Administrators battling to save Bradford Bulls from liquidation have been left disappointed after the only expression of interest in taking on the crisis-torn club has now been withdrawn.
The Telegraph & Argus reported yesterday how the rugby league club had finally admitted defeat over its bid to raise the funds needed to pay a huge tax bill. It was put into administration earlier this week with a deadline of ten working days given for a buyer to come forward to avoid liquidation.
Brendan Guilfoyle, who has been appointed joint administrator, told the T&A that he had taken a call from an interested party on Tuesday night. But yesterday he admitted that they were now back to square one.
He said: “I had an unsolicited expression of interest and then it was withdrawn. It’s disappointing, but we hope others will come forward.
“For the moment we are looking to stabilise things within the club, and then next week we may have to go knocking on a few doors.”
He said he was still hopeful that a solution could be found that would keep the club alive within the deadline and dismissed speculation that the Bulls would be able to finish the season as a new company even if the club goes into liquidation.
“This is a loss-making business,” he said. “As things currently stand, the club loses £100,000 a month.
“How is a supporters’ trust supposed to come up with that kind of money to take over the club straightaway?”
He reiterated that without a buyer coming forward by the end of next week, they did not have enough money in the bank to pay the players’ wages, a bill of around £260,000 a month. In addition the debts include a £250,000 VAT bill, and around £200,000 due in PAYE.
The boss of a catering firm which has been providing corporate hospitality at Odsal Stadium has also told the T&A that he is owed around £20,000 by the club for work which goes back to March. Trevor Landsdall, of County Caterers Special Events, said it had been continuing to provide pink champagne, canapes and a choice menu during home games and special dinners, but had insisted on being paid up front.
“We are still owed around £20,000 from earlier though,” he said. “It will hit us quite hard if we don’t get paid.
“We have had to stand staff wages and pay our suppliers.”
The company, which is based in Wakefield, has previously lost out when Wakefield Trinity Wildcats and Bradford City Football Club went into administration.
In addition the Bulls’ cheerleaders have not been paid. Robyn Morrison, who runs Panache, the cheerschool which trains the Bullettes, said the 12 girls had previously performed at five or six home games without pay before reluctantly deciding to take on an alternative paying job the day of the recent Wakefield Trinity clash.
“It’s not just about the money for us,” she said. “We’ve been helping to raise funds for the club and it would be devastating for the Bullettes if the club were to go into liquidation.”
Meanwhile the All Party Parliamentary Rugby League Group yesterday pledged its support.
Chairman of the Parliamentary Group, Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland, said: “This is a sad day. We urge all involved to find a way for Bradford to continue its proud history as a top-flight club.
“Members of the Parliamentary Rugby League Group are fans of the game as well as club representatives in Parliament and we have a singular remit – ‘to support the sport of rugby league football’. The Group's offer of support to the club, the RFL and Bradford City Council remains open.”