A new citation has been added to Bradford’s decade of disappointment with their relegation to League 1.
The Bulls fate was confirmed by a 26-10 home defeat to Toulouse, which means they cannot climb out of the bottom two in the Championship.
It completes a remarkable fall from grace for the four-time Super League champions and another autumn of crisis, something which is become quite a habit, is on the horizon.
There are still murmurings of a reprieve, though where this originated is unknown – we’ve certainly heard not even a sniff that anything of the sort would be happening.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. But the Bulls, a new club don’t forget, should have been made to start in League 1 in 2017.
Some may point to the 12 point deduction, though the Bulls would still be in the bottom two even with those points back, such has been their under-performance this year.
They won five of their first seven games, but have managed just one since.
The Bulls fall from grace
2005 – Super League champions for the fourth time
2006 – World Club champions for the third time
2009 – Fail to make the Super League play-offs for the first time
2012 – Enter administration for the first time
2014 – Enter administration for a second time
2014 – Relegated from Super League
2015 – Lose to Wakefield in first Million Pound Game
2016 – Fail to make Championship top four and The Qualifiers
2016 – Enter administration for a third time (November)
2017 – Club liquidated (January)
2017 – Relegated from Championship with six games to play
Where do they go from here?
Well, clearly, the Bulls have to go back to basics. They’ve ran an expensive full-time set-up this year and have spectacularly unachieved.
They need to cut their cloth and go realistic in 2018. Their fan base should all but guarantee that they are the biggest spending team in League 1, and they will be favourites for promotion.
Perhaps the owners and the fans need to write off 2017 and take 2018 as the real fresh start that they should perhaps have gone with this year.
Questions remain as to whether re-starting as the Bulls was the right thing to do. There is still a legal case hanging over the club’s head from former players and officials, and there remains the moral issue of other debts that have completely been wiped clear, while everything else about the club – its identity, history and home – have been retained.
As much as rugby league needs a successful Bradford, the same could be said of many other clubs.
What rugby league needs most is to start re-building the integrity it seems to have surrendered over the past decade or so over a host of issues, and the Bulls inclusion in the Championship this year is one example of that.
Here’s hoping that 2018 proves to be an end of the madness for the long-suffering Bulls fans who have stayed with them.