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Bradford Bulls: Caisley's move to oust chairman and fellow director from power and attract investment to save the club
Chris Caisley has urged Peter Hood and Andrew Bennett to step down from the board of directors and revealed plans he believes could help save the Bulls from financial ruin.
The crisis-torn club must raise £1million – at least half by this weekend – or face going into administration with several huge bills looming.
Caisley, who quit as chairman at Odsal in 2006 but remains the club’s largest single shareholder with 25 per cent, said he could deliver a business strategy which would enable the club to attract the necessary funds to move forward on and off the pitch.
He said he had garnered support from a number of high-profile figures such as renowned actor and Bulls fanatic Duncan Preston and former Bradford coach Brian Noble.
Caisley said he was open-minded about returning to play a hands-on role at Odsal and insisted most shareholders had lost faith in chairman Hood and fellow director Bennett.
Caisley said that group of shareholders had called for an extraordinary general meeting which he believes would see Hood and Bennett voted off the current board.
He told the T&A: “The majority shareholders have asked Peter Hood and Andrew Bennett to stand aside in order that work could commence immediately but they have declined to do so.
“Peter seemingly believes that he and Mr Bennett give the club the best chance of successfully finding a pathway through the financial difficulties because they are in discussions with potential investors who are of a similar view.
“The majority shareholders disagree and have therefore asked the club’s directors to convene an extraordinary general meeting when the matter can be dealt with.”
Caisley said a “root and branch” review must be carried out on every aspect of the club’s business – from its administration, finance, marketing, PR and football departments.
He revealed that Gary Tasker, the club’s former general manager, would head up the review, which would see Noble carry out consultancy work on the football department.
Preston, who spoke passionately about the club during a pre-season sponsors lunch at Odsal, and former directors and shareholders Rowland Agar and Stephen Coulby, would also have an input and be assisted by current Bulls chief executive Ryan Duckett.
Caisley denied that Steve Parkin had any involvement with his efforts to help save the club.
Caisley said: “Any potential investors want to know that whatever investment they may wish to make in the club in whatever form that might take is going to be used to support a going concern.
“They need to know there is in place a robust strategy that will ensure that the club will not only survive in the short-term but will go forward with a reasonable prospect of improving its position on and off the field of play and return full value for that investment.
“I have received offers of support from people who together hold a majority of the club’s issued share capital.
“With assistance from the club’s CEO Ryan Duckett, we wish to carry out an urgent review of the business across all areas and see if we can find a way through this maelstrom.
“The support of the Bulls fans and, indeed the wider rugby league community since the club announced its £1million funding gap has been sensational and is a very positive signal to any future investor.
“However, we need to present a strategy and a financial plan which will demonstrate that the club is a good business proposition beyond the immediate future and which will enable us to retain our most prized players.”
Hood said last night that he would consider Caisley’s comments and issue a response today, but praised the efforts of fans after the ‘Quest for Survival’ campaign hit the £311,500 mark.
The Bulls also received support from BullBuilder, the supporters trust, following face-to-face talks with the Bradford board.
But coach Mick Potter has been dealt a blow with the news that winger Jason Crookes will be forced to undergo shoulder surgery today, ruling him out for three months.