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T&A Sports Comment: Green shoots of recovery at last for Bradford Bulls
SIZE MATTERS: The new Bulls board will be desperate to arrest the slide in crowd numbers at Odsal, which have flagged alarmingly this season. Even the big derby with Huddersfield, pictured, attracted just 6,781 fans
We all fervently hope that the unveiling of Marc Green as the Bulls’ new owner will herald a bright new era for the club.
Yesterday’s news brought relief from all parties, though celebrations could best be described as muted – understandable after the number of false dawns that fans have endured during the last few months.
This second financial crisis to engulf the club in two years rapidly degenerated into a circus, with chaos and confusion the overriding emotions of Bradford supporters.
No sooner did a glimmer of hope appear on the horizon (Mark Moore is granted his wish of a Bulls takeover, Richard Lamb’s bid is approved) than the skies darkened once more (Moore walks away from the club amidst a barrage of controversy, Lamb fails to meet the deadline to provide proof of funds), throwing the fight for ownership back into the melting pot.
The club seemed to have been infected by an outbreak of mud-slinging between warring factions, with threats of legal action from, at the last time of counting, Omar Khan against Mark Moore and Ryan Whitcut, Moore against the RFL and Marc Green against sections of the local and national media.
Every week seemed to provide a turn of events even more damaging than the one before.
The unfortunate by-product of two farcical months is the effect it has had on players, staff, management and fans, who have had to watch helplessly from the sidelines.
We can only hope that Green’s appointment will not only bring some financial stability to the club but also begin the process of improving the relationship between the fans and those at board level, which sunk to new lows during the previous failed regimes.
There is only a finite amount of torment fans can take and, it’s fair to say, the Odsal faithful have had their fill.
Green, who begins his tenure with a clean slate, must address this issue of a lack of transparency from on high.
Worryingly, on his first day at the helm, he was unavailable for interview.
The weary fans are at the end of their tether and openness is the least they deserve, for it is these very same people who, through the purchase of season tickets, hold the key to turning the club’s fortunes around. Without them on board, the Bulls’ fortunes will struggle to pick up.
We have been stuck in a Groundhog Day these last few months. Fans must have lost count of the number of times we have printed the headline “Bulls takeover nearing completion”, only for the rug to be pulled from beneath the club’s feet.
This time we appear to have had a resolution and for that we are grateful.
No longer is the club rudderless. Robbie Hunter-Paul is to remain as chief executive and the senior management team has been bolstered by the appointment of Steve Ferres as managing director.
It is hoped the triumvirate will immediately begin work on sanctioning funds for new signings in the hope that the shadow over the Bulls’ survival prospects begins to diminish.
It may take time but, if everyone now pulls together, there is no reason why the Bulls shouldn’t be gracing Super League once again next season.
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