SUNDAY, September 1st 2019 was a very sad day for every supporter of Bradford Bulls.

It was the day that the Bulls fans said farewell to Odsal.

When I walked out onto the pitch before kick-off on that Sunday it was with a mixture of pride in my home team and sorrow at the situation.

There was also a determination that this wouldn’t be the last time that I had the honour of presenting the match ball in my home city. It was with more mixed emotions that I recently returned to Odsal on a visit to the Bulls Foundation.

I was able to experience again the rich heritage of Bradford Northern, the Bulls and the stadium through the Foundation’s volunteers who are working hard to keep the proud rugby league legacy of Odsal alive.

This visit helped underline that rugby league and the Bulls are more than just a business, they are a huge part of Bradford’s sporting and cultural life – both current and historic.

This was further reinforced in the conversations that I have had with Bulls fans and supporter groups. The sense of a tradition, handed down through generations of families, is incredibly strong. From fans with more than half a century of supporting the team to those just taking their first steps – the concern is real.

Moving to Dewsbury, even temporarily, is a huge blow to all supporters and indeed the whole rugby league family, but it is also a hit to the prestige of our city. Our sports teams are an important part of our identity as a city.

They provide the oxygen of our self-confidence and fuel our optimism through their success. It’s about pride – for the team and the city.

Without the Bulls, Bradford will seem a lesser place.

The whole city will be poorer for the Bulls’ absence in so many ways. For the supporters first and foremost but also for our city I want the Bulls Back in Bradford as soon as possible and I will do all that I can to help ensure their return.

To that end I recently convened a meeting between the Bulls, the RFL and the Council. I am pleased to say that there was a willingness from all sides to get the Bulls back to playing in Bradford. The Bulls fans are crucial to the success of the club and its return to Bradford.

Prior to my meeting with the club, the RFL and the Council, I met with representatives of the fans’ group Bullbuilder to hear what they wanted. Afterwards we agreed to launch a campaign aimed at making sure that the Bulls, the RFL and the Council hold true to their commitment to bring the Bulls back to Bradford.

To start our campaign, we are today launching a petition that calls on those three parties to use all their best endeavours to enable Bradford Bulls return to play in Bradford as soon as possible. I urge everyone to sign the petition.

I will continue to stand with the fans to see that the club’s proud heritage is protected, to have the Bulls back in Bradford, and for our club to have a thriving future in our city.

Judith Cummins, Bradford South MP