The people who suffer the most through periods of turmoil are often the innocent ones.
In the case of Bradford Bulls, those people are the fans and the employees.
Yet speaking to John Kear, the Bulls head coach, he is buoyed by recent events and incredibly excited about the future. He says the recent dramas has only gone to further galvanise the squad, and reinforce their ‘us against the world’ mentality.
Under the new regime, he has seen improvements and positive strides.
“It’s been very heartening to tell you the truth,” he said.
“The transparency and communication has improved dramatically. Because of that, everyone feels more at ease. I can coach and players can play.”
Kear was a leading figure and something of a spokesperson during another troublesome off-season, but admitted to being uneasy himself.
“Everyone was. I’ll tell you what though, I’ve achieved a lot with playing groups, but what those lads have done in the last two years has been magnificent, to get out of League 1, that Challenge Cup run, miss the play-offs by a width of a post, it was a tremendous achievement when questions were being asked and there were elements of unrest in the background.
“Even the ones who have left, I understand their reasoning, they’ve had contract extensions on good money, I also understand the lads who’ve gone to Hull KR and Super League. I’d like to pat them all on the back.”
Bradford have lost almost 20 players of last year’s squad due to being under a transfer embargo and the following uncertainty.
Now out of special measures, Kear can build a squad again. But he has to do so having missed out on key targets who have now moved on, and with a reduced budget.
“It’s a challenge, but a helluva good one as it is one with clarity,” he reinforced.
“I’ve always believed any human being can deal with facts, however harsh they are as you can identify the problem and the solution. What’s hard is speculation and innuendo. Let’s give them a pat on the back, now we’ve got the facts, honesty and clarity, I believe we can go forward in a positive manner. This year, sure, it’s going to be tough, but we’re energised
“The budget is affordable, which I’m over the moon about. When I’m speaking to players now, it might not be as much as they want and we might lose some, but the club can afford to pay them. I feel now much happier speaking to new recruits and retention. I feel we’re in a very good place.”
Kear knows his side, and his club, won’t be expected to do much next year. It’s just how he wants it.
“I just think it’s the way I love it to tell you the truth. When people say you can’t do something, I love going out and doing it, and then shoving it in their face.”