Paul Jewell unsure why Jimmy Bullard’s Ipswich Town move failed
IT is the million dollar Ipswich Town question.
How can Jimmy Bullard can go from Supporters’ Player of the Year, after a fantastic three-month loan spell, to becoming the club’s sixth-choice central midfielder and then seeing his contract terminated by mutual agreement?
The midfielder’s arrival on a permanent deal, just short of a year ago, was heralded by the majority of Town fans.
But those same supporters are now almost equally unanimous in accepting Paul Jewell’s decision to cut ties with the 33-year-old.
Speaking today, Jewell admitted he was unsure why Bullard’s 12 months at Portman Road had been so underwhelming.
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“Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Jimmy came here and the supporters loved him and I still have a lot of time for him,” said Jewell, who confirmed discussions with Bullard over terminating his contract had been going on for 10 days.
“He was a huge part of our success last season when we played some fabulous football. Since November, since Burnley, he has not had much of a look-in.
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“I don’t know why really. There are different reasons for it. It is not just Jimmy’s fault, the team hasn’t always played great. Things in life don’t always work out but one thing I could never accuse Jimmy Bullard of is not giving everything he has got.
I just made a decision that we are going down the route of getting younger players in and Jimmy would not be featuring regularly in that starting XI. It was best to tell him that and knowing Jimmy of old that was not going to be enough for him.”
Despite opting for younger players, and continuing to look for a new midfielder for the season ahead, Jewell believes Bullard’s next club will be getting a great player.
He said: “We’ve known each other a long time and I’ve only had one moment of anguish with him over those years (his suspension last season). I like him as a person and a player and whoever gets him will get a decent player. He goes with our best wishes.
“I called Jimmy in and just said ‘look, I can’t guarantee you first team football’. He wants to play football having missed an awful lot of games over the last few years through injury, so we just sat down and discussed what the solution could be.
“There’s no ulterior motive, no hidden agenda. It was just me recognising that being a bit-part player wouldn’t be enough to satisfy him. It was completely a football decision.”
While fans hope getting a Town top earner off the wage bill will automatically free up cash for Jewell to spend on new additions, the manager added: “The money side of it is nothing to do with me. His advisors have sat down with the club and come to an agreement.
“I don’t know how much we’ve saved on his wages. As I said, it wasn’t a money decision, it was a football decision. Jimmy Bullard wants to play every minute of every game and I knew he wouldn’t be in our starting eleven.
“He disagreed with that, which I’d expect every player to do, and knowing how keen Jimmy was to play I thought it was best to avoid a problem before it became a problem.”