Jimmy Bullard will be remembered as a joker but was once a fine player (Video)

Today the news was announced that ex-Wigan, Fulham and Hull player Jimmy Bullard had retired from football with immediate effect just five weeks into his spell at MK Dons. Bullard cited his failure to truly recover from the original knee injury he suffered at Fulham, only for it to reoccur just minutes into his Hull debut, as the cause for his career’s downward spiral from those heady days at Wigan and Fulham to the mediocrity of League One football.

Bullard will forever be remembered as football’s “cheeky chappy”, a joker, one who did admittedly always bring a smile to the faces of those both around him and those who watched it. A typical Bullard moment would be his re-enactment of Hull manager Phil Brown’s famous half-time team talk on the pitch at Manchester City, after Bullard had scored a penalty at the Etihad almost a year after the original incident. The incident was classic Bullard and will be remembered long into the future.

In truth towards his latter days at Hull and Ipswich, particularly after the knee injuries, it was often quite sad watching him play as he tried to drive forward with his old panache and crunch into tackles in the way that once came so easy. However, the knees had just given into him and perhaps in truth, today’s announcement came a couple of years too late.

However, let’s not forget that once Bullard was a fantastic midfield player. Having lit up the Championship for Wigan in their promotion campaign with a series of long-range strikes, Bullard was simply sensational in Wigan’s debut Premier League season with some superb goals and performances against some of the country’s biggest clubs. The video below highlights one such goal against Arsenal in a 3-2 defeat to a Thierry Henry inspired Gunners at what was then called the JJB Stadium. His performances for Wigan earned him a move to Fulham where he had began the 2006-07 season impressively before his knee buckled under him up at St James Park. It was a cruel blow for a footballer that seemed to have so much ahead of him but credit to him for fighting back and returning to form to help rescue Fulham from relegation in the 2007-08 season.

So when we remember Bullard, as funny and as charismatic as he was, let us also remember his talent as a professional footballer.

Adam Mazrani