Bradford chairman Nigel Wood has issued a statement following an alleged incident at their game in Newcastle on Friday night.
The Bulls suffered a heavy 53-10 loss against Thunder, which damages their hopes of reaching the Championship play-offs.
Fans have raised concerns in recent months over the direction of the club, and in particular the state of Odsal.
Even the appointment of interim Mark Dunning as the club’s permanent head coach to succeed John Kear received a mixed response.
And a group of fans say that they requested to speak to Wood face to face at Friday’s game.
They allege that on locating where Wood was, that he walked inside his hospitality box at Kingston Park, closed the blinds and locked the door, refusing to engage with supporters.
Wood responds to allegations
In a statement on the club’s website, Wood said: “Although not personally on social media I have been made aware of significant allegations made against me, namely that I disrespected Bulls supporters on Friday night after the game at Newcastle.
“Let me be clear – this is a complete and utter fabrication. While the club ordinarily doesn’t respond or react to the numerous inaccuracies frequently peddled, this is a serious untruth that, on this occasion, cannot be allowed to stand uncorrected.
“For the avoidance of doubt, after the game I remained in the room from where I’d watched the match, in conversation with club partners, volunteers and Newcastle and RFL officials. I had no interactions with any Bulls supporters outside of the immediate group, at any time.
“And yet people I may have never actually met are promulgating blatant lies to the contrary. They are simply peddling malice and mischief for their own ends. This, regrettably, is not an unusual phenomenon amongst some.”
Meeting the fans
Despite the strongly worded statement, some Bulls fans remain adamant that the incident occurred.
The next chapter in an increasingly frosty relationship between club and certain elements of the club’s fanbase will be on Thursday, when Wood, Dunning and CEO Jason Hirst meet with supporters at a fans’ forum.
Wood’s unspectacular stint at Odsal so far follows his period in the top jobs at the RFL and International Rugby League.
He received an astonishing severance pay-off of more than £300,000 when he resigned his RFL role, which contributed to annual losses for the governing body of £2m in 2017.
His successor as chairman of the IRL, Troy Grant, recently compared the finances of the international body prior to his arrival to that of a school tuck shop.
Wood was chief executive of the RFL when they purchased the lease to Odsal back in 2012 to help save the Bulls.
That led to raised eyebrows when it was confirmed in late 2019, Wood and his family had become major shareholders in the club.
He has overseen Bradford’s return to the city at Odsal, and the Bulls finished in the Championship play-offs last season in his first full season as chairman.