YOU think of rugby league and you immediately think of Odsal.
Home of the largest ever crowd for a rugby league game in the UK (the 1954 Challenge Cup replay between Halifax and Warrington drew a crowd of 102,575), Odsal has had a question mark hanging over it for a number of years.
Their home since 1934, Bradford Bulls left the famous Odsal venue ahead of the 2020 Championship season, citing the rising costs of repair and maintenance as the main reason for departure.
The Bulls returned midway through the 2021 season, but recently began making potential plans for a major redevelopment program that would see Odsal become a new 25,000-capacity extravaganza.
Taking advantage of the government’s Levelling Up process, Odsal was part of Bradford South’s bid in order to rejuvenate the area, reaching a second round of bids before being snubbed by the government.
Now, Brian Noble, who returned to the club in July last year as a consultant to head coach Mark Dunning, has explained that something needs to be done in order to make Odsal ‘a sporting environment’ for the future.
“There always has to be a Plan B. Odsal, in its current state, whilst I love it considering I have spent 50 years of my life there, isn’t fit for purpose in many respects,” Noble told League Express.
“It is fit for purpose in terms of the short-term but something needs to happen if it is to continue being a sporting environment in the long-term.
“The halcyon days for me was seeing Odsal as the hub of one of the biggest community programs in the country and it can be that again.
“I’m sure there are better brains and cleverer people than me having a look at what can and can’t be done with it.”
Concrete facilities are likely to factor into new rugby league stakeholders IMG’s thinking going forward into 2023, but what exactly does the future hold for Odsal?
The club has certainly not given up on the rejuvenation program, but a Plan B mentioned by Noble will be necessary.