Tag Archives: bradford

Jack Wilshere to sign 20m five-year deal to stay at Arsenal

Jack's 20m Christmas present: Wilshere agrees five-year deal to stay at Arsenal

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UPDATED:

22:39 GMT, 15 December 2012

Jack Wilshere will provide a huge boost to ailing Arsenal — and under-pressure manager Arsene Wenger — by signing a 20million, five-year contract in the next month.

And the 20-year-old England midfielder — the country’s brightest young talent — has vowed that the new generation of Arsenal players will bring the glory days back to a club who have now gone seven-and-a-half years without a trophy.

Wilshere, who expects very soon to agree terms on the new deal, including a starting salary of 80,000 a week and staged pay rises, has also revealed that he wants to captain the club one day, indicating his commitment to a long-term career at Arsenal.

Sign me up: Jack Wilshere will remain an Arsenal player after agreeing a bumper new deal

Sign me up: Jack Wilshere will remain an Arsenal player after agreeing a bumper new deal

With 19-year-old winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain expected to follow suit soon by signing his own new deal, the news will cheer Arsenal after a dismal week in which they were knocked out of the Capital One Cup by League Two side Bradford City.

Wilshere said: ‘I’m talking to the club and I will probably be committing my future to them in the next couple of weeks. I know the team are going through a bad spell at the moment but that’s like any team. That’s not a problem for me nor is it a problem if the fans are booing us. We have to change that ourselves.’

His commitment is a significant coup for Arsenal after the recent departures of Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy, Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie, and with Theo Walcott’s future after next summer in doubt. But Wilshere believes that he has time on his side as Arsenal attempt to become title challengers again.

Ones for the future: Wilshere (centre) believes the current crop, which features Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (second left), and the experience of Per Mertesacker (second right) and Lukas Podolski (right) will challenge for the title in years to come

Ones for the future: Wilshere (centre) believes the current crop, which features Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (second left), and the experience of Per Mertesacker (second right) and Lukas Podolski (right) will challenge for the title in years to come

He said: ‘Over the past few years the top players have probably thought they don’t see a bright future at Arsenal but it’s different for them. They were a bit older than me. I’m 20. I’ve still got a long way to go in my career. Players like Robin are older and maybe he thought: “I haven’t got time any more”. We’ve got other young players like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Kieran Gibbs. In the next three or four years they can become top players and we can challenge for everything.

‘With young players, there is an enthusiasm that you don’t get with older ones. It’s natural that you feel excited about the future. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not just going to happen. We will have to work hard. We’re not where we want to be yet.’

Wilshere’s aim is to stay at the club for the long term and he even hopes that one day he will be lifting trophies as Arsenal captain. ‘I’d like to captain the club one day,’ he said. ‘I’ve been here since I was nine and I know the traditions and have been in the first team since I was young. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’m ready now, but one day, maybe, I’d like to captain the club.’

Showing his displeasure: Arsene Wenger fumes at Valley Parade

Showing his displeasure: Arsene Wenger fumes at Valley Parade

Despite the unprecedented scrutiny Arsenal’s manager has come under in the wake of the Capital One Cup exit, Wilshere remains confident that Wenger, whose contract ends in 2014, is the best man for the club. ‘Every year we’ve been in the Champions League and there’s no other manager has done that,’ he said.

‘He’s built a legacy at this club. He came in 16 years ago and he changed everything. He brought the passing game to Arsenal and he’s been great to me. He showed great faith in me when I was young and stuck with me after my injury. So, for me, there’s no question he’s the right man for the job.

‘When you have a few bad results I don’t think you can start blaming the manager. The players have to look at themselves. It’s not the manager’s fault.’

Wilshere, who was talking at an EA Sports FIFA 13 Ultimate Team event, has revealed Wenger has rebuked his players at times in frustration after recent poor performances.

‘He gets angry if we don’t perform and he’s entitled to if players are not pulling their weight.

In the eye of the storm: Wilshere is disconsolate after Arsenal's defeat at Bradford

In the eye of the storm: Wilshere is disconsolate after Arsenal's defeat at Bradford

‘The way we played at Bradford, the manager deserved to be angry and upset. We knew it was going to be a tough game. It’s difficult for the foreign players, especially in their first season, to come here and know what playing Bradford away is going to be like. Maybe you think Bradford away is going to be easy but, trust me, it’s not. It’s quicker and maybe even more intense than the Premier League. They get up to you and close you down and maybe the foreign players don’t understand that. But they’ll adapt and learn.’

