ANTHONY Walker’s return to the rugby field was one of the feelgood tales about the Bulls season.

And for a certain group of fans, it has felt even more special to see the Wales international back in the thick of the action again following four seasons out of the game after he was diagnosed with a brain abnormality.

Bradford Bulls Squad Booster Association (BBSBA) helped contribute towards the funds to bring in the whole-hearted Walker at the start of the season – the first of five player deals where they have assisted the club so far.

Bullbuilder has been long-established as a fund-raising group for the academy but there had been nothing to financially support the first team until last year.

That’s when Squad Booster was set up by a group of seven fans – and its membership has now passed three figures.

“Bulls fans are a unique breed and parting with money is never easy,” said Eddie Hoyle, one of the committee members.

“There have been times over the past decade when it’s disappeared down a black hole.

“We’ve got over 100 members, which is pretty good, and contributed to a number of signings.

“The initial one was signing Ant Walker and he’s been a great story.

“It has helped the squad and it’s also helped him. He’s exactly what everyone at the Bulls wanted to see.

“He tries his hardest every week and is contributing more and more. He’s getting fitter – and I’m sure he’ll say that himself – and he’s such a nice lad.

“The most recent one we contributed towards was the new deal for Jordan Lilley. It’s good when you see things like that.”

Launching during the pandemic made it a bigger challenge for the seven-strong committee, which is chaired by Bulls heritage project manager and retired headteacher John Downes.

Members pay an annual fee of £60 minimum and are then encouraged to contribute any more on top of that.

Monthly meetings and quarterly updates for members have had to take place online.

The first face-to-face discussion will finally take place early next month at the Top House, where landlady Elaine Crowther is also on the committee.

Squad Booster aim to raise their profile among supporters at home games next season. Covid restrictions made it difficult to have a physical presence at Odsal in 2021.

Hoyle added: “We’re looking to vastly improve on our membership numbers given the great fanbase the Bulls have got. More members obviously equal a better calibre of player.

“Most of our rivals have a similar scheme set up already. Featherstone have got 250 members and take a tenner a month from each of them. That’s a lot of money when you think about it.

“You look at recent months and the rumours doing the rounds about other clubs spending fairly big.

“Featherstone are trying to sign several Super League players, Halifax have got the cheque book out and Leigh are coming down spending a fortune as well.

“The Bulls haven’t got that rich backer like many clubs so the more we can try to help the better.

“I would have expected to have done more than we have initially but we’ve still raised a good bit of money considering there were no games when it started.

“The fact we’ve got back to Odsal is great and seeing the (quality of) signings coming in will hopefully encourage more members.”

As well as Walker and Lilley, Squad Booster have also helped fund the capture of Ben Evans and Dec Patton and the contract renewal for Telegraph & Argus player of the year Thomas Doyle.

“Myself and Rich (treasurer Richard Wood) go to the club liaison meetings every other month to keep them updated,” said Hoyle.

“The Bulls have been great, giving us access to signings news and keeping us informed.

“The money is kept completely separate in our bank account. If they ask for it, we send it across.

“John is up there quite a lot and Mark Dunning and Nigel Wood will often talk to him. They come to us about a signing but obviously don’t give us the full details.

“They know what’s in the pipeline. We write the cheque and sign it off.

“Whatever is in the kitty is available to them for whenever they see fit.”

Details about joining the group can be found at and full bank account details are available on the website.

They have a presence on Twitter at @bulls_squad and on Facebook.

Squad Booster can also be contacted directly at