Football FanCast columnist Richard Marsh underlines the importance of Jimmy Bullard to Hull City.
Hull city moved out of the relegation zone after a superb comeback saw them defeat Stoke City 2-1 after going a goal behind. It was the Tigers third home win of the season and perhaps their most crucial so far.
Hull dominated the game for large periods and most would agree they deserve the win, after all the turmoil of manager rumours, chairmen leaving and old chairmen returning, it was excellent to see such a professional, battling performance capped off with an excellent goal for Olofinjana against his former club.
It was arguably Hull’s finest performance of the 2009-2010 season, and it’s no coincidence that the game marked the home debut of record signing Jimmy Bullard, who has only just returned from injury sustained in his debut for the club back in January.
Bullard is a fine player, and if he can stay fit, they can he make a huge difference to the Hull midfield.
He has pace, he has an engine that will see him run end to end for an entire game, and he has a smart brain and a great right foot. He brings a different element to the Hull City midfield, younger, faster, better than Nick Barmby, wiser and smarter than Stephen Hunt and a much better attacker than Boateng and Olofinjana, (though after his goal against former club Stoke, Olofinjana may dispute this claim!)
After moving from Fulham in January for a club record £5million, Bullard was denied the opportunity to justify his price tag, but fortunately for him Hull stayed up. Now, in the often feared difficult second season, he has the chance to make a real difference in the Tiger’s fight for survival.
Manager Phil Brown must be delighted on two fronts, firstly, the determination shown by his side to win after going behind, and secondly, the return of Bullard. The rumours surrounding Phil Brown’s future I believe are hearsay. He has done wonders at Hull by getting them into the Premiership and keeping them there.
For clubs like Hull a season in the premiership is like a year-long cup final, a bonus, to have two seasons is incredible, and sadly so many teams lose sight of their reality and make costly mistakes regarding managers, start planning their finances around a 5 year stay in the premiership and increase the wage bill to unmanageable levels. Hull cannot afford to go this way.
Phil Brown has got the maximum out of his squad and will continue to do so. If the board can give him just £5million in January, he will make the most of it.
Hull can survive this season, it will be incredibly difficult but they have the talent in Geovanni and Bullard, while Altidore and Ghilas look like they can cause trouble for defenders. Vennegoor of Hesselink too, has proven he can produce the goods. If one or two faces, ideally one defender at least, can be brought in, even on loan, then they have a real shout at survival this season.
But only if they keep Phil Brown. The new chairman has pledged his support, and rightly so. Get rid of Brown and they lose their guidance, their motivation, and would face a couple weeks of uncertainty regarding a new manager, and then more weeks allowing the manager to find his feet. By which time the game could be up. Brown is a great motivator, he does not have a world class squad, but he has a squad who can compete at this level and he is doing just that with them.
The return of Bullard and the support of Brown are perhaps two of the most important factors regarding Hull City’s Premiership survival campaign.
Hull’s season, starts now.