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Jay Willey adds some sparkle to Bradford Bulls
Bradford businesswoman Jay Willey is poised to join the board of directors at the Bulls after agreeing to pump a “six-figure” fee into the club in return for a significant shareholding.
The 41-year-old from Holme Wood owns the European arm of cosmetics firm Kroma, which is currently embroiled in a high-profile legal battle with the Kardashian family, and has vowed to bring a touch of “glitz and glamour” to the Bulls.
A lifelong fan, Willey approached Omar Khan after his purchase of the club last September and discussions began over a potential role at the Provident Stadium.
The deal is expected to be rubber-stamped within the next month and follows yesterday’s news that fans will soon be able to buy shares in the club.
Willey, who lives in Cleckheaton and has two daughters, said: “I’ve known Omar for a while and was delighted when he bought the Bulls.
“I’m very passionate about the club and have been helping out on a voluntary basis with ideas for drumming up corporate sales and have taken out a couple of advertising boards for my business at the stadium.
“This was done with a view to coming on board as a director and I’m really excited about it.
“I’ve known other people who have grown up in Bradford and done well for themselves but invested their money elsewhere.
“I’m happy to put my money into the club and help put Bradford back on the map because there has been enough doom and gloom here in recent times.
“A lot of the retail outlets are closing, a lot of the nice wine bars and restaurants we had are closing, and I want to give something back – starting with the Bulls.
“The corporate hospitality taking place at the club is already bringing people back into the city.
“Rugby has been predominantly a man’s game but I want to inject some glitz and glamour into rugby league and specifically the Bulls. I’m hoping to be on board officially later this month or early April.”
Willey does not expect to make an immediate return on her investment but believes she will reap the rewards over the long term.
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t expect to make any money,” admitted Willey, who said she was looking forward to working with non-executive director Kate Hardcastle.
“But it’s a long-term commitment because I know it’s going to take time.
“I want to see the club grow on and off the field and this kind of investment can help achieve that.
“We’re very family orientated and at the moment we’re looking at some new disabled facilities being installed.
“For me it’s about giving something back to the fans because they were so incredibly supportive during the club’s financial troubles last year.
“Ultimately, we want to see the Bulls competing with the bigger clubs again.
“There are two types of people in this world – those that do and those that don’t. I’m one of those who do.”
Khan will remain the largest stakeholder, and it is yet to be revealed what stake Willey will purchase and what percentage of shares will be available to fans.
Bulls general manager Ryan Whitcut said: “It’s fantastic news that Jay, a true Bradfordian, has voiced her intention to invest both time and money into the club.
“It has always been Omar’s plan to make part of the Bradford Bulls available to the Bradford community and our loyal supporters.”
Meanwhile, Bulls coach Francis Cummins yesterday named an unchanged 19-man squad for tomorrow’s trip to Widnes but will check on the fitness of several players carrying “bumps and bruises”.