A wave of support has been flooding in to the Bradford Bulls following the cash-strapped Super League club’s pleas for help.
Pledges, fundraising efforts and offers of support have been pouring in from fans, players and staff at clubs from across the game.
On Tuesday the Bulls revealed the Good Friday visit of Leeds Rhinos could be their last-ever game at Odsal unless the club raised at least half of £1 million needed by mid-April.
Yesterday the Telegraph & Argus reported how fans had already donated almost £50,000, while negotiations with potential saviours had begun.
But offers of help continued to flood in yesterday including fans organising sponsored runs, a pledge from the Bradford-born Lord Mayor of the City of London David Wootton and Bulls winger Shaun Ainscough selling his shirt to the highest bidder on eBay.
Bulls football manager Stuart Duffy said: “We have been inundated with offers for help from loads of people and in particular ex-players of the club, such as Brian McDermott, Jamie Peacock and Stuart Fielden.”
Mr Duffy said Leeds Rhinos manager Mr McDermott had offered his Challenge Cup winner’s medal, along with the shirt he wore in the final, while Wigan Warriors player Mr Fielden, who is currently injured, was on the phones at Odsal yesterday ringing people to try to drum up support.
Mr Duffy said: “The response from other clubs has been absolutely amazing. We have had requests from all sorts of fans, saying how can we help, how can we donate? It’s actually taken our breath away.”
Lifelong Bulls fan Kenny Parsons, 26, originally of East Bowling, is planning a sponsored run from the Headingley Stadium, in Leeds, to Odsal for the match on Good Friday.
Mr Parsons said: “I had heard we have obviously been having some funding problems but it came as quite a bit of a shock to realise we have to find half-a-million pounds by a week on Friday or it might be the end of the club. I thought ‘I want to try and do something about this’ rather than just asking people to donate money.”
To make a donation, search on Facebook for Run For The Bulls or donate directly to the club and leave a Twitter message for @kennyidc11.
Mr Wootton, the Lord Mayor of the City of London, has made a pledge to the Bulls’ campaign.
He said: “As a lifelong Bradford fan, I am deeply saddened to see that the club is suffering severe financial difficulties. I remember my time on the terraces at Odsal with great fondness and still try to watch the team whenever possible. I wholeheartedly back the Bulls' fundraising drive and call on all fans of rugby league to help support this great institution.”
Bulls fan Craig Wood, 20, of Wibsey, has organised a sponsored scrum walk and game of tag rugby, to be held at Bowling Park from noon on Sunday.
Mr Wood said people were welcome to attend the event and join in either or both of the activities for £5. Contact Mr Wood on 07787 426611.