunite with the enthusiastic midfielder, hoping to capitalise on the player's ability to pick out a pass and score from midfield. Ipswich haven't truly had a central midfielder of this nature since the heyday of Tommy Miller and I, for one, would kill to see Jimmy Bullard in a blue and white shirt.

What Bullard could bring to the club is surely worth paying what would probably be a substantial salary. His jovial nature would really help improve dressing room spirit. More importantly, though, is that Bullard is an accomplished, high quality player and could be the catalyst that our midfield is crying out for.

The only foreseeable downside is his injury proneness. If he can steer clear of the physio's table, Bullard would be a magnificent capture for the club and I implore the Town hierarchy to do what it takes to land him.

By WiltshireTractor

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The Journalist

Writer: Darren C Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday January 26 2011

Time: 11:52AM

Your Comments

Great contribution again, Wiltshire! I'm hearing suggestions that this signing is likely to go ahead, but I'm still worried about how much his wages will be. As you say, there's also the issue of his injury proneness - no point in paying a massive wage packet to some who is going to spend all his time on the bench! I do hope this doesn't mean the end of the road for David Norris as well... Anyway, thanks again, WT!
Darren C
Thanks for posting it (and putting a title on it!), Darren! It does worry me that these rumours could mean the end of David Norris' time with us - he's always given his best for the club and deserves to stay. However, Pompey's first bid was a million miles away and I wonder if they have the money to offer a realistic bid. You're right about Bullard injuries in relation to wages - he represents a pretty big risk but, if it pans out well, he'd be great!
Let's hope it does work out! I do think he'd be a great signing - not least because, as you say, he's always been a positive influence in any dressing room. I've always liked him as a character - a bit like Moritz Volz really. And Sylvain Legwinski. What is it with these former Fulham players?!
Darren C
Be careful what you wish for and wonder why the Hull fans would buy his ticket to anywhere else? Oh, and why nobody else will touch him with a bargepole?
I really hope Jimmy does at some pont return to be the character you describe, but that is a long way from the truth at the moment. Perhaps a change will rejuvinate him, but at the moment I wouldn't bank on him. Jimmy is a reminder of the previous managers love of a character rather than hard work, ultimately this cost us our place in the PL because we certainly had the technical ability in the squad to stay up ahead of other teams. Our new manager wants grafters to haul us up the league & that is what he is doing. Perhaps it's an injury too much for Jimmy but he needs freedom to play an expansive game that you just don't get in this league and thats why he's dropped down to the bench. He is also disruptive in the dressing room, the senior players have had enough of his attitude & he socilises now with our talented kids, this has affected their development this season IMO and is part of the reason we are sending them out on loan to re-focus. The fact that we are likely to cover over 50% of his wages shows how desperate we are to just get him out of the way for a few months.
Hmm. Thanks for coming over and giving your insight, folks. It does seem obvious to me that Hull have wanted to offload Bullard for some time, which does cause some concern - indeed I was astonished that the deal with Celtic collapsed a few months back, which did raise question marks over what exactly Bullard must have wanted out of it. In any case, I'm willing to give anyone a chance, so let's see what happens.
Darren C
Is the guy on about 40k a week at the moment.? I think that was the stumbling block with Celtic. I don't think Town will pay that amount
Surely Jimmy isn't daft enough to believe that he can command such a high wage in the position he's in? He has hardly played over the past four and a half years and I don't think any team in the world will pay him 40k/week at the moment. He needs to be pragmatic about his salary so he can get on the field and prove his worth. He must realise that one major aspect of his profession is the constant scrutiny - he can't expect to get by on a few good years at Wigan and a decent run of games at Fulham. In truth, he's been lucky that Hull have more money than brains (which they proved time and again during their Premier League tenure).
Actually I've heard he's on 45k at Hull, if not closer to 50k. I've always had the impression that Town have been reluctant to pay anybody over 20k a week - in fact I'm sure there was almost a self-imposed wage cap at that level at one time, though I could be wrong. It's being widely reported that he has held talks at Portman Road today, but I'd still be astonished if we can actually offer him a deal that he would accept.
Darren C
if he stays fit great move we will only pay 30% of wages at the most which i know is still a lot of dosh but if he helps us move on as a club bring him jewell we trust..............

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