The former Premier League midfielder tells HITC Sport that he has been impressed by the jobs overseen by Alan Pardew and Slaven Bilic.
Jimmy Bullard is a man who knows a thing or two about entertaining – from bringing the fun factor to the Premier League with Wigan Athletic, Fulham and Hull City, to tearing up the jungle on I’m a Celebrity and having a giggle on Soccer AM’s ‘You Know The Drill’.
Who, though, makes him smile? Who, given the chance, would he happily watch week in, week out?
The English top-flight is as stacked with eye-catching talent at present as it has been for many a year, with intriguing summer transfer business and early-season results suggesting that those with the deepest pockets may not have it all their own way in 2015/16.
We have already seen the likes of West Ham United and Crystal Palace secure some notable scalps, while Leicester City were unbeaten prior to running into Arsenal at the weekend, Everton are looking more like their former selves and Tottenham Hotspur’s faith in youth could deliver handsome rewards.
Bullard is among those to have been keeping a close eye on things from afar, and has been impressed by the exploits of those who have sailed under the radar somewhat to lay the foundations for what could be a memorable current campaign, and a bright future to come.
Speaking as part of Ladbrokes Rugby’s ‘Who’s Got The Balls’ campaign, the former all-action midfielder told HITC Sport during a phone interview when quizzed on who had carried out the best business during the recent window: “I’ll tell you who I like, who I think brought in some good players, Palace. I like the look of them. I also like Leicester. I also like West Ham.
“It’s no surprise that West Ham and Leicester are right up there at the minute. I know it’s early days, but I really like the way they are playing at the minute.
“I’ve not gone for any teams there, I know. I think football’s getting squashed now. We’ve seen some of the top teams not have the good starts that they used to have. Each season they seem to be dropping points quite early, and I think football’s getting squashed now and you are going to see more and more of this.
“In the years coming up, I think you are going to see the lesser teams competing against the top teams more often. The players are out there and the money is out there now – even your Leicesters, they are spending. Villa spent a ridiculous amount this year. These teams, they have the potential in the years to come.”
Taking into account his glowing praise of two of the capital’s star turns this season, it should come as no surprise to find that Bullard stuck to a similar theme when asked about which clubs he enjoys watching the most.
Pressed on who he would happily take a season ticket for, he added: “I keep going back to Palace. I love the way Palace are playing. I like the way Pardew manages, even though he’s chocolate and he has himself a lot of times, I love the way he manages.
“I love the two wingers – (Yannick) Bolasie and (Wilfried) Zaha. I know Zaha didn’t play at the weekend, but (Jason) Puncheon did. They have got (Yohan) Cabaye. I just like the way they play – attacking football and go for it. I’d say Eagles at the minute, I’d like to go down there and watch them. It’s always bouncing down there.
“West Ham as well. The boy (Dimitri) Payet at the minute is playing some good stuff, (Slaven) Bilic has come in and transformed the club a little bit.”
Few Premier League neutrals are likely to question Bullard’s selections, with it refreshing to see ambition being shown by those outside of the established elite, with more clubs prepared to roll the recruitment dice and adopt a philosophy which allows them to compete with the very best, rather than operate in their shadow.
Such an approach will not always pay off, but supporters will forgive and forget if they see their chosen side endeavouring to play the game in the right manner, and with 100 per cent commitment offered at all times.
The likes of Alan Pardew and Slaven Bilic expect nothing less from their troops and will expect to have Palace and West Ham thrilling audiences across the remainder of the 2015/16 season, and for many more to come.
Watch Austin Healey and Jimmy Bullard challenge the values of football and rugby in 'Who's Got The Balls?' at LadbrokesRugby.com #