Jimmy Bullard announces retirement from football
JIMMY Bullard has quit professional football – seven weeks after leaving Ipswich Town.
The 33-year-old midfielder joined MK Dons on a short-term deal after leaving Portman Road but he has had to call time on his 14-year playing career due to ongoing problems with his knee.
In a statement released by MK Dons, Bullard said: ““My old knee injury has never allowed me to get back to where I want to be as a football player – it’s always hindered me.
“There are a lot of games in this League and I now know my knee won’t allow me to play Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday-Tuesday, it’s not built for that now.
“I want to be out there playing but at the same time I know my knee won’t allow me to play at my best and to keep my place in the team. I’m hindering myself more than I am helping myself for the future.”
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Bullard ruptured the cruciate ligaments in his knee twice in three years but followed that with an excellent loan spell at Ipswich last year.
That prompted Paul Jewell to sign him on a free transfer but while he showed brief flashes in his one full season, most notably during the side’s six-match unbeaten run, he failed to make a single start after November.
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After appearing for Town in a few pre-season matches, he left the club by way of mutual consent in August.
Bullard added: “In the summer I knew I wanted to give it one last crack and show people what I could do. But what I think with my strong head and what I could physically do are two different things. My head tells me I can do it, but my body tells me, no Jim you can’t.
“Without a shadow of a doubt this is the hardest decision I’ve made, but in the same breath I’ve been a lucky one really.
“I’ve got a never-ending list of highs in my career. First of all coming out of non-league football and signing for West Ham, which was a massive high for me.
“Signing as a professional football player and going on from there – making my debut at Peterborough, winning things with Wigan, signing for Fulham, getting into the England squad while I was at Fulham and after that horrific knee injury, getting into the Carling Cup Final with Wigan – albeit we lost.
“I haven’t had a bad career. 14 years in the game professionally it’s not bad at all. It’s been a great job to play footy, there’s plenty of worse ways to earn a living.”