Friday, January 23, 2009

Bullard leaves for Hull

All players are journey men now. It's about salary and contracts and signing on fees. First thing this morning I was confident there was no way Jimmy would want to leave London and head up North again just to claim a bigger pay packet. We might be neck and neck with Hull in the table but surely he'd rather stay at a club that he liked, a club that had stood by him during his worst period of injury and a club that seemed back on course to maintain its Premier League status. I thought this was all about Fulham playing hardball and trying to focus Jimmy on what was really important to him. I guess in many ways we did and he choose financial stability and an extended contract. Who can blame him? Reports suggest Hull City have given Bullard a 4½ year deal and a big salary increase. He wouldn't have got that with us.

Fair play to Hull. They're backing their ambition with hard cash. They've set the Premier League alight this season. Similar to Wigan Athletic and Reading in previous campaigns they've taken the league by the scruff of the neck and upset the established hierarchy. I felt they'd already done enough to retain their Premier League status, but the tightness of the league and their current drop in form suggested it could still be close. Knowing Jimmy they might have just signed a player who can make a difference and make sure they stay up not just this year but for some time to come. Hull fans have been quick to defend their club's status and rightly so. I'm still stunned Jimmy's chosen Hull over Fulham but realistically we're not that far apart.

Fulham will certainly miss Bullard's infectious enthusiasm on the pitch. It seemed at times that he wasn't really Hodgson's type of player, but recent games have highlighted exactly how much we'll miss him when he's not around. Jimmy's work rate was second to none and, although he had conceded to Hodgson's direction and reigned himself in this season, he added a spark to the side that we don't have without him. At 30 with a bad knee injury in his recent past maybe £5Million is a good deal but at the end of the day it's all about who we find to replace him. Within the current squad we have a few contenders. My personal belief is that Zoltan Gera would be better suited to a central role and may flourish given a bit more freedom. Leon Andreasen has been getting frustrated with his lack of opportunity and may now get the chance to prove himself and more established first teamers such as Simon Davies and Clint Dempsey could also fill the void. It's not the end of the world. We've been hotly linked with Leeds wonder kid Fabian Delph. The addition of some young blood to our effective but aging side can only be a good thing. Maybe Jimmy's departure can pave the way for an exciting future. Who knows.

Good luck to Jimmy. Good luck to Hull. Can't wait for March 4th!

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