Andrew Chalmers, the former chairman of New Zealand Rugby League and Director at Salford Red Devils, has been confirmed as the new owner of Bradford alongside Graham Lowe.
Chalmers set up a brand-new company on Companies House called ‘Bradford Bulls 2017 Limited’, hinting that he would be the man behind the new Bradford club.
That news has now been confirmed, with Chalmers set to be assisted by Lowe, who will be remembered on these shores for being the head coach of Wigan’s all-conquering side of the late 1980s. In his time at Wigan, Lowe won the Premiership final, the Challenge Cup in 1988 and 1989 and the World Cup Challenge in 1987.
In a full statement below, Lowe confirmed that the club will remain full-time.
Chalmers, said: “I am delighted that we have been given the opportunity to create what we hope will be a strong and stable club in Bradford. The history and tradition of Rugby League in this great city is something we are both very aware of.
“We are under no illusion of the enormity of the task that is ahead of us and that it is our job to win the trust of supporters and deliver a club that they are proud of. One of our first commitments to the RFL was that all season tickets for the 2017 season that have already been purchased by Bradford Bulls supporters would be honoured by the new club.
“We understand that there has been some criticism of the process and others are of course entitled to their views, but I want to make clear that at every stage the RFL have provided us with the detail and scrutiny that we expected for such an important decision.”
In addressing the players and coaching staff on Monday, Graham Lowe, said: “We do not see this as a quick fix and we will work through the immediate issue of offering full-time playing contracts to the team. This is expected to be accomplished in the next 48 hours and following that we will look at bolstering the playing squad as necessary to replace those players who have secured contracts elsewhere.”
Chalmers added: “We are both really excited about the strength of the high-performance academy and the long-term pathway opportunities that flow from this. We understand that this is a frustrating time for fans who want to know what is happening but I can assure you that we are working long hours with all interested parties to cover a lot of ground. We are aware of the hunger for information and we will update our position on a daily basis as and when we are able.
“A lot of work is required in a short space of time and we anticipate a lot of exciting announcements to follow in the coming days and weeks.”
As mentioned, the first challenge for the new owners is to put together a squad, with 10 players already departing, it’s understood that at least three more could still depart. The Bulls are due to play Huddersfield in a pre-season match on Friday.
The club also appears to be on the lookout for a new head coach, with Rohan Smith tweeting shortly after the announcement, hinting that he would not be involved.
— Rohan Smith (@rohanrsmith) January 17, 2017