Widnes chairman pledges money to help struggling Bradford survive
10:25 GMT, 29 March 2012
Widnes chairman Steve O'Connor has pledged 10,000 to boost the survival hopes of Super League rivals Bradford.
The beleaguered Bulls say they need 500,000 by next Friday in order to pay a looming tax bill and avoid the threat of administration.
O'Connor's donation, out of his own pocket, helped take the total of pledges past the 100,000 mark inside the first 48 hours and closer to the 1million the club say they need by the end of April to guarantee their survival.
'Steve rang me to offer his support for the situation we find ourselves in – but also to say he wanted to pledge an enormous sum of 10,000,' Bradford chairman Peter Hood told the Bradford Telegraph & Argus.
Fighting for their lives: Bradford have been pledged money by Widnes chairman Steve O'Connor
'Steve spoke eloquently at length about the rugby league community and how we are all in this together.
'He talked of the outstanding contribution that the Bradford Bulls have made to the game and he wants that to continue.
'His heartfelt and extremely generous contribution epitomises the response we have had from throughout the game.'
Meanwhile, the Bradford supporters trust, BullBuilder, have urged fans to put aside their lack of confidence in the directors by backing their fund-raising efforts.
'We are satisfied that the situation is one of extreme gravity, which indeed requires an immediate cash injection,' they said in a statement.
'After detailed discussions as a committee, we are convinced that it is of paramount importance for the club to raise sufficient funds to avoid administration.
'We believe that administration would, at the least, mean that BullBuilder's efforts in support of junior Bradford Bulls players would have been wasted as other clubs reap the benefits of players already developed and currently coming through the system.
Struggling: Bradford lost to Salford last weekend
'At worst, there are no guarantees that the Bulls will survive in any form, given that the club's position is unique and not directly comparable to other recent administrations, such as that from which Wakefield emerged last season.
'Although many people… are reluctant to pledge because of lack of confidence in the current board, we feel that such issues can only be addressed after the immediate priority of saving the club from administration has been resolved.
'As a result we urge our members, the fan base and the rugby league community as a whole to support the club's efforts to raise the necessary funds via the pledge and related fund-raising efforts.
'This is in no way to be seen as an endorsement of the current board and we will urgently seek meetings with the club to try to ensure that the views of the supporters are better represented, to improve transparency and to strengthen links between the club and the fans.
'However, we wish to emphasise that none of this can happen unless the club survives the current crisis.'