Dannie Bulman on why he kept coming back to Crawley Town and winning four promotions in six seasons

Dannie Bulman has loved every minute of playing for Crawley Town - and there have been a lot minutes he has played!

The 42-year-old has played than 420 games for the club and after a stint of coaching, he is now helping Keith Murray on the commercial side of things at the People’s Pension Stadium.

After his glittering Reds career has come to an end, we caught up with ‘Bully’ to talk about the highlights of his three different spells at the club he calls home.

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Dannie started his career at Ashford Town before he played 202 games for Wycombe Wanderers. From there he joined Stevenage and after 80 games for them he joined Crawley on loan in 2006.

Dannie Bulman in action in the 2017/2018 season after returning to the club for the third time

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John Hollins was the gaffer and after impressing in that spell, caretaker bosses David Woozley and Ben Judge signed him on a permanent basis.

And he remembers the day he signed well. Bulman said: “Had a lovely negotiation with the then owners in one of their restaurants over a fish finger sandwich.”

And not long after Steve Evans joined as manager and that’s when things changed for Dannie.

He said: “Steve came in and from the get go he wasn’t having any of the current squad, he didn’t think we were any good. The season before we just managed to stay up.

“Evans and Paul Raynor came bouncing through the door barking out the orders.

“I remember him saying ‘once we get you fit, you could be a player’. I thought ‘are you winding me up?

“I am running rings round everyone in training and out-running them all, you cheeky…you know’.

“I almost had to prove myself to Steve Evans. I was on the bench and at that stage of my career I was not used to it.

“It took a few weeks for me to get back in the team. I was then doing well and Oxford came knocking and their expectation so League football matched mine, and it was a much better opportunity to achieve that.

“I said to Steve, ‘if they came in for you you would leave in a heartbeat.’ It was nothing personal I just wanted to play League football.

“Steve came out and said Oxford have blew Crawley out of the water for wages and stuff like that. That came back to bite him on the bottom because when I came back again he had to up my wages even more!

“When I came back on loan I don’t think we lost a game in that period and it was a no brainer for them to resign me and the club was a different animal then. It had so much momentum.

“I knew they had spent some money. They had signed Richard Brodie for an extortionate amount of money, Matt Tubbs, Sergio Torres and the likes.”

It was an incredible period not just for Crawley, but for Bulman himself.

In six years he won four promotions - once with Oxford, twice with Crawley and once with AFC Wimbledon.

“That period was crazy for me. I was over 30 at the time. It was not only my best period at Crawley on the pitch at Crawley bit also off the pitch because of the characters we had.

“David Hunt, Scott Shearer, Sergio, Josh Simpson, John Dempster was a character, Tubbsy, Cooky [Jamie Cook], James Dance who came in, even the fringe players were part of it as well.

“There was always something happening.”

After leaving the Reds in that spell, he joined AFC Wimbledon, played 121 games, before coming back in 2017.

So what was it that kept bringing him back?

“I felt at home as soon as I came through the door” he said. “As soon as I joined on loan from Stevenage first time round, I felt very at ease.

“I never had to get myself up for playing for Crawley, if that makes sense.

“I felt at home and very comfortable and have loved every minute.

“It’s been a pleasure. Every time I wore the Red Devils shirt it’s been a pleasure.

“The Crawley fans have always been welcoming to me even though I have come and gone like a boomerang.

“Every time I left to go elsewhere it wasn’t to do with the fans or the club.”