HISTORY cannot be denied.
At the Cedar Court Hotel last Wednesday, the best part of a thousand Bulls fans were given a reminder of the club’s glorious past and the promise of a brighter future.
‘An Evening with the Bulls’, an expertly-organised event to promote the club’s Big One lottery which has been relaunched by the wily Alf Davies, began with a short film chronicling over a century of history.
Grainy images of the origins of Bradford Northern were followed by the club’s reformation under the legendary Trevor Foster in 1964.
An image of Foster on the two big screens drew heartfelt and thunderous applause from the packed-out room.
There is footage of the Bulls’ numerous successes since the advent of Super League, such as the day Matthew Elliott’s men beat Sheffield Eagles at the Don Valley in August 1997 to clinch the club’s first championship for 16 years.
As action from that 32-12 victory is shown, including Jimmy Lowes scoring a try, the heart of every Bradford supporter soars.
Images of huge crowds gathered in Centenary Square to greet their heroes sends blood coursing through the veins of all present.
The spirit of old flows through the club once again.
The film hits a more sobering note with a reminder of the grim chapters in the Bulls’ recent past.
The words ‘The club went into administration twice in two years’ flashes up on the screen, swiftly followed by ‘Marc Green’s takeover is completed on March 26th. The journey starts here’.
That lifts the mood and Lowes is genuinely humbled by a standing ovation from the room as his name is belted out loud and clear.
The event, attended by the bulk of the first-team squad, began slightly late due to the huge numbers.
“Obviously with the numbers that are having to stay outside, we didn’t expect this sort of turnout…but to be honest, you are the Bradford Bulls and we should have expected it shouldn’t we?” said host Robbie Hunter-Paul.
A quick glance around said much for the passion that still pulses around the club.
Desire was both visible and audible among supporters young and old as Green, introduced by Hunter-Paul as the “Human Hurricane”, addressed fans publicly for the first time.
“In the light of everything you’ve been through in recent years, I was starting to fear it was a lynch mob rather than a welcoming party!” joked Green, before giving a brief synopsis of his own life story.
“I am 49, I was born in the east end of London and I come from the wrong side of the tracks.
“I was born into reasonable poverty, there were four of us kids, my mother and father, and we all slept in the same room on a council estate.
“The best thing that ever happened to me was when I was 13. I stole something, my father leathered me like you wouldn’t believe, and from that day on I’ve never touched anything that didn’t belong to me. That’s where I’ve come from.
“I’m as honest as the day is long and yes, when I first walked into the club on day one, it was solely a business decision.
“All I was in it for was the opportunity to turn it into a profitable business.
“In the four months I’ve been here, with the warmth and love that most of you have shown me, I am now unarguably red, amber and black.”
Green went on to reiterate an apology he had made days earlier in the matchday programme for presiding over the Bulls’ relegation.
“I genuinely felt I had to apologise because I think the fans are owed that,” said Green.
In hindsight, might he have appointed Lowes earlier in the season or put his hand in his pocket to bolster a desperately thin squad with permanent signings?
“We fought tooth and nail to bring players to this club and regrettably we couldn't pull it off,” he said.
“But would I change anything I've done? No, because I thought they were the best decisions available at the time – and they were made in the best interests of the club.
“The club has been relegated and hit rock bottom – now we can start building.”
Green vowed to run the Bulls with “honesty, integrity and transparency” as he spoke of his desire to buy the lease and freehold of Odsal, which he said would “be used as a business to generate income 24/7.”
It was hard not to come away feeling overwhelmingly positive by the rhetoric emanating from Green and his trusted lieutenants Hunter-Paul, managing director Steve Ferres and commercial director Danny Potticary.
Then again, Gerry Sutcliffe and Omar Khan’s first fans' forum in September 2012 was filled with similar bonhomie and promises.
Twelve months later, both men had departed.
Gaining the trust of many fans will take some doing but Green is at least delivering on his promise to challenge for an immediate return to the top flight.
Lowes’ squad is taking shape nicely following the acquisition of Jake Mullaney, Dan Fleming, Dave Petersen and Etu Uaisele.
Maintaining that feelgood factor as the club begin selling season-tickets will be important.
When asked whether he would spend the full £1million salary cap, Green would only say “Jimmy has got the full backing of the board and he's got the financial resource to build the team he wants.”
With the signings that have so far been made, and the huge support the club still commands, albeit a substantial latent support, maybe the Bulls really are on their way back.
After hitting rock-bottom, it would seem the only way is up – and how we should all raise a glass to that.