Bradford Bulls find strength in numbers as new co-owner revealed (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Bradford Bulls find strength in numbers as new co-owner revealed
Lifelong Bulls fan Ian Watt, from Cullingworth, has come on board at the Provident Stadium after ploughing in funds to become the club’s third shareholder.
The 38-year-old’s family own Keighley-based businesses Advanced Solutions, an audio-visual firm, and Designer Yarns, a textile company.
Watt has followed the Bulls since childhood and has bought a stake in the club to become a co-owner alongside Mark Moore and Ryan Whitcut, who said that further talks are taking place with potential investors.
Watt has been involved with the club during the past 12 months, with his Advanced Solutions company responsible for the sound system at the Provident Stadium.
As when Moore’s investment was announced a fortnight ago, no figures are being made public, but father-of-four Watt said: “I’ve been involved with the club for the best part of a year now through running the sound system at Odsal.
"Some of the events we did for nothing to help the club get up and running and some things we charged for, but did it as cheaply as possible to help the club get going.
“I’ve also been involved in player and game sponsorship, so to have this opportunity now is brilliant for me and my family.
“My grandfather and my father supported Northern and now my kids follow the Bulls, right down to my two-year-old coming to the games. It’s very exciting to be involved.
“We need to make the club successful on the field and to do that we’ve got to have a strong team running the club off it.”
Watt will work closely alongside Whitcut, Moore and chief executive Robbie Hunter-Paul on a daily basis to help build the club and increase attendances.
“We’ve had the crowds before but that was because we were successful on the field,” said Watt.
“The potential is there for all to see and that’s what we’re trying to get back to.
“The more investment we can put into the infrastructure of the club, the more we can strengthen the team.
“Rugby is the core business but you need other things as well.
“I remember the speedway here and there was always something going on at the club.
“It wasn’t necessarily rugby-focused and that’s an approach we can see now with the Monster Trucks event we are holding.
“The club has made good steps forward but now it’s time to regroup and push it on again.
“That’s what Ryan and Mark are trying to do – move things forward with the right people.
“Success breeds success and if you’re successful on the field then the ticket sales start going up.
“Then you start attracting some of your supporters who maybe aren’t as committed as your core 7,000.
“They will start coming back, whether they are paying on the gate or buying season-tickets.”
With the money being spent on new recruits, backroom staff and the training facility at Tong, Watt is confident the team can make the play-offs next year.
He added: “If we can’t get into the top eight next year then we’re doing something wrong.
“It’s important we do that because that’s where the stability of the club lies.
“Success encourages more people to come here and spend on the bars and in the shop.
“It’s a knock-on effect so that’s where they need to be. We’ve got to get into the top eight.”
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