Craig Farrell’s Column: Bulls demise is tragic

Bradford Bulls players celebrate to the fans after beating Wigan during the Stobart Super League match at the DW Stadium
Bradford Bulls players celebrate to the fans after beating Wigan during the Stobart Super League match at the DW Stadium
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With news of Bradford Bulls entering administration late last week there is the very real possibility that one of the biggest and most illustrious clubs in rugby league faces extinction.

In March this year the Bulls announced that they needed £1 million to ensure their survival for the remainder of the season, with over half of that amount being raised within a week by fans and the wider rugby league community. However, since that time it has emerged that the Bulls financial troubles run deeper than first estimated.

Despite an incredible victory over table-toppers, Wigan Warriors on Friday evening, the dire straits which the Odsal club currently finds itself in worsened on Monday when joint-administrator Brendan Guilfoyle confirmed that 16 members of staff, including head coach Mick Potter and his back room staff, have been removed from their positions.

“I was left with no alternative but to make these redundancies,” said Guilfoyle, continuing, “I’m hoping to put some interim measure in place to ensure that the club can continue to fulfil their fixtures.”

With no coaching team in place and no way of financing a new one, Guilfoyle is looking for alternatives.

“I’m hoping to find someone to come in for the short-term who would be willing to work for nothing,” he said.

“The attitude of all the staff was absolutely magnificent given the circumstances and I really hope I can find a backer and who knows they could come back.”

However that statement appears to be at odds with the sentiments of departing head coach, Mick Potter who vented his frustrations:

“There’s something going on here, there’s something not right about what’s happening.”

When asked whether he felt he had been stabbed in the back, Potter responded strongly: “Stabbed in the front. I feel let down and deceived about what has been going on. We kept being told about potential investors and that we were close and all the time it was shit. It’s a disgrace.”

Potter also revealed that he had been asked to continue in his role until the end of the season, unpaid. His response: “That’s impossible... I felt embarrassed for the person who asked the question.”

I don’t wish to make light of the situation at Odsal, particularly as I have a very good friend directly affected by the job losses, but one comment I read on a social networking site seemed to sum up the current situation: “not even Mick’s brother, Harry could get the Bulls out of this mess.”

The financial crisis and loss of jobs at the Bulls is a tragedy, with many loyal servants of the club now wondering where their next mortgage payments will be coming from. The fate of Bradford Bulls may well be sealed before the week is out with the club being wound-up a very real and harrowing possibility.

Finally, a quick mention for one of the local area’s junior teams now, Yorkshire Coast Titans U13s who are having a superb season. They currently lie second in their division having also had an excellent cup run, defeating several teams from higher divisions along the way. Stand-out performers for the Titans this season have been Josh Pickering and Sadid Syed from Graham School, and Tom Burton, Joe Halliday and Adam Haxby from Filey School. Well done on your fine season so far and good luck for the rest of the year.

Unfortunately there’s no time in this week’s column for a suggested new feature to increase my female readership ‘Rugby League Hunks’ but if you’ve got any suggestions of who should be included in this feature, or any comments or questions related to any aspect of rugby league, please email them to at farrellsforum@hotmail.com