Acting Bulls CEO staggered by offers of help
As Michael Potter began preparing the Bradford players for what could be their final match, acting chief executive Gary Tasker says he has been "staggered" by the offers of help to stage the fixture.by NRL
As Michael Potter began preparing the Bradford players for what could be their final match, acting chief executive Gary Tasker says he has been "staggered" by the offers of help to stage the fixture.
The Bulls' Stobart Super League game with London Broncos at Odsal on Sunday was in doubt at the start of the week when administrator Brendan Guilfoyle made 16 full-time staff members redundant.
That figure came down to 15 when conditioner Geoff Evans was re-instated but still included chief executive Ryan Duckett and the entire coaching staff.
Tasker yesterday began his duties as an interim and unpaid chief executive while Potter and his assistants Francis Cummins and Lee St Hilaire put the players through their paces at their first training session of the week after agreeing to work without pay.
Guilfoyle described the coaches' offer as "really magnificent" and "inspiring for the players" while Tasker revealed that most of the staff made redundant were also back in work today.
"They have offered their services and are preparing the stadium as we speak," said Tasker, who spent two decades at the club before leaving to work for the game's governing bodies in 2000.
"It's a dreadful scenario with people losing their livelihoods and I never thought it would come to this.
"It's gone from being an iconic brand to a shambles but there is so much goodwill. We are determined to do the best we can.
"It's all hands on deck. The staggering amount of support and the way people have reacted with offers of help has been tremendous."
Tasker said the club were aiming to provide a reminder of the Bulls' glory days when they led the way in pre-match entertainment by organising a bumper family day which he hopes will produce a crowd of between 15,000 and 20,000.
"We are planning a big show," he said. "We've got a strong entertainment programme lined up for all the family and it's a pound for kids.
"We've had a fantastic commitment from the coaching staff, the players played out of their skin at Wigan and now it's up to the fans to do the same.
"We have an opportunity to showcase the club to potential purchasers and there are some, although no deal is done until it's done."
Guilfoyle, who has until Tuesday to find a buyer, had been hoping that former coach Brian Noble would return to prepare the team for Sunday's game but he began having second thoughts after discovering the extent of opposition to the move.
Australian Potter initially turned down the chance to work without pay because he was under the impression that it would be for the rest of the season and says it was easy to perform an about-turn.
"I don't feel like I'm working for the guy that sacked me," he said. "I feel like I'm working for the players and the game.
"Just getting the game on on the weekend was important to move forward. I want the club to be successful and I thought I could help out.
"When he originally asked me, it sounded like he wanted me to work for free to the end of the season and that's not possible.
"I haven't got a never-ending bank account. I need to feed my family and pay rent.
"I'm volunteering my services for the weekend so that the RFL can get the game on and the players can have some direction on game day and in the last couple of sessions leading into game itself.
"It wasn't a hard decision for me. I wasn't doing anything else. It's not like I've got another job to go to.
"I can't get back to Australia. I haven't any flights and I can't work here, other than for the Bulls because my visa won't allow it.
"So at the moment I'm stuck here and unemployed so I might as well spend my Sunday at the Bradford Bulls. What better way to do it?"
Because of the confusion and chaos, the players' scheduled training sessions on Monday and Tuesday were cancelled but Potter is confident they will be in good shape to face London.
"They probably trained as good as they've trained all year," he said. "There seemed to be a sense of relief that we're back to a little bit of normality.
"We had a meeting to cover a few of the issues that need to be covered and what we need to do to get their minds on the job. It was one of the best training sessions that we've had."
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