What next for Bradford?

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.


  1. Just start again. Drawing from Glasgow Rangers in Association Football; they climbed back up from the bottom. i remember the reborn Bradford Northern in 1964. The team took half a season to gel, but did so and for almost the next 50 years gave good service. However, they were the emotional successor to the great Bradford team on the 1940s. The new Bradford can go on in the same way. However, is Bradford jinxed? There was the ‘Great Betrayal’ before the Great War, then the failure of 1963 and recently the failure of 2016.

  2. Let’s face it Rugby League has little future as a Major sport, it’s just a Mickey Mouse attraction run by Sky for Sky’s benefit. Even EFL allows Automatic Promotion for the top teams, Leigh should have been playing in Super League for the last 3 years not just 2017. It’s quite conceivable that the championship will have 2 French teams & a Canadian!!The current loan system is helping nobody in the long term. Stop tinkering with the structure of the game, let’s have a long term strategy & stick to it & please let’s have some consistency with refereeing, the game is tough enough for the players without the thuggery that goes unpunished.

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