AS THE winter slowly but inevitably descends on this great land, my thoughts turn to the upcoming season, and the mood around the club couldn’t be fuller of hope and optimism.

This storied institution is embarking on a new chapter. A new chapter of confidence, of stability, and most of all of civic duty.

It is only three weeks since the GB Lions lost to PNG and yet less than three weeks before we take to the field ourselves, once again, for our Boxing Day clash with Castleford Tigers.

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It is 23 years since rugby league in Britain made the decision to move to what some people call “summer rugby” and for many younger supporters that is all they know; but for many, rugby league over Christmas is as traditional as holly and ivy and Christmas pudding.

I mean I am sure we all enjoy Christmas Day, the morning presents opening, the obligatory visit from distant relatives, the anxiety over the dinner preparations which give way to over hyped TV programmes, a game of charades and perhaps a glass of port, before the normal domestic tensions from the unnatural day spent so long in each other’s company leaps to the fore, as we argue whether everyone has done their fair share of the washing up. At least that’s how I remember it!

And so what better antidote than a Boxing Day game, blow the cobwebs away and get back to some sort of routine.

No one is pretending that trial games played mid pre-season are as important as some of the titanic matches of the past, but don’t let anyone tell you they are mere friendlies.

They are not and reaction is always vocal whatever the outcome. For the Bulls I think we have to keep things in proportion, and understand where we find ourselves as a group and as a club.

There is still six to seven weeks to game one of the Championship and there is a lot of work to get through, both on the field and off. It will just be great to get back into action, with all the talking points of players, performance, selection and refereeing once again.

We follow up with a terrific suit of matches - Hunslet, Leeds, Dewsbury and of course old rivals York; before tough looking open rounds. But that is for the future. As I’ve spent more and more time in the city, my already positive impression grows by the day.

Bradford needs its rugby league club and it’s rugby league club needs Bradford. We are determined as an organisation to restore professional rugby league within the city limits, and to do it in a sustainable and thoughtful way that ensures our future for years to come.

For this reason we have begun a new club for civic-minded organisations and businesses called BBBB. Bring the Bulls Back to Bradford. For £50 a month you can do your part as a business and contribute to a fund whose sole purpose is bringing us back to Bradford where we belong.

There are many benefits on offer and we are calling on members of the business community that love this city to get involved. More information can be found on our website and we have been very pleased with the early response. Bradford do indeed love their Bulls.

That brings me to why this is the case. This club has been the focal point of this great city since Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman was Prime Minister. It has been a rallying point since Rudyard Kipling won the Nobel Prize for Literature and this club pre dates the television, the jet engine, the United Nations, the Ford Model T, the electric toaster, and sunglasses, just to name some things that we think have been around forever.

In all that time from Bradford Northern to the Bradford Bulls, this club has produced legendary moments, coaches, administrators, and of course players.

It’s often said, if your future is to matter, you need to honour and respect your past. Not many clubs in this great and historic game can claim to have such an illustrious and glorious history as that of the Bradford Bulls.

This year we may be playing our home matches in Dewsbury but we will be honouring seven personalities from our history, inducting them into our brand new Bradford Bulls Hall of Fame.

Each inductee will be getting their own matchday, their own day in the sun, where fans are urged to come out and support and show their respect for these servants to the club that have helped build the history of the Bulls and Northern, and indeed that of the city of Bradford itself.

Of all the initiatives we are embarking on, in this new Bulls era, this one is closest to my heart. In the coming weeks, we will announce the match days and the players that will be honoured as we have been flooded with suggestions and nominations by the fans.

If you want to nominate or suggest a person to be inducted into the Bradford Bulls Hall of Fame, don’t delay - jump on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or email us with your suggestions. The Hall of Fame is a celebration of our past and an affirmation of everything we do going forward. Get involved, as it belongs to us all.

On the field our club is shaping up nicely. We have one of the best coaches in the business in John Kear and he is assembling a squad of players to suit the style of play he wants to produce.

In total, we have over 60 players signed to the club at the moment and we will continue to sign more but they’ll be John’s selections and they’ll suit our playing style.

Recently we’ve signed Sam Barlow, Anthony England, and extended the contract of home-town captain Steve Crossley.

We have a number of blue chip prospects in our system and their hunger has shown in pre-season training. The atmosphere is positive and competitive, and it’s only a matter of time before our first friendlies and your chance to catch them in action.

To the doom mongers, we have exceeded our season ticket goals and Bulls fans have done us proud with their support thus far. Don’t forget, Bulls season tickets make the perfect Christmas present for your rugby league mad loved ones.

Jump on our website or visit us at our offices at Odsal Stadium and secure yours in time for the holiday season. I’ll see you next week. COME ON YOU BULLS!!!