He added that he understands why fans have booed the team, notably after the 2-0 home defeat against Swansea two weeks ago. ‘We understand the fans’ frustration,’ he said. ‘They’re paying their money and if we’re not performing, they boo. We shouldn’t be losing games at home with the team we’ve got. We were disappointing in the Swansea game and deserved to be booed.

Champions Leagues hopes: Arsenal find out their opponents on Thursday

Champions Leagues hopes: Arsenal find out their opponents on Thursday

‘But our season’s not over. The Capital
One Cup was not one of our main targets. Obviously it’s nice to get a
trophy and we wanted to win it. It hurts a lot that we’re out but it’s
only December — there’s a long way to go and we’re still in the
Champions League and FA Cup. We’re a bit far behind in the Premier
League but football changes quickly. If we win three games and another
team lose a couple and draw one, we’re back in it.

‘We’re in the Champions League. That’s going to be difficult but we know we can beat anyone over two games. In the FA Cup we’ve got a hard game against Swansea but if we win that and a few big teams lose, then, in cup football, anything can happen.

‘With Chelsea last year, no one would have said at the stage they were at in December that they could win the Champions League. But they got a bit of luck and, with that in your favour, you never know what can happen in that competition.’

Wilshere concedes Arsenal’s seven-and-a-half year wait for a major trophy has placed an added burden on the team. ‘It’s something we have to change. It’s there and it just adds to the pressure,’ said Wilshere.

‘It’s too long for a club like Arsenal. We should be winning things. We used to in the past and there’s no reason we can’t in the future. We’ve got good players. Maybe there’s a mental block that we need to get over and, once we get our first trophy, then it will all start to happen for us.’

Arsene Wenger in denial over cup exit, transfer flops and Steve Bould

I'm Arsene, trust me: Wenger in denial as he is quizzed over Bould, cup exit and transfer flops

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UPDATED:

23:33 GMT, 14 December 2012

Arsene Wenger emerged from his silver Mercedes at Arsenal’s training ground just after 9am on Friday looking like he hadn’t slept in a week.

It has been a wretched few days and Wenger’s haunted look cannot be helping with preparations for the Barclays Premier League fixture with Reading on Monday.

He was, predictably, in a particularly tetchy mood and he bit on almost everything as he fended off questions ranging from the catastrophic Capital One Cup defeat at Bradford City to his failing transfer policy.

Under pressure: Arsene Wenger was in denial about the state of Arsenal

Under pressure: Arsene Wenger was in denial about the state of Arsenal

‘Don’t worry — we will buy Lionel Messi in January and we will surprise you,’ was the icy response to a genuine query about the acquisitions of Gervinho, Chamakh, Santos, Park, Squillaci, et al.

Arsenal have gone wonky under Wenger and his skewed assessment of the club’s progress, or alarming lack of it, is in danger of affecting his standing among the supporters.

At 63 he is fighting to convince fans, along with his players, that after 16 years in the job he still represents the future of Arsenal Football Club.

During a series of strained exchanges, he stopped short of reminding people about the three Premier League titles and four FA Cups he won during the golden period.

Chelsea have the same record since Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003 and they can now throw in the Champions League to boot.

‘I am here to take the flak — and I must say you (the media) do that very well,’ admitted Wenger. ‘We finished third in the league last season, but it depends on how you judge a team.

‘It’s true we have not kicked on, but we have rebuilt a team this year and we will see where we finish. We are not happy with what we have produced, but we will turn it around before the finish.

‘People have to take a little bit of distance before making a definite judgment on what we are capable of doing.

‘At the moment we have qualified for the Champions League knockout stage for 13 years out of the last 16. When I listen to the media, it must be a mistake: they talk like we are in the Championship.’

No division: Wenger has denied there is a rift between him and his assistant Steve Bould

No division: Wenger has denied there is a rift between him and his assistant Steve Bould

Naturally, Wenger was on the defensive on Friday, taking issue with a number of stories that have appeared across a broad spectrum of newspapers this week.

