IF I was one of those who put my hand in my pocket to help raise £500,000 in April to keep Bradford Bulls alive I’d be asking for my cash back.
When it comes to financial acumen football has its Glasgow Rangers, rugby league has Bradford Bulls.
That handout from thousands of rugby league fans – who know you have to pay the taxman and your bills - has kept the Bulls going in the last months.
When the half million was raised it was said that a similar sum would secure the club’s future, now a review of the finances has revealed that £1 million is needed and fast, to complete the season.
But there are questions about the “£1million to complete the season”. The Bulls it appears are due £500,000 as their share of the Super League broadcasting rights cash before the end of November.
HM Customs and Revenue have issued a winding up order and want £90,000 in unpaid payroll tax and are owed £250,000 in VAT on the sale of Odsal Stadium earlier this year.
The Bulls bosses got a two-week breathing space to raid their piggy banks but that runs out next Tuesday. Failure to pay up is likely to see the Bulls go into administration.
It’s a mess – and the men in the grey suits at the Rugby Football League are as usual doing an impression of Trappist Monks and hoping that it will all go away.
The RFL are the Bulls landlords at Odsal – they stepped in at the start of this year to buy the lease of the stadium and help with the Bulls cash flow. So now they own the biggest hole in Bradford but what’s been done to get the Bulls out of it?
The RFL have plenty of people with fancy titles – now they need to show some leadership. There needs to be answers as to how much the RFL knew about what was happening at Bradford.
Last season the RFL’s ‘Frankenstein monster’ the Welsh based Crusaders club dropped out of the Super League – we’ve never been told what went wrong.
As a first step the RFL needs to set out what will happen if Bradford go bust. It would be an insult to the game at large if there’s a fudge with a new ‘BullsCo’ being allowed to stay in the Super League.
There will be those who try to play the history card – Bradford’s great tradition and achievements. That’s a smokescreen that excuses incompetence.
A new Bulls should be relegated and replaced by a Championship team that pays it’s bills. That would rattle a few gilded cages and send a message about living in the real world.
The RFL bosses may attend games but they keep well away from the real fans who pay to go through the turnstiles. Those are the people who helped stump up the £500,000 back in April – that’s given them a stake in what happens to Bradford Bulls.