Sheffield Wednesday: Bullen brought to book

Lee Bullen with the play-off final trophy after victory at Cardiff
Lee Bullen with the play-off final trophy after victory at Cardiff

Readers may have realised already that I’m always up for a bit of nostalgia, writes Paul Thompson.

When humdrum matters dominate the present, what better relief than a heart-warming tale?

Lee Bullen certainly has a story to relate and is joining the ranks of the football authors.

He tells me that no-one should expect any scandal or skeletons in the cupboard to feature in his forthcoming autobiography: “Wonder kids write books and scandal helps to sell them; mine is different; at least it will help to put people to sleep at night!”

He is far too modest.

The initiative for the book did not come from him: he was approached and agreed to do it.

And his is a remarkable tale, with a foot in the present because he is currently employed by the club to help develop players of the future.

Bullen wasn’t even the best player in his school; he played part-time football in Scotland, worked in the arrears and repossessions department of a building society, played in Greece, Australia and China, where he played against England; went back to Scotland, to Dunfermline, moved to Hillsborough and played in every position for the Owls, including emergency goalkeeper.

The Wednesday highlight was, of course, captaining the club to the play-off final victory against Hartlepool in front of 40,000 Owls fans at the Millennium Stadium.

He became assistant manager of Falkirk and has an honours degree in sports media and broadcasting, as well as being a qualified coach.

“It just shows the different paths a career can take,” says Bullen. “I’m lucky enough to have travelled the world, and generally made a half-decent living, and ended up lifting a trophy for a massive club. That would never have happened if I’d stayed in Scotland.”

These days the 42-year-old is Owls development squad coach and co-director of an estate agency.

Bullen has been an inspirational character on and off the field in his times with Wednesday. His experiences with the Owls form the book’s centrepiece.

No Bull – The Lee Bullen Story, by Lee Bullen with Alan Biggs, is being published in hardback by Vertical Editions, price £16.99, and will be launched on September 28.