THE SITUATION at Bradford Bulls at the moment is a sad one for the whole of our sport.
The problems there have gone on for far too long and I honestly don’t know what the outcome will be.
I genuinely hope Bulls can come back and be the strong club they were not so long ago, but at the moment they just seem to be lurching from one crisis to another.
This week’s developments were a shock.
I thought they would probably get some sort of points deduction, after entering administration recently, but having three wins taken away is a huge blow.
Then there was the news that the board of directors have pulled out from their takeover of the club, so the future seems uncertain all round.
It’s tragic to see a sports club in a mess like this and as a Leeds United fan I know how the Bulls supporters will be feeling.
But what you always have to remember is that livelihoods are at stake. Not just the players and coaching staff, but all the people who work for the club. They obviously don’t know what the future holds and I really feel for them.
Fortunately I have never been in that situation, but I can imagine how grim it must be.
There’s great rivalry between Rhinos and Bulls and if they are relegated I will miss the big derbies we have every year. It would be great to see a return to the sort of games we had against them a few seasons ago.
I don’t think anybody who really loves rugby league – whoever they support – will take any pleasure from the state Bulls are in now.
This might be a bit simplistic, but what it needs is somebody with some money and a love of the club and the sport to come in and sort things out.
Everybody knows the potential Bradford have. It is only nine years since they were world champions and Odsal was packed out every game.
I don’t know enough about the financial situation to say whether the club can get through this, but I do think the sport would be poorer without the Bulls. I have got some good friends there, the likes of Nick Scruton, Chev Walker, Matt Diskin and Franny Cummins and I know they are fighters.
If the club can keep them all together they have a decent squad and on a level playing field I wouldn’t see them as relegation candidates.
They proved with the win at Wakefield last week how tough they can be. It was a really gutsy effort after they lost their half-back Lee Gaskell early on, but they dug in and got the result and to have that win taken away from them – plus two others – must be heart-breaking.
Realistically, it is going to make finishing outside the bottom-two very difficult and it will be a fantastic achievement if they can do it.
Knowing Franny, he will do everything he can to keep them in Super League. He has done a fantastic job in really tough circumstances over the last couple of years and I think the fact he has recruited a strong squad with limited resources shows what he is all about.
Luke Gale, who is a player I think highly of, was prepared to commit his future to Bradford and that reflects how highly Franny is thought of.