May 9 2012
Former Bradford chairman Chris Caisley will return to Odsal on Thursday to help secure the future of the beleaguered Stobart Super League club.
Caisley's successor Peter Hood and fellow director Andrew Bennett, who were expected to be voted out of office later this month at an extraordinary general meeting, both jumped before being pushed.
That has cleared the way for Caisley to end his six-year exile, although he will not necessarily return as chairman. Talks will begin on Thursday between chief executive Ryan Duckett, the sole surviving director, and leading shareholders, led by Caisley, to take the financially-crippled club onto the next step towards salvation.
Duckett, who confirmed to Press Association Sport that he hopes to stay on in his role, admitted uncertainty still hangs over the club. "I'll be meeting the shareholders over the next day or so," he said. "What their plans are will hopefully become clear when we meet up."
It was Hood who made the shock revelation on March 27 that the club had run out of money and needed £1million to stay in business. A major fund-raising exercise enabled them to reach half their target inside a fortnight to avert a winding-up order but the threat of administration still exists.
Hood, who has been on the club's board since 1999 and took over as chairman in 2006, had become resigned to his fate, hinting at his likely resignation at the Bulls' last home match last month.
"Chris has indicated to me and also to chief executive Ryan Duckett that he has investors waiting in the wings who are ready, willing and able to get on board but apparently they are not prepared to do so under the present regime," Hood said.
"Andrew Bennett and I have concluded that the interests of Bradford Bulls and its players, coaches and staff are best served by us making way for Mr Caisley and his cohorts now, rather than awaiting an EGM at which we are bound to be out-voted."
Caisley, a Leeds-based solicitor who was chairman during the club's glory years in Super League where they reached five consecutive Grand Finals up to 2005, stepped down six years ago but has remained the largest single shareholder.
With support from another former director, Stephen Coulby, they called last month for the resignation of Hood and Bennett and convened an extraordinary general meeting for May 23 when they refused. Among the resolutions tabled for that meeting was the co-option of Coulby as a director and he is an obvious candidate to succeed Hood as chairman.