He referenced assistant manager Steve Bould and the distance in the relationship between the pair over the past few months.

It’s all ‘lies’, according to Wenger, although no-one is denying that fitness coach Tony Colbert was asked to take training instead of Bould when Wenger was absent the day before the defeat against Swansea.

‘I believe this is a good opportunity to show that we are strong inside the club and let other people talk,’ said Wenger. ‘We are criticised when our results aren’t good, but we have to take it on the chin.’

Wenger wasn’t finished, either. He was irritated by another question, this time about the 11million transfer fee routinely bandied around for Gervinho’s move from Lille in 2011. ‘It was 8m.’ Whatever it was, it has still been a disaster.

Disaster: Gervinho (right) missed appallingly against Bradford

Disaster: Gervinho (right) missed appallingly against Bradford

‘Gervinho is a good player, but I don’t want to get into individual assessments,’ he said. ‘You accuse us of not paying the wages, but then you accuse us of giving them the money they want.’

He was upset with another analysis after highlighting that the club’s fabled youth academy has only produced two first-team regulars — Ashley Cole and Jack Wilshere — in 16 years.

‘If you look at the players who have started at Arsenal Football Club over the past 15 years there will be more than all the clubs put together in the Champions League. ‘I don’t know where you get your statistics from but you should check them.’

They were checked and Arsenal have, indeed, only produced two first-team players from scratch. The rest, such as Cesc Fabregas, were brought into the academy from Barcelona.

‘You cannot say we have a squad without quality as they are all international players,’ he said.

Import: Cesc Fabregas came from Barcelona, where he has since returned

Import: Cesc Fabregas came from Barcelona, where he has since returned

‘I would prefer it if everyone said I am fantastic but I cannot say we were fantastic when we lost on penalties to Bradford. I am responsible for the results, but it was a cup game on an English December night in Bradford. Unfortunately we have paid the price, but do not forget they kicked out Wigan as well.’

Wigan always get kicked out of the cup but this is Arsenal and 4,500 travelling fans expected the team to show some bottle at Valley Parade. Instead they aim to rescue their season, starting at the Madejski Stadium on Monday night.

There are some bad buys in this Arsenal team and it seems inappropriate to think that it was only six years ago the last remaining members of the Invincibles competed with Barcelona in the Champions League final.

‘I am the right man for the job,’ Wenger said. ‘I am highly focused on the job and I’m very determined and hungry. I can understand that people criticise us.’

After 16 years at Arsenal, he looks in need of a good rest.

Bradford captain Gary Jones taunts Arsene Wenger after Capital One Cup disaster that Torquay are tougher than Arsenal

Torquay are tougher than you! Bradford skipper Jones taunts Wenger after cup disaster

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UPDATED:

23:53 GMT, 12 December 2012

Oh dear: Arsene Wenger is under pressure as the Gunners are well off the pace this season

Oh dear: Arsene Wenger is under pressure as the Gunners are well off the pace this season

Arsene Wenger was subjected to more humiliation yesterday when Bradford captain Gary Jones insisted Torquay had proved more difficult to beat than Arsenal.

Jones delivered a scathing assessment of the Gunners’ shortcomings that will only intensify the pressure on their under-fire manager.

While Wenger claimed his players had no cause for embarrassment, former Rochdale midfielder Jones argued they should hang their heads in shame after putting up less fight than Torquay in a League Two fixture three days earlier.

Mid-table Torquay kept Bradford at bay until bowing to an 85th-minute goal from one of Tuesday’s substitutes, Alan Connell, and Jones was in no doubt about who had inconvenienced them more.

‘I think it’s safe to say Torquay gave us a tougher game,’ said the 35-year old, whose previous claim to fame was making a record number of appearances for Rochdale.

‘It was like a role reversal, because Torquay defended really well against us, whereas it was us defending really well against Arsenal.

‘When you look at what the two teams cost (Bradford 7,500, Arsenal over 65million), it is an incredible result. Without a shadow of a doubt, if I was an Arsenal player heading home after that, I would be embarrassed.'

