1 SEPTEMBER 2019 will forever be remembered as one of the darkest days in the history of the Bradford Bulls. The date they left their famous Odsal stadium after 85 years.

For former stadium manager and Bulls superfan Mark Leadbeater, the departure was inevitable after years of low crowds and constant decay.

"It is so sad from being World champions three times and winning Super Leagues," he said. "It is hard to put your finger on one thing (to why it all went so wrong)."

Leadbeater originally joined his home club, which he had supported for decades, as a volunteer when he saw they were in trouble in 2012.

In his eight years at Bulls, he was tasked with a range of different roles.

"Being a Bradfordian seeing any club around here going into trouble, it becomes important to me," Leadbeater added. "I helped out two-three days a week alongside my (driving school) business.

"I got asked to do more hours and then they said they’d put me on the payroll.

"I did that for six-12 months and then Mark Moore asked me to come on as maintenance manager. That role was for three months then I became operations manager."

During that two-year spell, things just went from bad to worse with Bradford eventually suffering relegation from Super League in 2014.

Leadbeater was forever facing an uphill battle with the club continually running out of funds throughout numerous owners' tenures.

He added: "We beat Leeds and Wigan on our way to relegation. On the last day at Huddersfield, the fans were just unbelievable.

"All they had been through and how they have stuck by the club.

"The biggest challenge was the role I took on as stadium safety officer, as well as everything else I was doing.

"I was managing the security team and I had to save money any way that I could. It was my decision to close the north stand.

"We were going from 25,000 to 5,000-6,000 a game. It was costing me so much to open that side.

"It did upset a few people but everywhere we could save, we had too.

"I held a safety license at Odsal and you cannot mess with peoples safety.

"We used to have 18,000 people charging out and now we only had 5,000, you don’t need a road closure or to open all the gates. All those things did save us money.

"It was about making it safe so we could open up every week. It was as simple as that."

As time went on so did the stresses of running each matchday and at one point Leadbeater was offered a way out which he just couldn't take.

"I did get opportunities to go elsewhere," he said.

"But, I stood by them through two administrations and I ended up working there for nothing twice. It was an honour, it wasn't just a job for me.

"I had a family to think of, but I knew if I walked away they couldn't open because I held the alcohol license and the safety license. I love the club, I wouldn’t do that.

"When the last owners came in, Odsal was a massive weight on everybody's neck. The price to run it was just unbelievable.

"Although, there was always hope that some deal would be done."

The now Bradford (Park Avenue) operations manager struggles to see how a return to Odsal can be viable for the Bulls in the near future.

"I did a financial report before I left and it was nearly £300,000 to just open the gates and make it safe.

"Now, it has been left, you could probably triple that to open back up.

"Everyone would love to see Bulls back in Odsal, but someone would have to pump in a lot of money."