‘Worst possible time to be trying to sign players' – Sports lawyer on why Bradford Bulls will struggle to bolster squad with genuine quality

Loan trio Danny Bridge, pictured, Liam Sutcliffe and Anthony Mullally have all left the Bulls in quick succession

Loan trio Danny Bridge, pictured, Liam Sutcliffe and Anthony Mullally have all left the Bulls in quick succession

First published in Sport Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Bradford Bulls Reporter

As supporters vented their frustrations on message boards and social media following Monday’s club-record defeat at Wigan, one question kept cropping up.

When might the reinforcements that Bradford so desperately require materialise?

This is a squad decimated by injuries and alarmingly short of numbers, with Cummins forced to name four teenagers on the bench at the DW Stadium.

Since Marc Green took control of the club, only Jamal Fakir has arrived, while three loan players have gone back to their parent clubs in less than a month and the Bulls remain unable to sign overseas players as they await clearance from the RFL and the Border Agency.

Leading sports lawyer and agent Richard Cramer, of Leeds-based Front Row Legal, believes that recruitment is more difficult than ever due to the return of relegation.

“This is probably the worst time of the year now to sign players,” said Cramer.

“The big problem is that there isn’t a well of players that you can dig into over here.

“Super League squads are depleted anyway and a lot of kids are thrown in over the Easter period because of injuries and two games in four days.

“You’re then looking at the Australian market but NRL clubs aren’t going to let their best players go.

“If you’re going to pick up players from the NRL, you would probably have to question the quality of the players being released at this stage.”

Cummins has looked outside of Super League in the search for potential new faces.

Cramer said: “The problem in the Championship is that you are asking players to give up their full-time jobs.

“Take Liam Finn, who I represented for a number of years.

“It was important to Liam to become a full-time electrician and that took him two or three years.

“He was better off financially working as an electrician and playing part-time in the Championship.

“He’s now playing Super League but can go back to being an electrician.

“Most players in the Championship have got full-time jobs but every now and then you can pick up players."

Cramer says France is an emerging market for new players from clubs such as Toulouse.

He explained: “The French market is an interesting one because their competition is coming to an end. I believe it’s possible to tap into some good Antipodean players currently plying their trade there.”

Other options include loans, buying players and acquiring players who have been dual registered with a Championship club.

Cramer said: “Chris Green at Hull FC has just come back from injury and played for Doncaster against Sheffield at the weekend.

“Stuart Haworth played very well for Salford and was playing on dual reg for Barrow the week before.

“But the big problem you have also got now is that teams in the lower half of the table will be reluctant to let players go.

“Why would they potentially weaken their own position and strengthen another team around them when there is a period of relegation?

“I think relegation has been brought in a year too early. Another year would have allowed clubs to adjust.”

There is, of course, the prospect of the Bulls making an offer to buy a player.

“Money talks and I would imagine there is a fair bit of space on Bradford’s salary cap,” said Cramer.

“You could say to a player ‘look, we will put you on a two or three-year deal and pay you the same money whether we are in the Championship or Super League.’

“Danny Brough stuck with Castleford when they were outside of Super League because his contract was protected.

“At the same time, why would Bradford want to find themselves paying substantial wages to players if they are in the Championship?

“They don’t know what their income streams are going to be.

“Furthermore, any quality player is not going to put himself at risk of jeopardising his career to sign for a team who might well get relegated.

“All in all, it’s a very difficult situation and the dynamics of relegation are going to have a big impact. Players are only now beginning to realise it.”

So far, Bradford have focused on loan signings but Liam Sutcliffe, Anthony Mullally and Danny Bridge were all recalled by their parent clubs.

Cramer said: “Loan signings are no more than stop-gaps unless it’s on a fixed one-year deal with no recall.”

As a keen advocate of rugby league, Cramer is hoping the Bulls can win their fight against the drop.

He adds: “There are still enough points to fight for, but they need to reverse their performances and luck very quickly to turn this season around.”

Comments (8)

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9:57am Thu 24 Apr 14

Thee Voice of Reason says...

Omar Khan's statement, the creditors meeting. How did it all go?

Last year was the time to build foundations with no penalty for finishing bottom but the owner made it worse. Why some see Marc Green and FC are the reason Bulls are in this position is laughable. They can't spend money see them relegated then be stuck with massive contracts in the championship.

This club has twisted to many times in the past when it should have stuck, and that is why the club is where it is.

Now can we have details of what Khan said at the creditors meeting yesterday please as it was released by David Green on twitter that Business rates was another bill not being paid by OK Bulls.

How a sitting MP could be a director of a company that has defaulted to the local council and HMRC then expect to stand for re-election next year whilst trying to hit the government with soundbites of unfair cuts is quite frankly embarassing.
Omar Khan's statement, the creditors meeting. How did it all go? Last year was the time to build foundations with no penalty for finishing bottom but the owner made it worse. Why some see Marc Green and FC are the reason Bulls are in this position is laughable. They can't spend money see them relegated then be stuck with massive contracts in the championship. This club has twisted to many times in the past when it should have stuck, and that is why the club is where it is. Now can we have details of what Khan said at the creditors meeting yesterday please as it was released by David Green on twitter that Business rates was another bill not being paid by OK Bulls. How a sitting MP could be a director of a company that has defaulted to the local council and HMRC then expect to stand for re-election next year whilst trying to hit the government with soundbites of unfair cuts is quite frankly embarassing. Thee Voice of Reason
  • Score: 35

10:21am Thu 24 Apr 14

axelf1963 says...