You beauty: Jones celebrates with goalkeeper and penalty hero Matt Duke

You beauty: Jones celebrates with goalkeeper and penalty hero Matt Duke

He added: 'No disrespect to us and our lads, but they should be beating Bradford City.

‘Team spirit and all that means a lot, though, and can take a side a long way.

'We have a massive team spirit and that is what happened. The lads were unbelievable. It was one of those nights where you just had to be there to witness it.

'I thought promotion with Rochdale would take some beating as the best moment of my career, but to knock out a full-strength Arsenal in a cup quarter-final is what dreams are made of. It is what you play football for.

‘Did it surprise me how badly Arsenal played I think it did, yes. We were surprised at how comfortable we were at times. They didn’t really have too many shots on goal.'

Night to forget: Chamakh, Mertesacker and Gervinho look on as Arsenal were embarrassed by Bradford

Night to forget: Chamakh, Mertesacker and Gervinho look on as Arsenal were embarrassed by Bradford

Night to remember: Bradford celebrate their famous victory over the Premier League giants

Night to remember: Bradford celebrate their famous victory over the Premier League giants

Jones continued: ‘They tried to play too much football at times, especially down the middle. We defended really well, and our organisation and discipline were really good, which put us in good stead for going through.

‘I thought we’d be up against a lot of youth players, with a bit of experience thrown in, but it was nothing like that.

'When we saw their team sheet, we couldn’t believe it. Steve Parkin (assistant manager) wrote their line-up on a piece of paper, then put on the bottom 'poor team' with an exclamation mark.’

Bradford City reinstated to FA Cup

Bradford bonus No 2! City reinstated to FA Cup after successful appeal hours after knocking Arsenal out of League Cup

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UPDATED:

17:57 GMT, 12 December 2012


Reinstated: Bradford had been banned for fielding Curtis Good (pictured) in their FA Cup tie with Brentford - but the decision was overturned on appeal today

Reinstated: Bradford had been banned for fielding Curtis Good (pictured) in their FA Cup tie with Brentford – but the decision was overturned on appeal today

Bradford City have today successfully appealed their expulsion from the FA Cup and remain in all three cup competitions.

They had been removed after fielding an ineligible player in their second round tie with Brentford at Valley Parade.

But a Football Association appeals panel decided to reinstate them, issuing a 1,000 fine instead.

It means the scheduled replay at Griffin Park will now go ahead as planned on December 18.

The fixture will be added to a crowded fixture schedule for the Bantams, who are through to the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup and are also still in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.

Bradford played Newcastle United loanee Curtis Good in the 1-1 draw with Brentford on November 30, breaching the competition's rules.

But the decision to expel them has now been overturned on appeal. A club statement read: 'We can confirm that on appeal the club has now been reinstated back into the F.A Cup competition and has been fined for its actions.

'We deeply regret our breach of the rules and are currently reviewing our procedures to ensure no repeat of this situation.

'Therefore the original replay of the club's F.A Cup Second Round tie at Brentford FC scheduled for Tuesday 18 December 2012 will now take place at the Bees' Griffin Park stadium.

'The club would like to go on record and express gratitude to our legal partners who represented us before the tribunal.

'The club also wishes to extend its gratitude to The FA Appeals Committee for dealing with this matter expeditiously, justly and mercifully.'

Brentford or Bradford will play Southend United in the third round.

The Bantams recorded a memorable penalty shoot-out victory over Arsenal in the Capital One Cup last night. They are still in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy too, having beaten Port Vale last week.

That's magic! Bradford celebrate dramatic victory over Arsenal in the Capital One Cup last night

That's magic! Bradford celebrate dramatic victory over Arsenal in the Capital One Cup last night

Phil Parkinson hopes Bradford can use victory over Arsenal as a springboard to success

'We want to put Bradford on the map again': Parkinson aims to use Arsenal victory as springboard to success

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UPDATED:

00:36 GMT, 12 December 2012

Bradford manager Phil Parkinson hopes his club are on the way back after they stunned Arsenal in the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup.

League Two Bantams were three minutes away from a normal-time win at Valley Parade, with Thomas Vermaelen's equaliser cancelling out Garry Thompson`s early opener.

