Time running out for Potter
Bradford head coach Mick Potter will return to Australia after Friday’s match against Hull KR unless there is a positive end to the uncertainty over the future of the beleaguered Bulls by then.
Potter and his assistants Francis Cummins and Lee St Hilaire have been working without pay since they were made redundant by joint administrator Brendan Guilfoyle five weeks ago and the Australian has kept putting off a final decision on his own future.
But his patience is running out and today he delivered a final ultimatum, telling a media briefing: “The situation needs to be resolved because it’s an ongoing joke now.”
The Rugby Football League rejected a bid from a consortium of local Asian businessmen after labelling it “unsatisfactory” and Stobart Super League bosses stepped into the long-running saga last Thursday with an offer to buy Bradford on behalf of the other 13 clubs in an effort to break the deadlock.
Super League (Europe) are still waiting for Guilfoyle’s response to their offer and Potter says time is fast running out for him.
“I need an answer this week,” he said. “I thought there was going to be something today but tomorrow will be fine as long as the answer is in the positive.
“Otherwise I’ll just go back home. If Guilfoyle turns it down and I don’t get paid, I’ll just go home. I’ve looked at flights.”
Potter, whose wife Megan was also among the 16 full-time members of staff laid off, has not turned to the hardship fund set up by fans to help those made redundant.
BullBuilder, the Bradford Supporters Trust, announced today that donations have gone past £15,000 after a bucket collection at Sunday’s home against Widnes Vikings raised over £3,600.
The new total includes cash donated by Warrington Wolves from away-ticket sales at their recent home match against the Bulls, while today Huddersfield Giants unveiled a similar scheme for their game against Bradford on Sunday week.
Bulls chaplain Warren Evans, who is administering the fund which has so far paid out more than £9,000, said: “I’m proud to accept the offer proposed by the Huddersfield Giants and am pleasantly encouraged by the support offered to the Bulls by the wider rugby league community.
“I want to encourage all Bulls supporters to get along to what should be a cracking local derby.
“A good turn-out will ensure vocal support for the team, a fantastic atmosphere and also help financially where the club needs it most.”
Meanwhile, Bradford forward Tom Burgess said today that the continuing uncertainty contributed to his decision to join his brothers at South Sydney from next season and Potter admits other players are currently talking with other clubs.
Burgess, 20, was out of contract at the end of the year and says he considered offers from other Super League clubs before signing for the Rabbitohs.
“I wanted to talk to Bradford and see what they were offering as well but obviously they weren’t in a position to do that so it did make the decision a little bit easier,” he said.
Bradford have another 16 players coming out of contract and Potter admits whoever is in charge in 2013 will almost certainly have a new-look squad, whether they are still in Super League or have to start up again in the Championship.
“There are some players talking to other people,” Potter said. “The players would be mad not to be looking at opportunities elsewhere because the uncertainty is still lingering.
“I wish them all the best and I hope everyone secures their future, whether it be at Bradford or somewhere else, because you don’t like to see people out of work.
“Each year there’s always a change in the squad but this could be a dramatic change.”