Sawyer hopes for early Bulls’ return to Bradford

Mark Sawyer says he’d be disappointed if Bradford don’t return to playing matches at Odsal at some point this season.

And the Bulls shareholder, who is also chairman of Championship rivals Dewsbury, with whom Bradford currently ground share, hopes it could happen as early as next month.

The ideal scenario would be for the first game after the return of fans, against Newcastle on Monday, May 17, to take place at Odsal, which the Bulls vacated at the end of the 2019 season due to rising maintenance costs.

But Sawyer accepts it’s a race against time to complete the work, which is necessary to get the historic ground back up to the necessary standard.

Having doubled up as Dewsbury Chairman and Bradford’s interim chief executive as both clubs worked to come through the coronavirus lockdown unscathed, Sawyer stood down from the latter role before the start of this season.

However, as a shareholder, he remains involved in certain Bulls projects, including the return to Odsal, which new Bulls Chairman Nigel Wood has made a priority.

“It’s quite a complex situation, and investment is needed, but there has been support from sponsors and work is ongoing to get the club back to the city of Bradford, which is important,” he said.

“Obviously it takes time, and we are waiting for certain items and materials to arrive, but we are pulling out all the stops, and it would be great to be back there by May 17.

“Whether or not that is achieved, I would be disappointed if Bradford weren’t back there at some point this year.”

Bradford were the home side against Dewsbury at the Tetley’s Stadium on Sunday, and Sawyer added: “It’s unusual to have an involvement in two clubs.

“I’ve been with Dewsbury for more than 20 years, and I’ve had the shares in Bradford since October 2019. I wanted to do my bit to help the club move forward.

“Becoming interim chief executive of one club while being Chairman of another was unusual, but so were the circumstances created by Covid.

“Bradford needed someone with day-to-day involvement, and we approached the RFL, who gave a dispensation for it to happen.

“Now Nigel is Bradford Chairman, and there is a strong management structure in place, so I have been able to step away from that day-to-day presence.”

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