OK owed money to lots of small businesses so how he was allowed to take bulls in first place a mystery Oh wait his nephew owned the shops Oh right
OK owed money to lots of small businesses so how he was allowed to take bulls in first place a mystery Oh wait his nephew owned the shops Oh right axelf1963
  • Score: 15

11:51am Thu 24 Apr 14

rogerthat! says...

Thee Voice of Reason wrote:
Omar Khan's statement, the creditors meeting. How did it all go?

Last year was the time to build foundations with no penalty for finishing bottom but the owner made it worse. Why some see Marc Green and FC are the reason Bulls are in this position is laughable. They can't spend money see them relegated then be stuck with massive contracts in the championship.

This club has twisted to many times in the past when it should have stuck, and that is why the club is where it is.

Now can we have details of what Khan said at the creditors meeting yesterday please as it was released by David Green on twitter that Business rates was another bill not being paid by OK Bulls.

How a sitting MP could be a director of a company that has defaulted to the local council and HMRC then expect to stand for re-election next year whilst trying to hit the government with soundbites of unfair cuts is quite frankly embarassing.
Voice. You have called it correct EMBARASSING. An MP involved in a scam to avoid paying the Council £200,000.00. Owing HMRC tax that was taken from all employees pay. Khan should keep his mouth shut and stop digging his big Hole. How can anyone try and defend these Characters. Full investigation required and legal action taken.
[quote][p][bold]Thee Voice of Reason[/bold] wrote: Omar Khan's statement, the creditors meeting. How did it all go? Last year was the time to build foundations with no penalty for finishing bottom but the owner made it worse. Why some see Marc Green and FC are the reason Bulls are in this position is laughable. They can't spend money see them relegated then be stuck with massive contracts in the championship. This club has twisted to many times in the past when it should have stuck, and that is why the club is where it is. Now can we have details of what Khan said at the creditors meeting yesterday please as it was released by David Green on twitter that Business rates was another bill not being paid by OK Bulls. How a sitting MP could be a director of a company that has defaulted to the local council and HMRC then expect to stand for re-election next year whilst trying to hit the government with soundbites of unfair cuts is quite frankly embarassing.[/p][/quote]Voice. You have called it correct EMBARASSING. An MP involved in a scam to avoid paying the Council £200,000.00. Owing HMRC tax that was taken from all employees pay. Khan should keep his mouth shut and stop digging his big Hole. How can anyone try and defend these Characters. Full investigation required and legal action taken. rogerthat!
  • Score: 18

12:09pm Thu 24 Apr 14

blue marlin says...

Come on T and A we dont need a hot shot sports brief to tell us that a super league player or somebody at halifax, fev or leigh is not going join the bulls as the could be relegated.
What i and i guess many others want to know is what is happening to stop the rot, and i know this is not Marc Green problem going forward but how and why did we get into the state in the first place?
Come on T and A we dont need a hot shot sports brief to tell us that a super league player or somebody at halifax, fev or leigh is not going join the bulls as the could be relegated. What i and i guess many others want to know is what is happening to stop the rot, and i know this is not Marc Green problem going forward but how and why did we get into the state in the first place? blue marlin
  • Score: 11

12:29pm Thu 24 Apr 14

BD16 says...

Thee Voice of Reason wrote:
Omar Khan's statement, the creditors meeting. How did it all go?

Last year was the time to build foundations with no penalty for finishing bottom but the owner made it worse. Why some see Marc Green and FC are the reason Bulls are in this position is laughable. They can't spend money see them relegated then be stuck with massive contracts in the championship.

This club has twisted to many times in the past when it should have stuck, and that is why the club is where it is.

Now can we have details of what Khan said at the creditors meeting yesterday please as it was released by David Green on twitter that Business rates was another bill not being paid by OK Bulls.

How a sitting MP could be a director of a company that has defaulted to the local council and HMRC then expect to stand for re-election next year whilst trying to hit the government with soundbites of unfair cuts is quite frankly embarassing.
If the meeting did actually happen it would probably have been behind closed doors. Would you want the world knowing what was said if you were Omar?

I think that Gerry might decide to spend more time with his family before the next election comes around.

