Bulls Reflect on wakefield opener

Bulls reflect on Wakefield Opener

For years it has been well known in Rugby League circles that the two major cities where professional rugby league stadium facilities have been deficient have been Wakefield and Bradford.

Friday night demonstrated, should anyone be in any doubt, the economic regeneration that can be achieved by investing in rugby league facilities.

The marvellous and wonderful travelling Bulls support must be scratching their heads as to why Wakefield Council recognise the value of investing in rugby league while their own does not.

In the past couple of years Wakefield Council has provided £6M, to be shared between three professional clubs Castleford, Featherstone and Wakefield Trinity, with a further £11M to reacquire the historic Belle Vue site and for the building of the new Neil Fox MBE Stand.

In meantime Odsal Stadium, equally if not even more iconic, has remained under invested in and is slipping backwards relative to all other mainstream rugby league venues.

Bulls Chairman Nigel Wood OBE said, “Friday night was difficult in many ways but it also reminded us all of what actually can be achieved when a Local Authority understands the value of providing a 21st century facility for its rate payers to enjoy top class sport.

“I’ve visited Belle Vue for half a century and it’s never looked better, well maintained, well lit, big screen, in the main covered and a with a splendid new main grandstand.  Credit is due to the new owner Matt Ellis for putting on a great show in front of 7000 plus people, but he and everyone acknowledges that the catalyst has been the overdue re-development of that famous old ground.

With Castleford advancing their own plans and Featherstone already being in good shape, Wakefield District is starting to catch up on the facilities. Which leaves Bradford and Keighley cast adrift as the outliers.

Wood added “From the Humber to Mersey Elite Rugby League is now staged in great facilities. Leigh, York, Widnes, Saints, Warrington, the list goes on and on. The Bulls is now a stable and positive club thanks to the hard work of many, many colleagues, volunteers and sponsors, but there is only so much that a group of well-intentioned volunteers can actually deliver. The solution to the riddle simply has to involve the public purse, like it has done at every other ground redevelopment over the past 30 years, and we would urge our civic leaders to grasp the nettle and collaborate with us in delivering a permanent solution to facilities issue for the benefit of the public of Bradford and the supporters of the Bradford Bulls.”