Francis Cummins, the Bradford coach, was busy drawing up a shopping list on Wednesday after the Bulls finally found a new owner. Local businessman Marc Green finalised a deal to buy the Super League club from the administrators and, after being approved by the Rugby Football League, outlined his plans to turn around their fortunes.
Cummins’ team are bottom of the table on minus two points after having six docked for going into administration and Green says his priority is to avoid relegation to the Championship.
Having lost three key players – Nick Scruton, Garreth Carvell and Jarrod Sammut – to rival Super League clubs as a direct consequence of their financial troubles, the Bulls desperately need reinforcements and Cummins has not ruled out making signings in time for Sunday’s match at Widnes.
“It’s very early,” Cummins said. “There are a few other things he needs to sort in the first three hours of owning a club. But I’m sure before it gets to 10 hours we’ll be looking at that. I don’t know if I’m a millionaire or if we have to find another way.
“I’ve got all kinds of lists. I’ve been almost playing fantasy football manager for the past three months, looking at who I’d like and who’s available.
“We need some numbers. I’ve got people from other clubs asking if we are after certain positions, which shows that it’s not that hard.”
Because it will take time for the UK Border Agency certificate to be transferred to the new company, Bradford Bulls Northern Ltd, Cummins is likely to restrict his immediate recruitment to domestic players. “Enquiries are going on now,” he said. “There is a cut-off on Thursday and we’re looking at that now.”
Green, managing director of Leeds-based Safeguard Security Group, fended off competition from a London-based consortium and Mandy Koukash, wife of Salford’s chairman Marwan Koukash, and bids from the two local football clubs, Bradford City and Bradford Park Avenue.
An “angry” Marwan Koukash claimed there had been a lack of contact from the parties involved in the sale of the club after his wife’s interest came to light, while Mandy revealed she had failed in a renewed late bid for the club. “Well done to Mr Green,” she tweeted. “Very disappointed with the outcome, twice I attempted to increase my bid.”
The 48-year-old Green will be the sole shareholder but may appoint other directors. He assured Cummins that his job is safe and is also keeping on former club captain Robbie Hunter-Paul as chief executive, with Steve Ferres, another former Bradford player who has held the posts of chief executive at Wakefield and Castleford, appointed as the club’s managing director.
The Bulls have been in administration for the last eight weeks but their financial difficulties stretch back two years and Cummins was among the club staff who were made redundant by the original administrator in the summer of 2012.
“[The takeover] was a nice little present for us all,” he said. “We’ve been in a tumble drier for a while, being thrown all over the place. There were a few more smiles. It was a bit of closure for them.”