Jimmy Bullard: ‘I wish I could go back and pick the brains of all of my managers’

Jimmy Bullard ‘loved every minute’ of his debut season as a manager at Leatherhead in the seventh tier. Now he wants an even bigger challenge

By Richard Foster for The Agony and the Ecstasy of the Guardian Sport Network

Leatherhead is not exactly one of the hotbeds of football in the United Kingdom. In this sleepy town tucked between Dorking and Epsom on the banks of the River Mole, the annual sporting highlight comes when the London-Surrey cycle classic wends its way through the town centre. A little way out of town is the football club at Fetcham Grove, nestling next to the leisure centre. Founded in 1907, the club has hovered around the lower levels of the non-league pyramid, switching between the Surrey Senior League and the Isthmian League for most of its 110-year history.

The Tanners have known better days and were once put firmly on the map by the escapades of Chris Kelly, the “Leatherhead Lip” who spearheaded the club’s famous FA Cup run in the 1974-75 season. Not only did they beat league opposition in Colchester and Brighton, but they were also 2-0 up against Leicester, then of the First Division, before bowing out to great acclaim with a narrow 3-2 defeat at Filbert Street. Kelly’s arrogance and habit of making bold predictions upset his opponents but the media lapped it up enthusiastically.

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