There was a noticeable sense of shock when the attendance was blurted out over the tannoy at The Provident Stadium on Sunday.
Just 3,467 made the trip to watch Bradford’s comfortable victory over Workington Town, in what was the club’s first game since the announcement that James Lowes, the most recent coach to try and rekindle the magic that made the Bulls the world’s greatest club at the beginning of the 21st century, had resigned.
Bradford’s fall from grace has been uncomfortable to watch. Although the club now appears to be in safe hands under the stewardship of Marc Green, Steve Ferres and Robbie Hunter-Paul, it is a shadow of what it was during that glorious era just over a decade ago.
The world-conquering teams of old have been replaced with a good, but by no means exceptional Championship squad, carnival atmospheres have been replaced with subdued ones and a packed out Odsal is now nothing but a memory for the loyal fans that continue to support the club.
It goes without saying that a club of Bradford Bulls’ stature and history belongs in Super League, but as the months and years go by, the prospect of the Bulls returning to the promised land becomes less and less likely.
In reality, the club is still dealing with the aftermath of the club’s financial issues, which effectively resulted in the club’s relegation from Super League. The ship has been steadied since, but it’s hard to foresee and upward trajectory anytime soon.
A big issue at Bradford is how the club is perceived by those associated with it. Last year, Lowes guided the Bulls to the Million Pound Game, an accomplishment that would be considered a great success for any Championship club. But in Bradford’s case, failure to win that match was labelled a massive failure.
Given all of that, trying to pitch the job to a new head coach will be a difficult task. In a nutshell, the new head coach will be tasked with achieving promotion with a squad that is some way off those it will be contending with and with a much smaller budget. The contrast between expectation and reality is disproportionate, in the eyes of many, even an impossible task to fulfil. Even a section of the Bradford support has conceded defeat in the club’s fight to go up. In the last
In the last week we have already seen Richard Marshall, who is currently at part-time Halifax, rule himself out of the job, which sheds some light on how appealing the job at the Bulls currently is.
There will, of course, be coaches out there that would probably relish the job; Glenn Morrison and Scott Naylor are two thought to be keen, but finding a man with the experience and calibre the fans of Bradford are demanding is going to be very difficult given how much the odds are stacked against them from day one.
Whoever becomes the new Bradford head coach will have the weight of history on their shoulders and could well be fighting a losing battle before they’ve even started.