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Bradford Bulls crisis timeline – 2012 to present
January 24, 2012: The Rugby Football League (RFL) announces it has bought Odsal from Bradford for an undisclosed sum, later revealed to be £1.25 million, and will lease the ground back to the club for a monthly rent. The governing body also claw £750,000 back in loans advanced to the Super League club.
March 27: Bradford chairman Peter Hood unveils an appeal for £1m after the club’s banker, RBS, cuts the Bulls overdraft facility. He warns £500,000 is needed by Good Friday.
April 5: Former Bradford chairman Chris Caisley calls an extraordinary general meeting to oust Peter Hood and co-director Andrew Bennett.
April 10: The club announces it has reached its initial target of £500,000 in pledges.
May 9: Peter Hood and Andrew Bennett formally resign from the board.
May 11: Former directors Stephen Coulby and Rowland Agar rejoin the Bradford board and former chairman Caisley, still a major shareholder, announces a strategic review.
June 2: Coulby reveals the club’s debts are worse than first thought and that a further £1.25m is needed.
June 13: Bradford files notice of intention to appoint administrators after HM Revenue & Customs threaten to issue a winding-up petition over an unpaid tax bill in excess of £300,000.
June 26: Club enters administration and joint administrator Brendan Guilfoyle says they have ten working days to find a buyer.
July 2: Mr Guilfoyle confirms the club is losing £100,000 a month and makes 16 redundancies, including head coach Mick Potter.
July 3: Former general manager Gary Tasker takes on the role of interim chief executive for expenses only.
July 8: The Bulls beat London 44-12 in front of members of the ABC Consortium, a group of Bradford Asian businessmen including Akbar’s managing director Shabir Hussain, who hold talks with Bradford Council leader David Green and chief executive Tony Reeves.
July 10: Mr Guilfoyle agrees to extend his deadline to find a buyer until July 27 on the condition that the RFL advances money to cover the wage bill.
July 19: The ABC Consortium makes an offer to buy the club on condition it is able to buy back the Odsal lease and receives a guarantee that Bradford will remain in Super League.
July 26: The RFL dismisses the ABC Consortium’s offer to the administrator, saying the conditions attached are unacceptable. A second consortium, fronted by Bradford South MP Gerry Sutcliffe and Bradford restaurateur Omar Khan, announces its intention to table a bid.
July 27: Guilfoyle agrees to further extend his deadline if the RFL pay the players’ wages for August.
August 1: A revised offer from the ABC consortium is rejected because of the strings attached.
August 2: Super League (Europe) announces it has submitted an offer to buy Bradford on behalf of the other Super League clubs.
August 31: The Bulls’ future is secured after the administrator confirmed the club has been sold to Khan’s consortium for £150,000.
September 12: Khan’s takeover of the club is ratified by the Rugby Football League. The Bulls agree to forfeit half of their central monies from the RFL for 2013 and 2014, with the money (£1.2million) shared out between the other 13 Super League clubs.
September 14: The Bulls are granted a probationary 12-month licence to stay in the top flight. The RFL chief executive, Nigel Wood, said: “A probationary licence allows us to closely monitor the performance of Bradford Bulls next season.”
September 17: Francis Cummins is named the club’s new coach on a three-year deal after Mick Potter heads home to Australia. Cummins signs Jamie Foster and Adam Sidlow on a permanent basis and Matty Blythe and Ben Evans on loan from Warrington.
December 8: Honorary Bulls chairman Gerry Sutcliffe admits defeat in the club’s bid to claw back central monies from the RFL for 2013. Sutcliffe said: “It’s gone but there is no use crying over it.”
February 3, 2013: The Bulls open their Super League campaign with a 40-6 home win over Wakefield in Cummins’ first game in charge.
March 7: Bradford businesswoman Jay Willey announces she is 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. She vows to bring a touch of “glitz and glamour” to the Bulls.
April 6: The Bulls climb to third in the Super League table after beating London Broncos 40-26 at Adams Park in round 11.
