INCOMING Bradford Bulls managing director Steve Ferres has pledged that under its new regime the club will endeavour to reconnect with its long-suffering fans.
Ferres, the former Wakefield Trinity Wildcats and Castleford Tigers chief executive, has been employed by Bradford’s new owner Marc Green to try and turn around their ailing fortunes.
Local businessman Green bought the club out of administration on Wednesday to end months of fraught uncertainty among the Odsal faithful who have endured, at times, pitiful communication from previous chiefs.
But, after so many other false dawns during two years in the financial doldrums, Ferres insists the real work has still yet to be done.
On the field, Francis Cummins’s side, bottom of Super League after incurring a six-point penalty for insolvency breaches, head to Widnes Vikings tomorrow looking for the win that would bring them back to parity.
“Our immediate priority is to ensure we avoid relegation,” admitted Ferres, who featured as a player for Bradford Northern in consecutive league championship success in 1979-80 and 1980-81. “Everyone knows we are some way behind the nine ball, but we are committed to doing everything we can to ensure Super League survival.
“From there, we intend to take the club forward in a controlled manner. We need to interact with our supporters, who are the heart and soul of Bradford Bulls.
“They have had to suffer a raw deal over the past few years and we will be working hard to win back their trust in the weeks and months ahead.
“In the medium term, we want to see the club competing at the level it should be. We will leave no stone unturned in helping Francis Cummins strengthen his squad, but it is no secret that clubs are reluctant to let players go during this part of the season.
“It is about numbers but it is also about timing for us, bringing the right people to the club at the right time.
“There is no hiding from the fact that this won’t be easy, but we are committed to delivering a squad and ultimately a club that our fans can be proud of again.”
Ferres, who also worked at York City Knights and as a consultant with the RFL for four years, is well versed in what is needed to run the business affairs of a professional club.
But, crucially, he is also familiar with the tradition and spirit of the famous Bradford club having been part of that prodigious side under the legendary Peter Fox.
“I am absolutely delighted to be back as this is a club which provided me with some very special memories,” explained Ferres, who quit Castleford after just six months following a disagreement with the club’s board in February last year.
“I was last associated with Bradford – then Northern – from 1979 to 1981, which was a hugely successful period for the club.
“I am extremely proud of what I achieved as a player here and returning as managing director is rather special.
“It goes without saying that the best time of my playing career was spent with Bradford,” he added.