ROB Parker has become the latest former Bulls player to return to Odsal after being appointed as the club’s new commercial manager.
The 32-year-old progressed through the ranks at Bradford and won a clutch of honours in the red, amber and black before moving to Warrington ahead of the 2006 campaign.
Of that all-conquering side which reached five successive Grand Finals, Robbie Hunter-Paul is now serving the club as chief executive, Jimmy Lowes was appointed as head coach in June and Karl Pratt recently returned as lottery manager.
Tom Naylor, a 26-year-old boyhood Bulls fan who was on the club’s books as a junior, has also been appointed as the club’s new business manager and will work with commercial director Danny Potticary.
Ex-prop Parker, who quit his job as general manager at Leigh Centurions to make a comeback to Odsal, said: “I’m emotionally attached to Bradford because of the great years I spent here and I feel like I owe the club something.
“It’s about how I now repay that faith which has been shown in me.
“I understand rugby players, the fans and the sponsors. It is a role that is quite fitting for me and to be able to work with people and talk to them about rugby seems too good to be true.
“When I was at Bradford, I went to London Broncos on loan for ten weeks. I met a woman who worked at London and she’s now my wife and we have two kids together.
“Again, through Bradford, I got a career, a wife and two children, so I’m indebted to the Bulls.”
Parker, who ended up his playing career with the Centurions last season, will commute to Bradford from his home in Bolton.
Leigh and Bradford will be promotion rivals in the Championship next season and Parker added: “Leigh were great with me and gave me a brilliant start but I just think now it’s time I progress and look for a new challenge.
“Sometimes you can play it a bit too safe and the easy money would have been to stay at Leigh. But I like a challenge and obviously I’ve got a lot of history with Robbie, so now is the time to start a new era with Bradford Bulls.
“Are Bradford a bigger club than Leigh? Yes, 100 per cent, and I think people in Leigh would agree with me.
“The Bulls have got a huge fanbase which has dwindled but we’re going to look to see how we can get that back. The potential here is very great and if there is no risk then there is no reward.
“I’m a sportsman, that’s my background, and I think most sportsmen like a challenge and a fight.
“I know what I’m up against and I’ve been here for a couple of days this week in Bradford.
“It’s going to be tough but ultimately the reward at the end of this tough battle is going to be far greater.
“I’m really excited by it. My main role will be getting sponsorship deals in and that’s something Tom and myself will focus on.”
Naylor has worked as a business development manager for 4net Technologies and as a business consultant for Wish Communications, who worked closely with Castleford Tigers.
He said: “I did two years as a schoolboy with the Bulls and then found out I wasn’t good enough.
“However much I am a fan, my job is to bring business and revenue to the club first and foremost and bring a success to it.
“My role at the club is to bring in new income streams and revenue.
“I’m taking the rose-tinted glasses off because I know there is a lot of hard work to do.”
Potticary said: “When I first met Jimmy he had a glint in his eye, a determination, and the first time I met Rob it was exactly the same.
“To bring Rob back here really symbolises where we are trying to take this club.
“I’m extremely proud of the calibre of the people we have got coming on board.
“Tom is very hungry and Rob clearly has a love and passion for Bradford, which is lovely to see.
“It feels to me, although I wasn’t at Bradford a decade ago, that there is that World Championship mentality coming back to the club.
“I’d like to welcome these guys as my first signings.”