In among teenage millionaires, over-rated kids, under-rated oldies, and players that 90% of people would hit in the face, there is a special kind. The kind of player that just makes you smile. Not the smile you get when the small South American showboat nutmegs the lumbering centre half, mind. This smile is the natural reaction to seeing a big goofy grin having fun.
While other teams and players were battling relegation or for the title, Jimmy Bullard was a man playing some football and havin’ a laff. To commiserate his retirement, let’s take a look-back on some of the moments the long-haired goon made us smile.
How Bullard Decides Freekick Duty
Let’s begin with the end of his career, and this gem from an Ipswich game where Bully and Keith Andrews can’t decide who should take a freekick. There’s only one solution, Rock, Paper, Scissors.
How Bullard Lines Up For SkySports
This is the recording for the SkySports line-up bit. You know the drill, walk forward and smile. Why they didn’t let Jimmy keep one of his earlier takes is anybody’s guess.
How Bullard Faces Fear
Like a smiling child of course.
How Bullard Washes His Hair
What with the hair and the persona, it was only a matter of time before Wash & Go came a-knocking for a 80s ad remake.
How Bullard Celebrates A Goal
You know the story – 2009 and Hull are 3-0 down away to Man City at halftime and Phil Brown is less than impressed. He decides to not only give the players a light hairdryer, but to do it on the pitch in front of the fans. Cut to the same fixture the next season and Hull are 1-0 down, that is until ‘Bully’ slots home a penalty to take a point. The iconic celebration was born.
How Bullard Plays The Game
For me this sums up everything about the guy. A typical Wigan goalmouth scramble occurs and the ref blows the whistle for a freekick, everybody begins to get to their feet but Jimmy’s mind is filled with only one word: Bundle!
Unfortunately he ended up with a faceplant but it’s things like this that earned him so many fans throughout his career.
They can’t all be like Bullard; we need players that are arrogant and serious and do amazing things on the pitch. But we also need players who respond to ‘Who is your favourite band?’ with ‘Elastic’, we need English midfielders who contact Klinsmann saying they’re available for the Germany team, most of all, we need players who don’t take themselves so seriously.
Hull were facing a season inevitably slipping into relegation the year that Bullard pulled ‘a Phil Brown’ at Eastlands, but look at the fans in the background, they’re loving it.
And with the fan’s backing, he was also know to wrap a freekick in now and then too.