Jimmy Bullard, one of the most entertaining footballers of recent times, has a book out called 'Bend it Like Bullard'. As is the way nowadays, it's being serialised in the Daily Mail.
In one of the extracts published today Bullard tells of the time Wigan manager Paul Jewell (the man Johnny Giles once championed for the Ireland job) broke his nose by slamming his head in a door. Bullard was angry at having been dropped to the bench for a game against Chelsea and stormed into his manager's office.
For some ridiculous reason, our manager Paul Jewell clearly thought it was time for a change but I wasn’t having it.
This was bang out of order. So I went steaming down to the gaffer’s office and knocked on his door.
‘What’s the fucking script with me being dropped, then?’ I said as I sat down opposite him. ‘Chelsea away? There’s something wrong with you, ain’t there?’
‘What do you mean?’ he said, looking unimpressed with my attitude. ‘I’ve picked the team I think will do best.’
That was like a red rag to me.
‘You cannot tell me I don’t deserve to be playing,’ I told him.
But Paul was adamant: ‘No, I think you need a rest.’
But I wasn’t listening. I was livid. ‘Look, you mean I’ve fought through a boyhood career tooth and nail, only to miss a game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge? I don’t think so. After more than 100 games in a row, drop me for Middlesbrough or something, not against Chelsea, the title holders.’
Suddenly, I was back on the parks pitches as a kid after a defeat, or the West Lodge working men’s club after losing at pool. There were no tears this time, just pure anger.
I stood up and yelled, ‘Fucking poxy decision that is!’ and shoved my chair away, hurling it across the floor.
I grabbed the door, but I was only halfway out of the room when Paul launched himself across his desk, shouting: ‘Who do you think you’re fucking talking to?’
And as he said that he pushed on the door that I was pulling open, cracked my nose and shut my head in it.
For a split second I was in the maddest position. The manager was holding a door shut with my head stuck in it as I looked at Bill Green, the chief scout, who was sat at his desk, opposite the gaffer’s office.
I managed to grab Paul and he grabbed me at the same time, shoving me up against the wall in his office, yelling: ‘Have a bit of respect.’
‘You’ve broken me fucking nose,’ I screamed back.
‘Have you fucking calmed down?’
‘Yes, I’ve fucking calmed down, now get your hands off me!’
He released his grip and I stormed out screaming, ‘He’s broken me nose’ until I got into my car.
The two kissed and made up the following day after Wigan lost to Chelsea with Bullard coming off the bench with 20 minutes to go.