Jimmy Bullard's non-league move to Holland hits the buffers
SUPPORTERS of Holland FC thought it was too good to be true - and it was!
For several hours yesterday, the Kent Blaxill Essex & Suffolk Border League club were preparing to welcome former Ipswich Town schemer Jimmy Bullard to Dulwich Road as an occasional player and coach.
The 33-year-old former multi-million pound Premier League midfielder apparently agreed to join the Holland-on-Sea club on Friday after meeting chairman Mark Sorrell at a golf day.
The story and an accompanying picture was then revealed on the club’s website yesterday.
And such is Bullard’s appeal that the midfielder’s shock move went on to make national headlines, just a day after he retired from the professional ranks at MK Dons.
But then, in an appearance on national radio yesterday afternoon, Bullard broke the news that the move was off.
Sorrell, chairman since Holland FC’s formation in 2006, had hoped Bullard’s arrival would help raise the profile of the Charter Standard club, which is chasing promotion to the Thurlow Nunn League.
But last night, Sorrell accepted defeat, admitting that the whole saga had spiralled out of control.
“The situation has got right out of hand,” said Sorrell.
“Jimmy likes to keep himself to himself and he was just coming down to help us out.
“But the story has escalated. I have had national newspapers on my case and we did not want that.
“This was supposed to just be a local story for Essex and Suffolk.”
The former Wigan and Hull man, whose father is good friends with a sponsor of Holland FC, never recaptured the form that made him an instant hit with Ipswich fans, following his arrival in 2011, and after disciplinary issues and a loss of form, was allowed to tear up his contract with Paul Jewell’s side.
A move to MK Dons followed at the end of August but after just two substitute appearances and a total of 25 minutes on the pitch, Bullard conceded defeat following a catalogue of serious injuries.
Sorrell added: “You can never say never (with regards to a potential future link-up between Bullard and Holland FC) but for the moment Jimmy will not be joining the club.
“I am not sure what his other commitments are.
“The last thing we want to do is to sour our relationship with Jimmy.”
Bullard began his career with Gravesend & Northfleet before joining West Ham in 1999.
Bullard left his boyhood heroes to join Peterborough and went on to score 11 goals in 66 games.
The midfielder then linked up with Paul Jewell for the first time, following a £275,000 switch to Wigan.
During his time with the Latics, Bullard won two promotions and earned a League Cup runners-up medal.
A £2.75m switch to Fulham followed before Hull paid £5m for him in 2009.
Bullard signed a permanent deal with Ipswich in 2011, following an injury-ravaged spell at the KC Stadium, having initially starred on loan at Portman Road.