Richard Hercock: Give fans chance to vote on the ones they want out of here

Jimmy Bullard.
Jimmy Bullard.
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Hull City fans might have been left thinking they had seen that guy in I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here somewhere before.

Harsh? Well, Jimmy Bullard, the Tigers’ one-time £5m record signing, did only make 18 league starts such was the horrible injury problems the midfielder endured.

He arrived in Hull on a lucrative contract in the January transfer window in 2009, but suffered a serious knee injury which would rule him out for nine months.

When he did play, he was a terrific footballer, but those days were not often enough and he moved on to Ipswich Town in 2011 and finally called time on his career the following year.

I had totally forgotten about him until he became the latest sportsman/woman to turn up in the TV reality show.

Watching this show is my guilty pleasure, and I find it quite interesting to see ‘celebrities’ starving on a diet of beans and rice as I sit tucking into my tub of ice cream.

Even in my job, it is tough to really get to know sporting personalities, so watching the likes of Willie Carson, Eric Bristow, Rebecca Adlington and Fatima Whitbread over the years has been really enlightening.

Even snooker’s Steve Davis – whom I have had the pleasure of meeting at the Crucible covering the World Championship for over a decade – showed a different facet to what we see in the sporting arena.

So we come to Bullard. Putting my cards on the table, I never had much time for him as a footballer, but in the jungle he came across as a really funny guy, bundles of energy, and the camp’s joker.

Everyone loved him, and he was the bookies’ favourite to win, until a clash with another contestant, former X Factor contestant Jake.

Jimmy ripped in to Jake in a manner which I felt bordered on bullying, such was the abuse he was handing out. The former footballer insists it was “banter” and the TV show was unfairly edited. He probably has a point on that matter.

But it was possibly a little insight into the ‘banter’ that can go on inside the dressing room of football clubs around the country.

Bullard is 36 now, but still comes across as the guy who always has to have the last word in an argument, and wants to be top dog.

But his row with Jake definitely turned the public against him, and Bullard was promptly voted off the TV show by the unimpressed public.

That got me to thinking, how football clubs should introduce a supporters’ vote when it comes to making substitutions at games.

How many times have you wanted the nippy little winger to come on, and instead the manager brings in ‘Mr Reliable’ to sit in front of the defence to protect his 0-0 scoreline?

We could have a buzzer under every seat, and press what number we want to vote for.

We could even extend it so we also vote for the player we want to be hauled off and sent for an early bath, and also run a text vote during the week to choose the starting line-up. A real money-maker, that one.

Now that would be taking football to the community...