Uk news Jimmy Bullard's cheeky icebreaker caught me out says Ryan Stevenson PremierLeague-News.Com
PremierLeague-News.Com - There’s definitely a ‘first day at a new school’ feeling when you walk through the doors for the first time at a new club.
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! Hearts are heading to Spain for a pre-season training camp next week and it’s the best possible way for new boys to integrate into the squad and get to know their team-mates. Believe me, that can be a daunting prospect, no matter how confident you might appear to be on the outside. Walking into a new dressing room for the first time, particularly when you don’t know anybody, can make the legs turn to jelly and the butterflies are always churning in the stomach. I had it everywhere I went – but nothing will beat my first day at training with Ipswich after I left the first time in 2012. I knew nobody and I realised none of the boys would have a clue who I was, having come down from the SPL as it was then, and when I walked into the dressing room I was told my locker was right next to Jimmy Bullard’s. Read More Related Articles Transfer news LIVE as Rangers and Celtic plus Aberdeen, Hearts and Hibs eye signings Read More Related Articles Robbie Neilson hails 'incredible' Hearts season ticket sales as Jambos smash 16-year record Now, anyone who has seen Jimmy on telly and watched him play will know that Bullard isn’t the shy and retiring type. But as I made my way round the dressing room, shaking hands and introducing myself to my new team-mates, I was acutely aware that he was standing there watching my every move and saying nothing. Oh, and he was stark b****ck naked. Not a stitch on him. After about five minutes, I’d got round everyone apart from him and eventually had to introduce myself. Concentrating on maintaining eye contact, I said, ‘I’m Ryan, pleased to meet you Jimmy’. He said, ‘So you’re the Jock that’s come down from Scotland? You better be f***ing good to get in this team’. I was a bit taken aback, I’ll be honest. Then he burst out laughing, as did the rest of the boys. The ice was broken and thankfully he put on his training kit. I had just arrived in Ipswich but the club had sorted me out with a flat and when I arrived at it after training, the door was open and I walked in to find Jimmy sitting on my couch watching my telly. He had nicked the key out of my pocket in the locker, found out where I was staying and nipped away to get there before me. He was as mad as a hatter but what a guy to have in the dressing room. That was my funniest day-one encounter. My strangest was the day I joined the Jambos for the first time in 2010.
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. I kid you not – on day one I walked in and there were SIXTY-THREE signed players. There was the kind of established first team and then the next group of those on the fringes and younger players. Then there was a big group who didn’t even train but were just sent to the gym every day. That was the shambles inherited by Jim. And worse than that, I have never known a more fractured dressing room. The kitman ordering one of the foreign boys to clear his locker so I could use it didn’t help the situation much! There were Lithuanians all talking away to each other in one corner, Spanish and Portuguese lads in another and the Scots boys, who actually felt like they were in the minority. I remember reading that when Dick Advocaat went to Rangers and took a pile of Dutch players with him to Ibrox, he insisted that to have a unified changing room everyone had to speak English. I can assure you that wasn’t the case at Tynecastle at that time. All sorts of different languages were being spoken and there was no sense of unity whatsoever. Although I had played in Scotland all my life until then, I didn’t really know any of the Hearts local lads although I was aware of who boys like Ian Black and Mikey Stewart were, obviously. On day one, Mikey came over to me, put his arm around me and said, ‘welcome to the fun factory.’ But at least he was fully clothed! I can assure any new signings that Hearts have on the flight to Spain next week won’t have that problem. They’ll be finding themselves involved with a settled, unified group who have been together for a while now and have a proven record of integrating new arrivals quickly and making them feel happy and settled. Even the flight across will be helpful in getting to know team-mates before you even step on the training pitch. But that first session with your new team-mates is a nerve-wracker because football can be a brutal environment and I was always terrified of having a stinker on day one and then being regarded as a dud by the boys who had been there a while. After a couple of days, it always settles down. But there’s definitely a ‘first day at a new school’ feeling when you walk through the doors for the first time. But as long as Jimmy Bullard isn’t the headmaster, I’ve no doubt that any new boys boarding that flight to the Spanish sunshine with Hearts will be just fine.
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