Nicknames: The Bulls, Northern
Ground: Provident Stadium
Capacity: 27,491 (Heavily Restricted)
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Bradford Rugby League
As one of the most successful clubs in recent history and despite recent years of struggles the Bradford Bulls have one of the largest fan bases in the world.
Due to their close proximity and the success enjoyed by both during the Super League era, the biggest rivalry for Bradford is now with the Leeds Rhinos although historically near neighbours Huddersfield and Halifax have been the clubs biggest rivals
The Bradford Bulls are one of the most iconic names in English Rugby League with their equally famous Red, Amber and Black playing strip instantly recognisable at any game they are playing in. The clubs home playing strip is predominantly white with the clubs red, amber and black colours appearing in a chevron/v shape across the chest, although there are variants from one year to the next.
The Bradford Bulls play at Odsal Stadium and whilst it is fair to say that the stadium has seen better days, it will likely always be the location of the biggest attendance for any British Rugby match as 102,569 fans crammed into the stadium to witness the 1954 Challenge Cup Final replay between Warrington and Halifax.
The stadium is one of the most historic in the country having first opened in 1934 but despite renovation in 1964, 1985 and 2001-02, the stadium is showing its age, with the club continually trying to find solution to renovate but with the club facing continual financial problems, nothing has happened on that front to date.
The history of the Bulls can be split into 5 eras; Bradford FC, Bradford Northern, The rebirth, Golden Era and Financial Struggles.
The club were formed in 1862 and were originally known as Bradford Football Club. The club led a nomadic life until 1879 when they joined with Bradford Cricket Club to buy Park Avenue and they became the Bradford Cricket, Athletic and Football Club.
In 1907 the clubs chairman used his influence to force the cub to become an Associate Football club, now known as Bradford Park Avenue, but a minority of supporters applied to take over Bradford FC’s place in the Northern Union, with the new name Bradford Northern.
Northern again had somewhat of a nomadic existence playing at grounds all around Bradford before moving to a former quarry at Odsal Top in 1933. This was turned into the largest stadium in England apart from Wembley and became the home of Bradford Rugby League.
The club enjoyed lots of success over the next 30 years, especially in the 1940’s but in 1963 the club’s downfall came to ahead with record low crowds and a record of just 1 win all season long. This led to the club going out of business before a group of supporters once again came to Bradford rescue, forming another new club.
In 1963 just 324 fans turned up to watched Bradford play Barrow but in 1964 14,500 fans turned up to watch them play Hull Kingston Rovers in the first game of new Bradford Northern.
The club then enjoyed stability, at least by their standards and despite years or success and years of struggles the club made it through to the formation of Super League, where they became one of the founding clubs of the new league.
The Golden era of the Bradford Bulls coincided with the start of the Super League era in the Northern Hemisphere. The Bradford Bull became one of the iconic names of the Super League era, thanks to been the club to adapt the best to the new era of Rugby League which led to big crowds and huge success on the field.
In 2006 Steve McNamara became the head coach of Bradford but with the club on the decline he was replaced initially by Lee St Hilaire and then Mick Potter. The club were placed in receivership in 2012 with Potter staying on .
The club announced that they need £1,000,000 just to keep going and the Rugby League community came together to help raise funds.
The RFL stepped in to help also but despite a takeover, this just the start of the club’s financial problems which was exasperated by relegation to the Championship in 2014.
Since then, the club have re-established themselves as a top 2nd tier club side and have enjoyed some more time in the limelight due to big performances in the cup and whilst things have continued to be difficult away from the field, with the club having the leave the city of Bradford and groundshare with the Dewsbury Rams.