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Lee Bullock hails comeback to York City
RETURNING midfielder Lee Bullock has signalled his intention to end his career at York City.
Bullock, 31, is back at Bootham Crescent 13-and-a-half years after making his professional debut for the Minstermen at the age of 17 in 1998 alongside the likes of Bobby Mimms, Richard Cresswell and Steve Agnew.
Since then, the Thornaby-born midfielder has represented Cardiff, Hartlepool and Bradford City and spent loan spells with Bury and Mansfield, but is hoping his latest move will prove his last in the game.
Speaking after agreeing terms on a one-year contract, Bullock told The Press: “It’s brilliant to be back. If there’s one place I wanted to come to, this was it.
“Ever since I left, York's has been the second result I have looked for after Middlesbrough – the team I support. But I think my mum and dad have kept on checking York’s results before mine.
“We all have good memories of the club and, when I came back to sign, I asked the manager if I could go out and look at the pitch straight away to remember the good times. We then talked for maybe five minutes before the contract was sorted.
“I started my career here and hopefully I will finish it here as well.”
Bullock will reacquaint himself with several familiar faces when the squad return for pre-season training next month, having played alongside Michael Ingham and Chris Smith during their first spells with the Minstermen.
But he is equally impressed with the other players recruited by manager Gary Mills, saying: “I asked about Chris Smith and Michael Ingham straight away and, of course, (physio) Jeff Miller is still here. Chris and Michael are obviously very good players but it’s not just about them.
“There is a team of winners here and I’ve told the manager that dressing rooms in League Two will not want to get York in the first game of the season. There’s a winning mentality here and a great team spirit.”
Bullock admitted it was a painful and unbelievable experience to watch the club slide out of the Football League from afar after he had moved on to Championship club Cardiff in a £100,000 deal in March 2004.
When he left, the club were in a relatively safe position but, with ten games left to go after Bullock’s departure, were in the middle of a run that would see them fail to win any of their last 20 matches.
“It was terrible to see that happen,” Bullock confessed.
“I ended up second top scorer that season with seven goals despite leaving the club in March, which sums up how bad things got.
“I would never have dreamt the club could go down when I went to Cardiff but the team got into a rut and never got out of it.
“There have been a few managers since and I’ve been watching the club’s progress closely over the last few years so it was great to see them do the FA Trophy and play-off final double last season.”
While City have endured eight campaigns in the Conference, their former apprentice has continued to ply his trade at Football League level.
He has spent the last four-and-a-half years at Bradford before being told last month that he would not be offered a new deal with the Bantams and there are two games that he will be immediately pencilling into his diaries when the fixtures are released a week on Monday.
On his experiences away from North Yorkshire, Bullock added: “Cardiff was great, then Hartlepool did not go as well. We got relegated and then promoted.
“I moved on to Bradford, which is a good club. I was a bit disappointed that things ended how they did but it’s ended up for the best because I am back at York now.
“I can’t wait for those games. I will be looking out for those fixtures and to win at Valley Parade would be great.”