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Task complete for Bradford Bulls chief
Gary Tasker has called time on his tenure as interim Bulls chief executive and declared his job complete after achieving three key aims during his time in the hot-seat.
Tasker, who worked at the Bulls between 1982 and 2000 and was general manager during the club’s glory years, returned to Odsal in the aftermath of the mass redundancies made by administrator Brendan Guilfoyle in early July.
He helped to steady the ship and rallied staff and volunteers as well as assisting Mick Potter at a time of crisis.
Bradford-born Tasker is now set to relocate to Ireland due to personal circumstances, although he is expected to stay in rugby administration as new owners Omar Khan and Gerry Sutcliffe look to restructure the running of the club.
Tasker told the T&A: “Knowing the club and the community like I did, and having a good relationship with Mick Potter, being asked to help the club was a request I couldn’t turn down.
“The worst thing that any of us could have done at that stage was nothing.
“My first objective was to land the club safely and respectably at the end of the season.
“Secondly, I was to assist the administrator in finding potential new owners and get them enthused and excited about the club. Thirdly, as an organisation we had to do everything we could to regain our Super League licence.
“All those objectives were achieved and it’s pretty logical for me now to move on at the end of the season.”
Tasker said his spell back at the club he grew up supporting had not been pleasant.
“In reality I’ve been pretty devastated to see my old club in such a state,” he admitted.
“This is a club that used to lead the way on and off the field but had been brought to its knees.
“The only uplifting aspect of it all was seeing how much the club still means to so many people.
“Working with the volunteers and staff who rallied around, during the week and on game day, to ensure we delivered in true Bulls style.
“Administration has been a dreadful process and there is a tremendous human cost – innocent staff are made redundant, the fans don’t get to see the play-offs, the players don’t get to play in them and creditors who have provided services in good faith have gone unpaid.
“And the club has just lost a great coach – one of the best, if not the best in the competition.
“The fall-out will be set to last for a while but the only good thing I can say about the previous regime is that they had good intentions.
“There was nothing malicious or purposely done wrong – they were just out of their depth and made some dreadful decisions.
“If in sport your marketing is poor and you have a weak commercial strategy, and you haven’t got the ability to identify good players or negotiate with them, you’re whipping up the perfect storm.”
Tasker believes Khan and Sutcliffe must show ambition to restore the Bulls to former glories.
But he warned: “They need the business community of the region to get behind them and give them support, albeit those businesses will be looking for value for money and a return on their investment.
“If the owners can spread their passion and sell a vision for the Bulls, the city and the stadium, they could be onto a real winner.
“We had a label of the ‘people’s team’ in the 1990s because there was a sense of community belonging.
“The fans bought their season tickets, they joined the lottery, they bought the merchandise and they used the facilities.
“The club now needs this level of support more than ever before and, in return, Bradford has to have ambitions to spend to the salary cap, as eight or nine other clubs do already.
“The club needs to be competing at the top table and we always started a season with the intention of finishing it in mid-October at Old Trafford, not fizzling out in September just making up the numbers.
“It’s going to be a tough couple of years to get back to that level but that’s got to be the target.”