The big news this week is that Jimmy Bullard has been released by Ipswich Town a year before the end of his contract. Bullard wasn’t always seen as such a burden at Portman Road and at one point many had predicted that he would be a hero for Ipswich.
He first joined the Tractor Boys on loan in January 2011 and made 16 appearances in the 3 months that he was at the club. Despite the fact that he was at the club for such a short time he managed to impress the fans so much that he won the player of the season award.
Bullard showed in those 16 games that he had the ability to play at the top level as he was a class above anyone on the pitch in every single one of those games. The range, variety and accuracy of his passing were of a Premier League standard and he showed that he still had the energy to get around the pitch.
What was most impressive about Bullard was the fact that he always got into space and demanded the ball. Whether it was a defender looking to play the ball to safety or a forward looking to find someone in space, Bullard was always there as an option asking for the ball. He always delivered too; most of the goals Ipswich scored in those games were either scored by or set up by Bullard.
Everybody cried out for Jewell to sign him and for so long it looked unlikely. However when Bullard was released by Hull, Paul Jewell got his chance to sign the fans favourite player. Bullard then had the opportunity to be a hero and everyone thought that he would be as Jewell was the perfect manager to get the best out of Bullard.
From this point onwards it all went wrong though. Bullard never came close to repeating the performances that he did when he first came on loan. We all waited in the hope that one day his form would return but when any player is under-performing so much they have to be dropped, even if they are the fans favourite.
So why did Bullard stop performing to the best of his abilities?
To cut a long story short, Bullard didn’t care enough about Ipswich Town or his own career any more. I believe that throughout his career as a whole he has been a top player who has played with a great attitude and love for the game. However he lost that passion for the game in the latter stages of his career which explains why he failed at Hull and why he eventually failed at Ipswich.
It is a bit of a sad story for both Ipswich and Bullard. He could have been a hero at Portman Road as it was set up perfectly for him but he threw it all away. The only person to blame is Bullard himself and Jewell did all he could to get the best out of him. Some will have fond memories of Bullard’s time at the club because we did see some amazing football from him for a short time. Others will rightfully think of him as a drain on the clubs finances and will remember him as a player who let everyone down. The worst part of it all is that Paul Jewell helped develop Bullard into a top player and Bullard didn’t care enough to help out the man who always had faith in him.
Of course, I wish Bullard the best for the future but if things didn’t work out for him at Ipswich I can’t see him having much luck elsewhere.