Bradford Bulls need to find £1.2m to avoid liquidation
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
Wednesday 27 June 2012
Bradford Bulls, the club synonymous with the birth of Super League and summer rugby 15 years ago, will be liquidated at the end of next week if they cannot find £1.2m to keep going to the end of the season.
The Bulls went into administration yesterday and the firm in charge of the rescue bid painted a gloomy picture of their prospects.
"If there is anyone interested in buying the Bulls we need to hear from them right now, because this famous club is on the brink of extinction," said Brendan Guilfoyle of the insolvency specialists P&A Partnership. "We now have just 10 working days to save the club, because there is no funding to carry on any longer."
The Bulls went to their supporters with a begging bowl, for £500,000, in order to stay alive last month. Such is the resentment over that now that it is unlikely to work again.
There have been numerous rumours of consortia, including the club's former chairman, Chris Caisley, waiting in the wings. None came forward in time for yesterday's deadline and it is now thought likely that any potential bidder will wait to pick up the pieces from the club's liquidation.
The problem is that by then a number of the key players will have been sold by the administrator, to make a start on balancing the books.
Warrington have a big cash offer on the table for John Bateman, the England Academy captain; his fellow back-rower Elliot Whitehead and others would be attractive prospects for Super League clubs.
When Wakefield spent a week in administration before the 2011 season, they lost three players. They have regrouped under new ownership to be a much better-run club.
Wakefield were docked four points then but the Rugby Football League could impose tougher sanctions on any re-formed Bulls. It could revoke their Super League licence, which was extended for three years from this season despite an inspection of the club's finances.
Among scant crumbs of comfort for the club's fans is the fact that the RFL owns the Odsal ground and is hardly likely to evict what was once its flagship club.
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