JIMMY BULLARD concedes people still see him as a “joker” but says he is determined to make his first managerial job with Leatherhead a successful one.
The Ryman Premier club shocked Non-League on Saturday morning, announcing that the former Premier League player turned celebrity had been given the job following Mike Sandmann’s departure.
The 37-year-old brought the curtain down on a glittering career in 2012 following spells at Wigan Athletic, Hull City and Fulham while he was also called up to the England squad.
In the four years since his retirement, Bullard has made a name for himself on TV, featuring on Soccer AM as well as I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here.
The former midfielder says he has always wanted to move into management and he is set to take charge of his first game at Folkestone Invicta on Tuesday night.
He has a tough job on his hands, taking charge of a Tanners side that has won just one of their opening seven games in the Ryman Premier.
Bullard, who started his playing career in Non-League with Gravesend & Northfleet, said: “Management is something that I’ve been very passionate about doing for a long time but it had to be the right time and the right opportunity.
“I’ve played under a lot of different managers with different managerial styles in my career and I was always very vocal in the dressing room about my philosophy on football. Now is the time I can put that philosophy into practice.
“A lot people know me for being a bit of a joker but I’ve always taken my football very seriously throughout my career, which is one of the reasons why I made it from Non-League to the Premier League and got called up by my country. I’ll be taking that drive and determination into this job.
“Leatherhead is a club with big ambitions and big potential. The chairman, board and I all share a huge passion for turning that into a reality. I’m looking forward to getting stuck into the role and taking the club forward.”