Bradford Bulls ask fans to raise £1m or club will fold

 

Bradford Bulls, not long ago the dominant club in Super League, are "at death's door" and will go out of business unless they can raise £1m. The Bulls said yesterday that unless supporters came up with half of that amount by early next month, the Good Friday derby against Leeds could be the last match at Odsal.

"I don't think the situation could be more critical," said the club's chairman, Peter Hood. "Without the oxygen of cash in our bloodstream, we cannot operate."

The immediate cause of the Bulls' woes is that their overdraft facility at the Royal Bank of Scotland has been drastically reduced. They appeared to have found a sounder footing when the Rugby Football League bought the lease to Odsal in January.

"We are at death's door and can only carry on for two and a half weeks," said the director Andrew Bennett.

The Bulls are asking every spectator to donate £100 to keep them alive.

"The response in the first few hours has been fantastic," said the club's chief executive, Ryan Duckett. "If everyone donated £100, it would go a long way towards meeting our target." Duckett added that current and past players had been among the first to contribute.

The RFL's Blake Solly said: "We would urge everyone who cares about the Bradford Bulls to support the pledge call. The League will continue to provide all the assistance and support it can."

The RFL has the power to impose a points deduction – usually six – on a club going into administration. More drastically, it can revoke a club's Super League licence if it proves incapable of fulfilling its fixtures.

If there is any consolation for Bradford fans with very long memories, it is that they have been here before. The original Bradford Northern club folded in the 1963-64 season, rising under a new company in time for the following campaign. If the worst came to the worst, the same could happen now. The RFL's ownership of Odsal ensures that a reconstituted club would at least have somewhere to play.

It is still an alarming situation for a famous club. Nobody embraced the concept of summer rugby more successfully than Bradford, who invented much of the razzmatazz that now accompanies the game. The Bulls won four Super League titles, along with World Club Championships and Challenge Cups, but financial reality bit with the loss of key players and a ruinous determination to beat Leeds to the signature of Iestyn Harris.

The result has been a team in transition, which has missed the cut for the play-offs for the last three season. The Bulls are currently eighth in Super League.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions