Rob Hulse - Veteran striker hangs up his boots - Interesting next move

Former Crewe, West Brom, Leeds, Sheffield United, Derby and QPR Striker retires to pursue a career in physiotherapy.

Former Leeds United striker Rob Hulse has decided to call it a day on his footballing career.

A relatively impressive career saw him become a fans favourite at many of his clubs and was held in high regard in the championship for many years. The case for retirement seems to be niggling injuries and his inability to get fit and back in form, which is disappointing for the player who made his name as a strong target man.

The Crewe born striker started his career for his hometown and was quick to make an impression. The first two full seasons in the championship saw him score 22 goals in 74 appearances and was the player on everyone’s lips at the time and earned himself the clubs player of the year in the 2002/2003 season.

He then moved on to West Bromwich Albion for just under a million pound, playing a very important part in their 2004 promotion to the Premier League. Unfortunately once in the top flight his chances were limited, playing just 5 times. He got the option to go on loan to the Championship with Leeds United and made a big impression scoring 6 goals in 13 games.

The successful loan spell saw Leeds United pay in excess of a million pound for the permanent deal of Rob Hulse. He made a name for himself again at Leeds United as one of the best strikers in the Championship, scoring 20 goals in 51 games for the Yorkshire side. He also picked up the supporters player of the year trophy for the 2005/2006 season.

When Leeds United failed with their promotion bid, he signed for newly promoted Sheffield United for £3 million  with add-ons. He quickly made a big impression for the south Yorkshire side scoring on his debut for the club against Liverpool and earned them a well fought draw.

The Premier League season with Sheffield United was perhaps the most successful season he had in his career, playing at the height of the ability in the Premier League and scoring 8 goals. He unfortunately had to watch from the stands through injury as Sheffield United were dragged into a tight relegation battle which they lost on the last day of the season.

Despite missing the last part of the season he was still named the clubs top goal scorer and player of the year for their premier league season. He didn’t return until Christmas the next season and struggled to get back into full fitness.

He signed for Derby County in the summer of 2008 for £1.75 million. He started slowly and struggled to initially find the back of the net, eventually netting his first goal ironically came as a late winner against his former club Sheffield United which also ended Derby’s record breaking 38 games without a win, the equivalent to an ENTIRE season in the Premier League.

The strong striker kicked on from that point and ended the season as both player’s and supporter’s player of the year and top goal scorer with 18 goals in 54 games. He had a very good spell at The Rams and was the talk of bids in excess of £3 million which were turned down by the club, eventually newly relegated Middlesbrough test Derby’s will to keep the striker with a £4 million bid which was accepted, despite this Rob Hulse didn’t want to swap the white shirt for the red and stayed at Derby for another season again picking up the top goal scorers award and being instrumental in a tricky relegation battle for the club.

The last move of his career saw him depart from Derby to Queens Park Rangers for around £1 million. The move was semi-forced due to his contract running into its last year and typically these types of transfers end with a little bit of animosity from the fans to the player.

He was still held in high esteem upon departure and was expected to become the lynchpin of Queens Park Rangers heavily funded promotion push. It didn’t work out that way in the end. Within the first few games of the season he had started his descent down an injury trail he would never recover from. Queens Park Rangers still managed to gain promotion and give Rob Hulse the last full couple of years of his footballing career in the Premier League where he admittedly struggled to get any game time at all.

The striker has officially hung his booths up now, and is thought to be going into physiotherapy. I guess you could say there is a little bit of irony in the whole thing, but I will leave that to the jokers. I just hope he goes on to be successful in whatever he decides to do.

What are you memories of Rob Hulse? Comment below.

image: © Ben Sutherland

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