The staggering silence of the key stakeholder in Bradford Bulls saga

The fans have made their voices heard, as have the media.

Yet there is one set of stakeholders who remain staggeringly silent in the case of the Bradford Bulls, and they’re the ones with the most influence.

The club owners.

It appears that, as a collective, they’ve taken the term ‘off-season’ quite literally when it comes to Bradford. There’s been nothing more than a peep out of any of them, other than Gary Hetherington, a known ally of Nigel Wood, supporting his role at the Bulls.

The rest of them have distanced themselves from the matter while fans have been throwing stones and lambasting journalists for “not doing their jobs”.

Some fans have tried to start a crusade but the harsh reality is that their opinion will have no influence in forcing the RFL into an independent inquiry, the governing body’s feeble attempt to silence those calls was proof of that.

The same probably applies to the media. Despite many of its members calling for the same investigation, it has fallen on deaf ears, heck, members of the governing body desperately attempted to, though woefully failed, to convince the press all was fine and dandy at a media briefing last week.

But another reality is that the people who do have the power to influence things and always will for that matter, are the club owners.

Up to now, they have let the game’s other stakeholders down through their silence.

Make no mistake about it, many of them share the view that an independent inquiry is needed.

Yet they won’t come out and say it. Aside from Hetherington, only one club official has commented on Bradford Bulls in recent weeks, and even they decided to remain anonymous in a piece published by League Express.

Now admittedly, the number of opinionated columns full of bravado have almost halved due to Andrew Chalmers’ disappearance from the scene, but even still, this is still a bunch of people who all had their opinion on what should happen last year when it came to league restructure. They all had an opinion on expansion or anything else to do with rugby league. Just not Bradford, it seems.

The clubs are the ones who can put pressure on the RFL. So far, they have not done that. If they, collectively, went to the RFL with a signed document expressing their desire for an inquiry, the governing body could not hide any longer. It is that point that they are under pressure, not when anyone and everyone rants about the matter on Twitter.

The word is that clubs will discuss the matter at a Championship & League 1 meeting later this week. There are even suggestions some officials have been campaigning with others to join them. If so, that’s a welcome development.

But it needs more of them to drive the message home and crank up the pressure further to the RFL.

So the next time you decide to bash a journalist for not doing enough, maybe you should send that question in the direction of your club’s owner instead.