Ayr United appoint Sheffield Wednesday legend Lee Bullen to first manager's role

Ayr United have appointed former Dunfermline and Falkirk player Lee Bullen as their new manager, replacing Jim Duffy at Somerset Park.

Ayr United's new manager Lee Bullen is pictured at Somerset Park on January 07, 2022. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Ayr United's new manager Lee Bullen is pictured at Somerset Park on January 07, 2022. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

Bullen leaves his coaching role with Sheffield Wednesday, where he is a cult hero among the Hillborough fans, to take over at the Honest Men in his first senior management role.

The 50-year-old has been coaching at the Yorkhire club, most recently in the Academy as under-23 manager, since moving south from Falkirk in 2011, but has also worked with the Owls’ first-team and stepped in to the dugout as caretaker on three separate occasions – winning seven of those 15 games in charge.

Ayr teased his impending announcement on social media but Wednesday confirmed his departure at lunchtime, revealing Bullen had moved on to become Ayr’s third manager this season, succeeding Jim Duffy who was sacked in December after assuming the reins from David Hopkin earlier in the season.

The Honest Men are seventh, four point from the bottom of a tightly packed cinch Championship and host league leaders Arbroath on Saturday.

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Bullen’s extensive experience with Wednesday complements the coaching career which began at Falkirk – he moved into a senior role assisting his Bairns team-mate turned manager Steven Pressley, alongside Scottish football veteran Alex Smith, in 2010.

It ended a playing career which took in spells in Australia, Hong Kong, Scotland’s lower leagues, Dunfermline and most notably Wednesday where he is regarded as one of the club’s greatest ever captains.

He captained Paul Sturrock’s team to League One play-off promotion in 2005 and famously played in every position possible on the pitch – even taking the goalkeeper gloves from David Lucas against Millwall in 2006 to complete the unusual feat – one of 148 appearances before his exit in 2008.

After moving back to Scotland and into coaching with Falkirk he returned to Sheffield three years later and eventually returned to the training pitch while running a family estate agents business in the area.

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The 50-year-old also played for Stenhousemuir and Meadowbank Thistle as well as junior spells with Whitburn and Penicuik before his football career took him overseas.

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