Francis Cummins interview: Sacked Bradford Bulls boss has already begun job-hunting (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Francis Cummins interview: Sacked Bradford Bulls boss has already begun job-hunting
OVER two weeks have passed since Francis Cummins was summoned to Odsal to be told he was being sacked as Bulls head coach.
As well as carrying out a list of jobs around the house, he has had time to reflect on his tumultuous tenure.
Such introspection has merely strengthened his desire to return to the game and show people what he is made of.
“I’m not scarred by what has happened and I’m more determined to prove people wrong,” said the 37-year-old.
“I’ve got to be confident I’ll get another job somewhere.
“I don’t know how long that will be and there are other pressures on me as a family man that I will have to bring some money in eventually.
“I obviously have to work but it would have to be the right place and a club who shared the same ethics as me.
“If it did, I would look at it favourably. If there were some that didn’t, then I would have to be true to myself.
“That’s one of the positive things to come out of it – I didn’t change the way I was, I stuck to who I am.
“I know that’s the right way to go because you can’t pretend to be anybody else but yourself.”
When Cummins was appointed as Bulls head coach in September 2012, it marked the realisation of a dream.
At times, though, life in the Odsal hot-seat turned into a waking nightmare.
An ownership saga led to the club’s second administration in less than two years and saw players depart and a six-point penalty.
Marc Green’s purchase of the club in March encouraged hopes that Cummins’ squad would be boosted by several new recruits.
But Jamal Fakir, a free agent after being released by Catalan, was the only permanent signing.
Cummins, who worked without pay for three months in 2012, said: “Anything you do, you’ve got to take some positives out of it.
“There is not a coach in Super League who has been through what I’ve been through and I’ve got to take strength from that.
“We didn’t have a month go by without something happening or a rumour that something was going to happen.
“The experience has been tremendous for my career and, as well as the negatives, there have been some very big positives too.
“I can take away some of the best memories of my career when we were trying to save the club in 2012, however difficult it was at the time.
“I’m not going to pretend that everything we did was fantastic but I’m pretty confident I was onto the right thing – I know I was.
“We were delivering an outstanding programme, whereas other clubs probably had twice the amount of staff.”
Cummins has previously spent time visiting NRL clubs in Australia as part of an RFL bursary and he is not adverse to the prospect of working Down Under.
“We would have to make that decision as a family but there are not many jobs in the game, even over there,” explained the father of three.
“I’m open to anything but realistic enough to know that there is more chance of me getting a job over here than in Australia.
“Becoming an assistant is not the top of my priority list but it’s something I’ve done before and I know I could do again – and do well.”
After recovering from the blow of losing his job, Cummins is looking ahead with typical optimism.
There are plans to visit professional sports clubs and a rare summer holiday for the family.
“It was a strange old feeling, especially the first few days,” he said.
“You go from a position where someone needs something from you every hour most days but now I’ve been at home cutting the grass and doing a list of jobs.
“But that has settled down now and I’ve dusted myself off.
“Hopefully the plan, as a family, is to have a summer holiday.
“Gabby has had a summer holiday but she’s 15. My two boys, Mitch and Jackson, have never had one so we’re going to go away somewhere.
“Then I’ll start picking off a few places to go and visit for my own development. I’ll probably look at other sports more than I’ll look at rugby league.”
Cummins paid tribute to assistant Lee St Hilaire for “doing the job of two or three people” and wished his old Leeds team-mate Jimmy Lowes all the best.
Cummins added: “When you analyse it, you think, ‘is there anything I could have done better?’
“Overall, I’ve been happy with the culture change at the club and happy with the staff and the effort that people put in under totally extreme circumstances.
“We finished ninth last season with a very small squad and we got the Academy going again.
“I’m not happy that I’ve lost my job, I’m not happy with where the Bulls are now, but now I’ve had over two weeks away, I can look back and say ‘I think we did okay under the circumstances that were served up to us’.
“I regret it ending like it did, but I don’t regret going to Bradford – I’ve had some great experiences.
“They probably came in very difficult circumstances but those things never leave you and will make me stronger as a person.”