A job well done by Bradford Bulls staff

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: It was all hands to the pumps when news of the Bulls’ financial difficulties first broke, with even the players helping to man the phones and take pledges of cash from concerned fans It was all hands to the pumps when news of the Bulls’ financial difficulties first broke, with even the players helping to man the phones and take pledges of cash from concerned fans

Like every Bulls fan, Megan Potter’s heart sank when it was announced that the club effectively stood on the brink of oblivion.

On March 27 came the news that unless supporters raised £1million – at least half by mid-April – a sporting institution faced going bust.

And so from there, on that tumultuous Tuesday morning, the seeds were sown for the most traumatic season in the club’s recent history.

It did not look good.

Chairman Peter Hood said the situation could not be more critical.

Director Andrew Bennett talked of the club being at death’s door.

A Quest for Survival fundraising campaign was launched and Mick Potter’s wife played a pivotal role in the administration department as ticket office manager.

Reunited with the former Bulls coach in Australia this week after finishing work at Odsal, Megan recalled: “We were a small staff anyway, so a few of us got together quickly and discussed how we were going to track all the information and record all the pledges.

“It was a busy time with the Leeds game on Good Friday – and on top of that we were trying to drive the pledge and reach £500,000 in 11 days.

“Your next task is then getting in the money and the only place to do that is your front office.

“We did it and were lucky to have such a strong set of volunteers and people who had spent a lot of time there.”

Hood and Bennett had spoken of their hope of attracting the investment required to stave off administration.

However, they were unseated by a group of majority shareholders, led by former chairman Chris Caisley, in early May.

Megan said: “Everything changed from when the pledge started and where it ended up because of the situation between the two parties.

“But I know that we hit that target of £500,000 and I know that they (Hood and Bennett) pulled in the money in good faith.

“At that stage we were going to get the rest of the money. I don’t know what the investment was but I do believe that was true.

“That changed because people weren’t sure what they were investing in or who was going to be in charge of the club. That put everything on shaky ground.”

On June 26, with Hood and Bennett gone and no major investment forthcoming, the club were placed into the hands of administrator Brendan Guilfoyle.

Less than a week later, Guilfoyle sacked the club’s entire coaching staff and key employees such as Megan, Debbie Charlton, Ryan Duckett and Stuart Duffy.

Many returned to work without pay, while former general manager Gary Tasker was appointed as interim chief executive to steady the ship.

Megan, who had worked at Bradford during her husband’s first spell at the club as assistant coach in the late 1990s, recalled: “Bradford would have gone under had those people not worked to keep it going.

“I’m not just talking about the coaching staff but also the office staff, who hadn’t been earning a lot of money anyway.

“You’re trying to get games on and all of a sudden you haven’t got a groundsman.

“You haven’t got anybody to sell anything. There were kids in charge of the front office and nobody appreciated the pressure that they were under.”

Megan was reinstated on a paid basis but Mick Potter and his coaching staff continued to work voluntarily until the end of the season.

He was subsequently voted Super League coach of the year – and the Bulls would have made the play-offs had they not been docked six points.

The Potters could easily have headed home before the season ended.

Financial assistance from the hardship fund set up by BullBuilder helped deter them – as did the strength of their relationship, which began as teenagers.

Megan explained: “You think ‘next week we’ll go home’ and then it keeps going on and you feel like you’re walking out on everything – the players; the fans.

“Therefore we just kept going.

“Has it brought Mick and I even closer together? Yes, I think it probably has.

“We both had the same goal and understood what each other was trying to do.

“It is difficult at times but you learn about people and even each other.

“You don’t know what effect the stress is going to have but I think it brought out the best in Mick.

“I know what he’s like but it was good for other people to see that too.

“We don’t leave as bitter people, otherwise we wouldn’t have stayed here, that’s for sure.

“Yes, it was very difficult at times, but there are a lot of things that we will look back on with good memories.”

Comments (10)

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8:56pm Wed 7 Nov 12

THEMANOFSTEEL says...

Last day as a saints player tomorrow off to West Yorkshire to tie up
Come on foster!!!!
Hope it's us
Last day as a saints player tomorrow off to West Yorkshire to tie up Come on foster!!!! Hope it's us THEMANOFSTEEL
  • Score: 0

8:56pm Wed 7 Nov 12

THEMANOFSTEEL says...