What did Davey boy Green have to say about the rates? I don't do twitter.
[quote][p][bold]Thee Voice of Reason[/bold] wrote: Omar Khan's statement, the creditors meeting. How did it all go? Last year was the time to build foundations with no penalty for finishing bottom but the owner made it worse. Why some see Marc Green and FC are the reason Bulls are in this position is laughable. They can't spend money see them relegated then be stuck with massive contracts in the championship. This club has twisted to many times in the past when it should have stuck, and that is why the club is where it is. Now can we have details of what Khan said at the creditors meeting yesterday please as it was released by David Green on twitter that Business rates was another bill not being paid by OK Bulls. How a sitting MP could be a director of a company that has defaulted to the local council and HMRC then expect to stand for re-election next year whilst trying to hit the government with soundbites of unfair cuts is quite frankly embarassing.[/p][/quote]If the meeting did actually happen it would probably have been behind closed doors. Would you want the world knowing what was said if you were Omar? I think that Gerry might decide to spend more time with his family before the next election comes around. What did Davey boy Green have to say about the rates? I don't do twitter. BD16
  • Score: 3

12:39pm Thu 24 Apr 14

Thee Voice of Reason says...

BD16 wrote:
Thee Voice of Reason wrote: Omar Khan's statement, the creditors meeting. How did it all go? Last year was the time to build foundations with no penalty for finishing bottom but the owner made it worse. Why some see Marc Green and FC are the reason Bulls are in this position is laughable. They can't spend money see them relegated then be stuck with massive contracts in the championship. This club has twisted to many times in the past when it should have stuck, and that is why the club is where it is. Now can we have details of what Khan said at the creditors meeting yesterday please as it was released by David Green on twitter that Business rates was another bill not being paid by OK Bulls. How a sitting MP could be a director of a company that has defaulted to the local council and HMRC then expect to stand for re-election next year whilst trying to hit the government with soundbites of unfair cuts is quite frankly embarassing.
If the meeting did actually happen it would probably have been behind closed doors. Would you want the world knowing what was said if you were Omar? I think that Gerry might decide to spend more time with his family before the next election comes around. What did Davey boy Green have to say about the rates? I don't do twitter.
He was asked if the council were attending the creditors meeting. He said yes for unpaid buisness rates.

Also Omar Khan was very public in the T&A on more than one occasion with regards to highlighting this meeting and releasing a statement with regards to it, so I don't think it is something that was to remain behind closed doors the way he was acting in the press prior to the meeting.
[quote][p][bold]BD16[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Thee Voice of Reason[/bold] wrote: Omar Khan's statement, the creditors meeting. How did it all go? Last year was the time to build foundations with no penalty for finishing bottom but the owner made it worse. Why some see Marc Green and FC are the reason Bulls are in this position is laughable. They can't spend money see them relegated then be stuck with massive contracts in the championship. This club has twisted to many times in the past when it should have stuck, and that is why the club is where it is. Now can we have details of what Khan said at the creditors meeting yesterday please as it was released by David Green on twitter that Business rates was another bill not being paid by OK Bulls. How a sitting MP could be a director of a company that has defaulted to the local council and HMRC then expect to stand for re-election next year whilst trying to hit the government with soundbites of unfair cuts is quite frankly embarassing.[/p][/quote]If the meeting did actually happen it would probably have been behind closed doors. Would you want the world knowing what was said if you were Omar? I think that Gerry might decide to spend more time with his family before the next election comes around. What did Davey boy Green have to say about the rates? I don't do twitter.[/p][/quote]He was asked if the council were attending the creditors meeting. He said yes for unpaid buisness rates. Also Omar Khan was very public in the T&A on more than one occasion with regards to highlighting this meeting and releasing a statement with regards to it, so I don't think it is something that was to remain behind closed doors the way he was acting in the press prior to the meeting. Thee Voice of Reason
  • Score: 4

12:46pm Thu 24 Apr 14

Scrouge says...

Watched Green on Boots and All. Would love to listen in to conversations with Franny. He looked and sounded miserable and did not seem up for the challenge. Time will tell. Believe he admires Ken Bates, he was good at hiring and Firing so tick tock Franny.
Watched Green on Boots and All. Would love to listen in to conversations with Franny. He looked and sounded miserable and did not seem up for the challenge. Time will tell. Believe he admires Ken Bates, he was good at hiring and Firing so tick tock Franny. Scrouge
  • Score: 6

12:53pm Thu 24 Apr 14

Thee Voice of Reason says...

This is a direct quote from Omar Khan from the linked news story printed in this very paper.

http://www.thetelegr
aphandargus.co.uk/ne
ws/11150956.Former_B
radford_Bulls_owner_
Omar_Khan_to_speak_o
ut_on_demise_of_OK_B
ulls_Limited/

“It should be noted that at my request, and at my cost, the administrator has convened an initial creditors’ meeting for Wednesday, April 23, 2014.

“Following this meeting, I shall issue a further press release, as appropriate.”

So there you have it, although it wouldn't be the first time he promised something and didn't deliver.
This is a direct quote from Omar Khan from the linked news story printed in this very paper. http://www.thetelegr aphandargus.co.uk/ne ws/11150956.Former_B radford_Bulls_owner_ Omar_Khan_to_speak_o ut_on_demise_of_OK_B ulls_Limited/ “It should be noted that at my request, and at my cost, the administrator has convened an initial creditors’ meeting for Wednesday, April 23, 2014. “Following this meeting, I shall issue a further press release, as appropriate.” So there you have it, although it wouldn't be the first time he promised something and didn't deliver. Thee Voice of Reason
  • Score: 12

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