Unbridled glee: Bradford players celebrate with keeper Matt Duke after winning on penalties

Unbridled glee: Bradford players celebrate with keeper Matt Duke after winning on penalties

But City were not thrown off course and hung on for a penalty shoot-out which they duly won 3-2 – their ninth successive shoot-out win.

It is a decade since Bradford were in the Premier League but now, with a semi-final place secured, Parkinson hopes they are on their way back to the top.

Famous victory: Phil Parkinson's team gave Valley Parade an evening to cherish

Famous victory: Phil Parkinson's team gave Valley Parade an evening to cherish

'The lads were terrific, the commitment was first class and considering we were three minutes away…. People will talk about penalties but our overall performance was outstanding,' he told Sky Sports 1.

'Arsenal have got world class players and played their strongest team, but you have to give the players so much credit.

Quick out of the blocks: After Garry Thompson gave the Bantams a 16th minute lead, Bradford held the upper hand

Quick out of the blocks: After Garry Thompson gave the Bantams a 16th minute lead, Bradford held the upper hand

'I hope this can be the first of many nights like this for Bradford City. We want to put Bradford on the map again. I want them to have a team to be proud of.'

Midfielder Gary Jones, a scorer in the shoot-out, called it 'one of the best nights of my life' before adding: 'We've just knocked Arsenal out of the Capital One Cup. It was 11 v 11 and we had to keep our shape and frustrate them.'

Saving grace: Matt Duke repels Santi Cazorla's penalty

Saving grace: Matt Duke repels Santi Cazorla's penalty

Goalkeeper Matt Duke saved a penalty from Santi Cazorla and said: 'We set our stall out and the men in front of me were fantastic. We are really fit as a team and that showed.'

Bradford City to appeal expulsion from FA Cup for fielding ineligible player

Bradford to appeal expulsion from FA Cup for fielding ineligible player

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UPDATED:

16:28 GMT, 7 December 2012

Bradford City have been expelled from the FA Cup after fielding an ineligible player in their second round tie with Brentford.

The Bantams did not gain the necessary written permission to play Newcastle United loanee Curtis Good before the 12pm deadline on Friday November 30, the day before the 1-1 draw at Valley Parade.

Bradford are appealing the decision but if the FA reject their arguments, Brentford will advance to a third round tie with either Southend United or Bury.

Ineligible: Newcastle loanee Curtis Good should not have been started against Brentford in the FA Cup second round tie last weekend

Ineligible: Newcastle loanee Curtis Good should not have been started against Brentford in the FA Cup second round tie last weekend

Australian defender Good, 19, was on loan at the club until January 2. The match with Brentford was his debut appearance.

A Bradford City statement read: 'Bradford City Football Club were charged by the FA of rule 15 (j) (i) on Monday 3 December 2012 in relation to their F.A Cup with Budweiser Second Round encounter with Brentford on the 30 November 2012.

'The nature of the charge is the playing of one of our loan players deemed ineligible due to the late submission for permission for him to play.

'Bradford City Football Club is very sorry to have to report such a matter and apologies to our fans.

Cup progress: James Hanson had scored the goal that earned Bradford a replay in the 1-1 draw with League One Brentford

Cup progress: James Hanson had scored the goal that earned Bradford a replay in the 1-1 draw with League One Brentford

'The error was of an administrative technical nature and not one to intentionally break competition rules.

'We presented a case of mitigation to the FA on Thursday 6 December, however the FA panel chose to enforce the full powers of its jurisdiction and have removed the club from the FA Cup competition.

'We are clearly disappointed by this decision and cannot comment further on this matter as the club is still actively conducting a full investigation.

'The club has until 5:00pm today (Friday) to lodge an appeal with the FA and we are currently reviewing our position in relation to this.'

Cup interest: Bradford still retain interest in the League Cup and Johnstone's Paint Trophy, but won't have a shot at Southend or Bury in the FA Cup third round now

Cup interest: Bradford still retain interest in the League Cup and Johnstone's Paint Trophy, but won't have a shot at Southend or Bury in the FA Cup third round now

Brentford chief executive Mark Devlin admitted he had sympathy with Bradford and would have preferred to have advanced in the competition another way.

He told Sky Sports News: 'It is not a satisfactory way to progress, we would much rather prefer to progress by winning a match but the FA have made their decision and that's it really.

