Sacking Cummins is business decision ‘first and foremost’, say Bulls

BRADFORD Bulls’ managing director Steve Ferres says sacking Francis Cummins was “extremely hard” considering the loyal service their head coach has given the troubled club.

Francis Cummins.

They parted company with him yesterday less than 24 hours after an embarrassing 46-18 defeat at struggling Salford Red Devils left them eight points adrift of safety with 11 games left.

Relegation-threatened Bradford have also dismissed long-serving assistant Lee 
St Hilaire so captain Matt Diskin takes charge temporarily for Friday’s visit from Hull KR.

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Cummins, 37, initially joined as Mick Potter’s assistant at the end of 2010 and succeeded the Australian ahead of last season.

Francis Cummins.

But he has been inundated with problems throughout – many beyond his control.

Cummins selflessly worked unpaid when the club went into administration, saw a raft of players leave this term due to more financial problems and, of course, was left powerless as the Bulls were docked six points for entering administration again earlier this year.

He has handled himself with dignity throughout, meaning the West Yorkshire club have come in for fierce criticism now for relieving him of his duties when his contract ran until the end of 2015.

However, Ferres told The Yorkshire Post: “Obviously, first and foremost this is a business and we’ve to act accordingly.

“It was an extremely hard decision. I’ve been involved in the game a lot of years and – though it was a board decision – just to be involved in it was very, very difficult considering the outstanding way in which Franny’s conducted himself during his time here. That’s never been in question.

“But unfortunately at this time we are lacking on the playing side and that needs to improve.

“We feel we need to change the direction now to implement the changes we have to make moving forward and this is the right one.”

There is a sense Bradford, who have won just two of their last 13 Super League games, are already resigned to life in the Championship but Ferres countered: “We won’t be thinking about that until mathematically we can’t achieve Super League. We probably need six victories and it’s do-able if we win at home and pinch one away. But the time for talking has gone. We need to deliver.”

Potential replacements could include Brian Noble – who led Bradford to their last title success in 2005 – and ex-Bulls second-row Glenn Morrison, who has been a revelation in his short time at Dewsbury Rams.