WATN - Rob Hulse
Rob Hulse was born on the 25th October 1979 in Crewe.
He started his Crewe career at the age of 9 playing in the youth teams. He managed to impress throughout the years and was on the verge of a first team breakthrough when he suffered a severe spinal injury due to a growth spurt in his late teens. The injury was so bad that he couldn't even train.
When Rob eventually returned to fitness he was sent out on loan to Hyde United to gain some first team experience. While with the Tigers he scored 9 goals in 11 appearances. It was partly due to his success on loan that he made it into The Alex's first team.
His first match for The Railwaymen was in a 1-0 win over Norwich. His first goal came 3 appearances later in the 3-0 last day of the season thrashing of Barnsley.
He was the Alex's leading scorer in the 00/01 season scoring 11 goals and in the 01/02 season scoring 12 goals.
In the 02/03 season (the year after we were relegated) Hulse managed to net 27 times. His performances that season earned him the Player of the Year award and also a place in the PFA team of the year.
With the Alex achieving promotion, Rob rejected the offer of a new contract to further his career. This promoted Dario to put Hulse on the transfer list to cash in before he left on a free.
Hulse departed Crewe that summer in a £1m switch to West Brom after rejecting a move to Cardiff City.
Rob scored his first goal for West Brom in their 4-0 home win over Brentford. After the Christmas games he sustained a stomach injury, but played through the pain to make 19 more appearances for The Baggies.
During the 04/05 season Rob only managed a handful of appearances, mainly due to the arrival of Horsfield, Kanu and Earnshaw. During the last 3 months of the season Rob moved to Leeds United on loan, rejecting a permanent move to Stoke City. Hulse grabbed a brace for Leeds on his debut against Reading.
He was an instant fans favourite at Leeds and grabbed 6 goals in 13 appearances while on loan.
The successful loan move prompted Kevin Blackwell to pay £1.1m to get his services permanently.
The next season for Leeds ended with Hulse as the leading scorer for the club, scoring 20 goals in 51 games. However, with Leeds failing to gain promotion Hulse moved to Premiership side Sheffield United in a deal that could rise to £3m.
Hulse's first goal for The Blades came in a 1-1 draw against Liverpool on the opening day of the 06/07 season. Later in the season Rob sustained a horrific double fracture in his left leg after a collision with Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech. He was stretchered off and played no further part in the season.
Hulse returned to the first team squad in December 2007, some 9 months after the injury.
Rob has made 15 appearances so far for the Blades this season and so far has failed to score. Surely its only a matter of time before he's banging them in again.