May 10: The Bulls are dumped out of the Challenge Cup at London Broncos on the day that Jay Willey announces she is walking away from the club. She said: “My reasons for this are a number of irrevocable differences between the board and I which has left me with no other course of action.”
May 25: The Bulls hold an Eighties Strikes Back concert at Odsal featuring Rick Astley. But it is estimated the club suffered losses of around £100,000.
June 21: Elliott Whitehead leaves the Bulls and joins Catalan Dragons after a fall-out with Francis Cummins led to him handing in a transfer request.
July 5: The Bulls’ season begins to unravel on the field and defeat at Wigan marks their ninth defeat in ten Super League games. Play-off hopes are fading fast.
September 25: Omar Khan steps down as owner of the Bulls citing “ill health”, paving the way for Mark Moore to take the reins along with Ryan Whitcut.
October 11: Ian Watt buys a stake in the club to become a co-owner alongside Mark Moore and Ryan Whitcut.
October 17: Andrew Calvert – like Watt, a lifelong fan – becomes the fourth shareholder to come on board at the Bulls.
November 1: Bradford-born prodigy John Bateman is sold to champions Wigan for a fee of around £70,000.
November 12: Ryan Whitcut is forced to quit the club after failing the governing body’s fit and proper persons test.
November 30: The Bulls deny its holding company is on the brink of administration after a new business – Bradford Bulls 2014 Limited – was set up. Robbie Hunter-Paul said: “We are trading as OK Bulls Ltd and we are moving forwards.”
December 5: Directors Mark Moore, Ian Watt and Andrew Calvert claim in a statement that “as each day goes by the board continues to receive more information detrimental to the stability of the business”. They say that £400,000 must be cut from the budget.
December 9: Omar Khan stresses that he is not taking legal action against the Bulls but against Mark Moore and Ryan Whitcut as the storm over the club’s ownership intensifies.
December 24: Moore, Watt and Calvert announce they are stepping down as directors and walking away from the Bulls after no agreement could be reached with Omar Khan over the club’s shareholding.
December 30: Talks aimed at resolving the ownership of the Bulls are described as “constructive” as it was revealed that Moore, Watt and Calvert were back running the club.
January 31, 2014: OK Bulls Ltd is placed into administration after no agreement could be reached to transfer the ownership of the club from majority shareholder Omar Khan into the hands of Bradford Bulls 2014 Ltd.
February 10: London-based businessman Richard Lamb reveals his plans to make an offer to buy the Bulls after speaking of his desire to transform the club’s fortunes and capitalise on its “iconic brand in rugby league”.
February 20: It is announced that Bradford Bulls 2014 Ltd have beaten off competition from Lamb and consortiums from Bradford Park Avenue and Bradford City to have their bid for the club accepted by the administrator.
February 25: The Bulls are docked six points as punishment for entering administration, prompting a dramatic walk-out by Calvert, Watt and Moore, who launches an astonishing attack on the RFL. In a 982-word diatribe, Moore claims the six-point penalty for entering administration and intention to put the club into special measures has made relegation a certainty. RFL boss Ralph Rimmer said: “Had Mr Moore not refused to honour the agreement he signed to buy the club from Mr Khan, Bradford Bulls would not be where they are today.” The war of wards continues and the club is back up for grabs.
March 1: Nick Scruton joins Wakefield and becomes the third player to leave the Bulls since the club entered administration, following in the footsteps of Garreth Carvell and Jarrod Sammut.
March 13: Salford Red Devils owner Dr Marwan Koukash declares himself “90 per cent confident” his wife Mandy’s bid for the Bulls will be accepted after the deadline for offers passes.
March 21: The London-based consortium fronted by Richard Lamb appear the clear favourites to take control of the club after his bid was accepted by the administrator.
March 24: It emerges that Lamb’s consortium failed to provide proof of funds to the RFL in time and he is effectively ruled out of the running to buy the Bulls.
March 26: Marc Green is announced as the new owner and chairman of the Bulls. Former Bradford Northern player Steve Ferres is appointed as managing director.
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