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Potter angry after Bradford dismissal

2nd July 2012

• Potter one of 16 staff let go by administrators
• Legendary coach Brian Noble expected to come in

Mick Potter voiced the suspicions of thousands in Bradford and beyond when he queried his dismissal as head coach of the city’s once-proud Super League club, along with 15 other off-field staff including his wife Megan who managed the ticket office, by the administrators who were appointed last week.

“There’s something going on here,” said Potter, an Australian whose relationship with the Bulls stretches back to 1996 and who was about to start a training session on the Odsal pitch on Monday morning when the coaching staff were called inside and told they were all being made redundant. “There’s something not right about what’s happening.”

Asked whether he felt he had been stabbed in the back, Potter said: “Stabbed in the front. I feel let down and deceived about what has been going on. We kept being told about potential investors and that we were close and all the time it was shit. It’s a disgrace.”

Potter confirmed that he had been asked by the administrator – Brendan Guilfoyle of the Leeds-based P&A Partnership – to continue working unpaid for the rest of the season. “That’s impossible… I felt embarrassed for the person who asked the question,” he added. “I’m sure he’s not working for nothing as an administrator.”

Guilfoyle’s company were initially appointed in May by the Bradford directors who had forced the resignation of the former chairman Peter Hood to conduct a review of the club’s finances and then appointed administrators last week, when Guilfoyle said they needed to find new backers within 10 working days to stay in business.

“This is about survival,” Guilfoyle said in a statement. “We have no cash and no funds have been offered. It is with great regret that we have had to make these redundancies but there are no alternatives. We gave the club’s coach the option of working without payment but he declined. A number of people have approached us to help run and coach in the club without payment – we are now pursuing these offers as a matter of urgency.”

Guilfoyle says the Bulls still intend to fulfil Sunday’s home fixture against London Broncos, and the general expectation in Bradford is that Brian Noble, who was head coach during the club’s glory years when they reached five consecutive Grand Finals between 2001 and 2005, will take charge of the team. He has already been mentioned by Chris Caisley, the former chairman who remained the club’s largest single shareholder, as one of several people willing to help in a “root and branch” review of how the Bulls got themselves into such a mess.

However, several of the Bradford players reiterated their loyalty to Potter and his staff on Monday after demonstrating it on the field in securing a famous win at Wigan last Friday in what turned out to be their last match in charge.

Even if they agree to play on under a new coach appointed by the administrators, there are major questions about the attitude of the Rugby Football League and the other Super League clubs if Bradford re-emerge under new ownership, either from administration or after liquidation. Their membership of the RFL and their Super League participation agreement would have to be renewed, and that could involve demotion to the Championship.

The RFL called a meeting with Guilfoyle on Monday afternoon after the redundancies were announced, stressing they had “received no official notification of this action”.


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