Bradford Bulls continue to weigh up Odsal alternatives – but Valley Parade unlikely

Bradford Bulls continue to weigh up a number of options in regards to moving away from Odsal next season – but League Express has learned of stumbling blocks regarding alternative venues within the city itself.

Owner Andrew Chalmers said last week that the club have a self-imposed deadline of August 15th to determine whether they will stay at Odsal or move elsewhere, with the threat of leaving the city even raised as a possibility.

A return to Valley Parade – which hosts the city’s major sporting side, Bradford City and is where the Bulls briefly played in the early-2000s while work to Odsal was being done – had also been suggested. However, sources close to the League Two club have suggested it is ‘highly unlikely’ a groundshare will take place there.

Meetings took place between the two clubs early last week, but League Express understands that Bradford City’s running costs to play at Valley Parade amount to more than £1million.

They do not own the stadium, and with the football club likely to insist on a significant financial contribution totalling six figures for the Bulls to move across the city – a total which would not be too dissimilar from what the Bulls pay to play at Odsal at present – it makes a move there unlikely.

Another option is Horsfall Stadium, the home of sixth-tier football side Bradford Park Avenue – but like Valley Parade, League Express has learned of potential issues there, too.

The modest site currently has a working capacity of just over 3,000, but Football Association regulations for playing in the sport’s fifth tier, the National League – which Avenue were in the running to be promoted to last year – calls for stadia to have a minimum capacity of 4,000.

Therefore, League Express was told that it would be fairly straightforward for the site to push the capacity up to 4,000 should the Bulls consider that a serious option – but like Bradford at Odsal, Bradford Park Avenue – the site’s primary tenants – do not own the lease. That is owned by the Council.

Any concerns over the stadium failing to meet RFL regulations however, were played down.
The other option mooted by the club is a move outside of the city, to Dewsbury’s Tetley’s Stadium – but that is seen very much as a last resort. Bradford hierarchy are acutely aware of the ramifications of moving outside of the city.

Bradford are keen to ensure Odsal is as affordable as possible during their ongoing dispute with Bradford Council. They currently pay £72,000 per year rent – but maintenance and other costs drag that figure in excess of £300,000, League Express has been told.