Eleven years ago, Andy Lynch made his Bradford Bulls debut.
He ended that evening on February 3, a World Club Challenge winner.
Bradford defeated Tim Sheens’ Wests Tigers 30-10 to become world champions for the third time in the Millennium. They had the world at their feet.
At that time, Bradford’s current situation was unthinkable, intolerable, unfathomable.
However, it is a reality that Lynch, like many others, is having to come to terms with. The veteran forward spent seven years at Bradford, in which time he saw the club’s global domination begin to dwindle. But even when he left the club to join Hull FC in 2011, he could never begin to imagine what would follow.
“I know you can’t keep going back to the past, but to see all those titles that they won and compare that to now and the crowds they used to get, it has declined over the years. We used to get 26,000 for those Bradford and Leeds games.
“You can’t live in the past. You can go back and say we won this and that, but it’s about what they’re doing now. They need to sort the off-field stuff out and just let the guys play rugby under no pressure and get them back up to where they should be.
“I spent seven years there and I’ve still got a lot of friends there, so it is disappointing to see what has happened to them.”
Nevertheless, Lynch can still see positives and believes that given the correct opportunity, the new club can start the process of restoring their former glory.
“I think Rohan Smith is there for the long-haul and Leon Pryce wants to get the club back to where they were.
“There’s two good guys there that can attract people in and they can start playing with no pressure on them regarding their job. Fingers crossed they can get back up there.”