'The first we heard of anything was on Monday afternoon and internally we just held off before putting tickets out for sale for the replay and just waited for the FA's decision from yesterday's committee hearing.

'It is the FA's competition, the FA make the rules which we all know about. Whether we feel sympathetic or not does not come into play really. It is the FA's decision. I do have some sympathies with Bradford.

'It is entirely a matter for the FA and Bradford City Football Club. I don't think we will be asked to get involved any further at this stage.'

Bradford remain in the Capital One Cup, where they will play Arsenal next week, and the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.

Bradford City kicked out of the FA Cup for fielding ineligible player

Bradford kicked out of the FA Cup for fielding ineligible player

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UPDATED:

12:20 GMT, 7 December 2012

Bradford City have been expelled from the FA Cup after fielding an ineligible player in their second round tie with Brentford.

The Bantams did not gain the necessary written permission to play Newcastle United loanee Curtis Good before the 12pm deadline on Friday November 30, the day before the 1-1 draw at Valley Parade.

Bradford have until 5pm today to appeal the decision, otherwise Brentford will advance to a third round tie with either Southend United or Bury. The replay, scheduled for December 18, will now be cancelled.

Ineligible: Newcastle loanee Curtis Good should not have been started against Brentford in the FA Cup second round tie last weekend

Ineligible: Newcastle loanee Curtis Good should not have been started against Brentford in the FA Cup second round tie last weekend

Australian defender Good, 19, was on loan at the club until January 2. The match with Brentford was his debut appearance.

A Bradford City statement read: 'Bradford City Football Club were charged by the FA of rule 15 (j) (i) on Monday 3 December 2012 in relation to their F.A Cup with Budweiser Second Round encounter with Brentford on the 30 November 2012.

'The nature of the charge is the playing of one of our loan players deemed ineligible due to the late submission for permission for him to play.

'Bradford City Football Club is very sorry to have to report such a matter and apologies to our fans.

Cup progress: James Hanson had scored the goal that earned Bradford a replay in the 1-1 draw with League One Brentford

Cup progress: James Hanson had scored the goal that earned Bradford a replay in the 1-1 draw with League One Brentford

'The error was of an administrative technical nature and not one to intentionally break competition rules.

'We presented a case of mitigation to the FA on Thursday 6 December, however the FA panel chose to enforce the full powers of its jurisdiction and have removed the club from the FA Cup competition.

'We are clearly disappointed by this decision and cannot comment further on this matter as the club is still actively conducting a full investigation.

'The club has until 5:00pm today (Friday) to lodge an appeal with the FA and we are currently reviewing our position in relation to this.'

Cup interest: Bradford still retain interest in the League Cup and Johnstone's Paint Trophy, but won't have a shot at Southend or Bury in the FA Cup third round now

Cup interest: Bradford still retain interest in the League Cup and Johnstone's Paint Trophy, but won't have a shot at Southend or Bury in the FA Cup third round now

Brentford chief executive Mark Devlin admitted he had sympathy with Bradford and would have preferred to have advanced in the competition another way.

He told Sky Sports News: 'It is not a satisfactory way to progress, we would much rather prefer to progress by winning a match but the FA have made their decision and that's it really.

'The first we heard of anything was on Monday afternoon and internally we just held off before putting tickets out for sale for the replay and just waited for the FA's decision from yesterday's committee hearing.

'It is the FA's competition, the FA make the rules which we all know about. Whether we feel sympathetic or not does not come into play really. It is the FA's decision. I do have some sympathies with Bradford.

'It is entirely a matter for the FA and Bradford City Football Club. I don't think we will be asked to get involved any further at this stage.'

Bradford remain in the Capital One Cup, where they will play Arsenal next week, and the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.

Bradford Bulls given Super League go ahead for 12 months

Super League give Bradford 12 month lifeline but coach Potter leaves

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UPDATED:

15:07 GMT, 14 September 2012

Bradford Bulls have been given the green light to continue in Super League but coach Mick Potter will not be part of the new-look club.

Uncertainty over the future of the four-times Super League champions was finally ended when the takeover by local restaurant owner Omar Khan was ratified by the Rugby Football League.