Last day as a saints player tomorrow off to West Yorkshire to tie up
Come on foster!!!!
Hope it's us
Last day as a saints player tomorrow off to West Yorkshire to tie up Come on foster!!!! Hope it's us THEMANOFSTEEL
  • Score: 0

9:39pm Wed 7 Nov 12

hollymae says...

Hope you're right.
Very humbling read of Megan's story....top people who deserve every success back home. Thanks to the Potters...hopefully the new regime can bring the success and progress that the unrewarded efforts of some specioal people deserve. COYB!
Hope you're right. Very humbling read of Megan's story....top people who deserve every success back home. Thanks to the Potters...hopefully the new regime can bring the success and progress that the unrewarded efforts of some specioal people deserve. COYB! hollymae
  • Score: 0

10:44pm Wed 7 Nov 12

THEMANOFSTEEL says...

@jamiefoster22: My twitter has gone insane Wow! Can't say for diff reasons till tomorrow where but I'm buzzing to be putting pen to paper on the new deal. 🏈
This is the latest tweet after my mrs tweeted him saying you will good in a bulls shirt
@jamiefoster22: My twitter has gone insane Wow! Can't say for diff reasons till tomorrow where but I'm buzzing to be putting pen to paper on the new deal. 🏈 This is the latest tweet after my mrs tweeted him saying you will good in a bulls shirt THEMANOFSTEEL
  • Score: 0

6:47am Thu 8 Nov 12

ifallwerelikemumby says...

Man of steel wife in stalker shock
Man of steel wife in stalker shock ifallwerelikemumby
  • Score: 0

7:03am Thu 8 Nov 12

Steampig says...

i know its been said before my many on here, but thanks again to Mr and Mrs Potter !!
i know its been said before my many on here, but thanks again to Mr and Mrs Potter !! Steampig
  • Score: 0

7:11am Thu 8 Nov 12

westybulls says...

Funny feeling foster not coming to us
Funny feeling foster not coming to us westybulls
  • Score: 0

8:32am Thu 8 Nov 12

Shipley Paul says...

Yes, everything has been said about Mick and Megan, but it can keep being said for me. Without their commitment to the club, we couldn't be where we are now. All the moaners who comment on here should take a leaf out of their book and back FC and all the players for the season ahead.
Yes, everything has been said about Mick and Megan, but it can keep being said for me. Without their commitment to the club, we couldn't be where we are now. All the moaners who comment on here should take a leaf out of their book and back FC and all the players for the season ahead. Shipley Paul
  • Score: 0

8:51am Thu 8 Nov 12

Mumby was the best says...

Shipley Paul wrote:
Yes, everything has been said about Mick and Megan, but it can keep being said for me. Without their commitment to the club, we couldn't be where we are now. All the moaners who comment on here should take a leaf out of their book and back FC and all the players for the season ahead.
Agreed whole heartedly.
[quote][p][bold]Shipley Paul[/bold] wrote: Yes, everything has been said about Mick and Megan, but it can keep being said for me. Without their commitment to the club, we couldn't be where we are now. All the moaners who comment on here should take a leaf out of their book and back FC and all the players for the season ahead.[/p][/quote]Agreed whole heartedly. Mumby was the best
  • Score: 0

8:39pm Fri 9 Nov 12

alfucham says...

Well done Mrs P.

I thank you for staying back for 20 minutes to allow me to go get £50 from the cash machine at the pertyrol station on Cleckheaton Road.

leeds generously had said the Bulls could keep the money from sales for the friday game but the Bulls had no way of processing a card!

True devotion to duty.

A duty to all others affected by the crisis.

Very well done indeed.Mr & Mrs P

We saw not Hood or Bennett striving valiantly without pay or any of the other usurpers to the throne now condemned as a bad chapter in history of this proud and long standing club
Well done Mrs P. I thank you for staying back for 20 minutes to allow me to go get £50 from the cash machine at the pertyrol station on Cleckheaton Road. leeds generously had said the Bulls could keep the money from sales for the friday game but the Bulls had no way of processing a card! True devotion to duty. A duty to all others affected by the crisis. Very well done indeed.Mr & Mrs P We saw not Hood or Bennett striving valiantly without pay or any of the other usurpers to the throne now condemned as a bad chapter in history of this proud and long standing club alfucham
  • Score: 0

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