The Bradford Bulls will stay in Super League in 2013 but me “monitored”, what ever that means.
Probably would have been handy if they were “monitored” in the lead up to them going into administration, but hey, what do I know!
This decision will rub a lot of people up the wrong way but it is clearly the right call to make. For all the people suggesting Bradford should have been relegated and a Championship club promoted, I would say this…
Look at the Widnes Vikings.
The Vikings were given a full 6 month lead in to 2012 to prepare for Super League. They have a decent enough stadium and they even have the experience of having been in Super League not that long ago. Yet after being promoted, the Vikings showed they were not even close to a Super League class team. Weekly thrashings and poor crowds really did make Widnes look like a Championship club that was out of its depth.
With all the advantages they had, and the abysmal failure they proved to be, what makes anyone think that another Championship club would be any different. Hell, Widnes were one of the strongest teams in the Championship, and even with a 6 month lead into their return to Super League, and one full season under their belt, they go into 2013 with little to no improvement forcast.
Another thing to look at are the strengths of Championship clubs compared to what an ailing Bradford brings to the table.
Even in administration, Bradford managed to draw some decent crowds. They are one of the few teams that manages to produce talent of their own and they are also one of the few teams in Super League based in a city.
There is a reason the Leeds Rhino’s spent money to help Bradford through administration. They know that for their own business, the loss of Bradford would be a bitter blow. To lose the gate takings they get from games against Bradford would be bad enough, but a club like Leeds, the only big club based in a big city, if they didn’t have the Bulls their big rivalries would all of a sudden be against towns like Castleford and Wakefield. That is a hard sell to a city like Leeds.
The prospects of the Bradford Bulls being able to recover from their current situation I would suggest are a lot better than teams like Widnes, Castelford or Hull KR fans in trying to compete in Super League. Why would you relegate a club that not only has so much potential, but that not too long ago was the standard by which all other clubs were measured?
It might make some small minded fans happy to see another club go, it might perpetuate their ridiculous notions that one less rival means you are one step closer to the summit yourself, but that isn’t how things work out in reality.
As a Hull FC fan I know that the health of the Bradford Bulls have a direct effect on my clubs health. Give me a top class Bradford outfit coming to KC Stadium and drawing a big crowd with them rather than an ailing Halifax any day!
The Bradford Bulls can make a comeback, but it will take time. Super League clubs were willing to invest their own money in that idea, because they knew what Bradford meant to the competition as a whole.
The fact is that right now, even as the club stands today, the Bulls have a lot more going for them than many other teams. To lose a club like that would have been a huge blow to Super League, a blow clubs simply were not willing to sit back and take.
Lets hope the new ownership can get the club back on its feet. While I think their dreams of turning Odsal into the “Wembley Of The North” are pie in the sky, if they get the Bradford Bulls back to the top of Super League they can do what ever the hell they want to Odsal Stadium.
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