And the good news continued on Friday when the Bulls were told by the RFL's board of directors they will not be relegated to the part-time Championship and will not have to compete with the leading Championship clubs in a mini-round of licensing.

One more year: Bradford Bulls have been given the go ahead

One more year: Bradford Bulls have been given the go ahead

Instead the new owners have been
awarded a 12-month probationary Super League licence, effectively
putting them on trial throughout 2013.

Bradford's honorary chairman Gerry Sutcliffe, a former Sports Minister and local MP, welcomed the announcement.

'It's good news for the fans and for
Bradford and now it's all systems go,' he said. 'We can start to
implement our business plan and sell season tickets.'

Bradford effectively forfeited their
top-flight status in June when, unable to pay the bills after the bank
withdrew their overdraft, they went into administration.

That resulted in a six-point
deduction, which ultimately cost the Bulls a place in the play-offs, and
the threat of liquidation hung over the club right up to the last day
of August when Khan announced he had agreed a deal to buy the club from
the administrators.

RFL chief executive Nigel Wood said:
'The board deliberated long and hard and took into consideration the
many views of the sport's various constituents before reaching a
decision which we believe is in the best interests of the whole game.

'A probationary licence allows us to
closely monitor the performance of Bradford Bulls next season and
develop a view on what direction we take in future years.

'The probationary licence also
precludes the need for a mini-licensing round, which the overwhelming
majority of clubs accept was impractical given the timeframes involved.'

The next round of licences are due to be awarded in the summer of 2014 and take effect from the start of the 2015 season.

The announcement brings to an end five
months of anguish and adversity but it came too late for Potter who,
after working unpaid for the last 10 weeks, has decided to return to
Australia.

The 48-year-old former Catalan Dragons
and St Helens boss opted not to take up the offer of a new contract
from the club's new owners and instead recommended his assistant Francis
Cummins be appointed as his successor.

That announcement will be made on Monday.

'I was always going to return to
Australia and I feel that now is the right time for me to go,' Potter
said. 'I have enjoyed my time at the Bulls and the supporters and people
at the club are second to none.

'I feel, too, that despite
circumstances out of our control the team, through the rugby league we
played, showed a lot of character in the midst of terrible adversity.

'Omar Khan and Gerry Sutcliffe have
come in and rescued the club and were very keen for me to stay for a
longer tenure and I made it clear to them that my decision has nothing
to do with their purchase of the club.

'It has been the things that have happened over the previous five months that have caused my decision.'

Potter, who was Super League Coach of
the Year after guiding the Catalans to a third-place finish in 2008,
endured a difficult first season at Odsal but his reputation soared
after guiding Bradford to the brink of their first play-off spot for
four years in the face of adversity.

Khan said: 'We are sorry Mick has
chosen to leave because we wanted him to stay longer with us after the
tremendous job he has done in difficult circumstances.

'He leaves with the best wishes of everyone at the club and we wish him well in the future.'

Cummins, who looks set to be handed
the job, will be faced with a major rebuilding task, with no fewer than
17 players out of contract, and will be well behind coaches of other
Super League clubs who have virtually completed their recruitment for
2013.

Tom Burgess and Olivier Elima have
already secured new clubs, Ian Sibbit and Ben Jeffries have announced
their departures and Craig Kopczak terminated his contract which had 12
months to run.

Craig Kopczak quits Bradford Bulls

Kopczak quits Bradford on eve of Catalan clash with prop set for legal showdown with Bulls

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UPDATED:

12:07 GMT, 8 September 2012

Craig Kopczak is set for a legal showdown with Bradford after quitting the Super League club on the eve of Saturday's game against Catalan Dragons in Perpignan.

The 22-year-old prop made himself unavailable for the last match of the regular season after terminating his contract.

Kopczak, who was on Friday named in Wales' squad for the end-of-season triangular tournament involving England and France, is under contract to Bradford until the end of 2013 but opted to resign when the club's takeover went through last weekend.

The player's agent, Martin Shuttleworth, confirmed Kopczak had taken legal advice, drawing on legislation used in the recent Rangers case, namely the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations 2006 (TUPE).

Quitting: Kopczak (centre) has left the Bradford Bulls

Quitting: Kopczak (centre) has left the Bradford Bulls

In a statement, Shuttleworth said: 'Craig was notified by the joint administrators by letter dated September 3, 2012 that his playing contract had transferred with effect from August 31, 2012 to OK Bulls Ltd.

'He then served notice on the administrators that he objects to the transfer of his employment under the relevant TUPE legislation.

'The net effect of having served the notice is that he is deemed to have resigned with effect from August 31, 2012 and his employment with the club is automatically terminated.'

It is thought the highly-rated Kopczak is on the wanted list of several clubs, with Wigan and Huddersfield understood to be among the front-runners.

Bradford's acting chief executive Gary Tasker believes Kopczak has been approached by rival Super League clubs, contrary to a gentleman's agreement not to do so, and says the matter has been put into the hands of the club's solicitor.

'I'm bitterly disappointed that the player has taken advice which has resulted in him leaving the group at this late stage of the season,' Tasker told the Bradford Telegraph & Argus.

'The major disappointment in this episode is that a young player on a good contract doesn't normally terminate it unless he is being offered better terms elsewhere.

'At a meeting of Super League clubs several weeks ago, the clubs agreed unanimously that they would not approach Bradford's contracted players.

'It would appear that a club has broken ranks and made the player a better offer. It's now in the hands of our legal advisors to resolve it.'

The Rugby Football League are expected to ratify the takeover by local restaurant owner Omar Khan early next week and will then decide on the process for determining whether the Bulls can stay in Super League.

Bradford Bulls are saved as takeover completed for Super League club

Bradford Bulls are saved as takeover completed for Super League club

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UPDATED:

21:04 GMT, 31 August 2012

The long-running saga over the future
of ailing Bradford Bulls was brought to a successful conclusion on
Friday night when the administrators confirmed the sale of the Super
League club to local businessman Omar Khan.

Brendan Guilfoyle, partner at the
Leeds-based P&A Partnership and joint administrator at Bradford
since June 26, revealed in a statement that he had completed the sale of
Bradford Bulls Holdings Limited to OK Bulls Limited for an undisclosed
sum.

Uncertain future: Bradford Bulls

Uncertain future: Bradford Bulls

The sole director of OK Bulls Limited is Omar Khan, who owns the award-winning Bradford restaurants and catering business under his name.
Gerry Sutcliffe, MP for Bradford South and a former Sports Minister, is also involved with the business.

Khan tweeted: 'Omar Khan's and Gerry Sutcliffe Save the Bradford Bulls and are the new owners of the club.'

The RFL also fielded a bid from Bradford Park Avenue football club, while Super League (Europe) Ltd's offer to buy the Bulls was also on the table but this was always seen as a last resort.

Sutcliffe also took to Twitter to say: 'Thanks to all BradfordBulls fans for your incredible patience and support. Hard work starts now. See you all tomorrow coyb.

'And thanks also to (coach) Mick Potter, coaching staff, players and all club staff. Shown devotion above and beyond the call BradfordBulls.'

Khan is thought to have paid around 150,000 to take the club out of administration but it will obviously cost a great deal more to take the club forward and they are still waiting to discover if they will retain their place in Super League.

Guilfoyle said: 'This is a great achievement for Bradford Bulls, the players, fans and the city of Bradford.

'My main duty as administrator is to get the best return for creditors – and this was the best deal on the table.

'Omar Khan has also passed the Rugby Football League's test as being a 'fit and proper person' to run a rugby club as well as being a passionate fan of the Bulls.'

Guilfoyle was originally brought in by former chairman Chris Caisley in April to conduct an independent financial review following the resignation of directors Peter Hood and Andrew Bennett and has been in charge of the four-times Super League champions for the last two months.

One of his first acts was to lay off 16 full-time staff, including head coach Potter and his assistants Francis Cummins and Lee St Hilaire, although all three have continued to work unpaid.

Guilfoyle added: 'I am really pleased that we were able to retain the playing squad without selling off young stars – which in the end was a crucial decision to achieve the sale.

'There are many people to thank in making this deal possible, not least employees, coaches and the interim chief executive who have all been working without pay.

'But I'm sure they would join me in saying the fans' support has been outstanding and they have played a major part in this rescue.

'And through all this the players have won an extraordinary string of matches.”.