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GRAND FINAL; RUGBY LEAGUE Cash crisis intensifies Bulls need pounds 20k by Widnes clash.

Byline: Gareth Walker

BRADFORD head to Widnes tomorrow with a black cloud hanging over their future.

The Bulls had until a self-imposed deadline of 5pm on Friday to raise pounds 500,000 to cover a tax bill and April's wages - but yesterday said that pounds 480,000 had been pledged.

They also failed to outline the club's exact position and plans, saying instead that a further statement would be issued this week.

That has angered supporters who had rallied round the club to try and meet the initial deadline.

Target The cut-off point has now been extended until midnight on Monday, hours after the Bulls' Super League clash with the Vikings.

Even if they hit their target, the club will need to raise a further pounds 500,000 by the end of this month to clear other debts, and have not explained how they might do that.

One option would be to sell star players, such as young back-row John Bateman, who yesterday tweeted that he has some "tough decisions" to make. Major shareholder and former chairman Chris Caisley has called for chairman Peter Hood and director Andrew Bennett to step down amid the chaos.

Caisley has brought together a group of high-profile fans, including ex-coach Brian Noble, who he believes could save the club from ruin.

ofile fans, h Brian es could uin.

But Hood has not publicly responded to Caisley's calls and has instead focused on the club's pledge target. publicly y's calls used dge te a Yesterday's update on the total was not a statement about the Bulls' future, which is now expected early this week.

k on Before that, Mick Potter will have to rally his side again after their stirring 12-4 Good Friday win over rivals Leeds Rhinos.

ds More than 20,000 fans packed into the Grattan Stadium for the clash and Hood paid tribute to 00 the the clash ute to supporters of both clubs. He said yesterday: "It has been a humbling experience for all of us at the club, for which we'd like to express our sincere gratitude.

"With staff still processing pledges that have come in overnight, and are still coming in this morning, we are within reach of our first goal of pounds 500,000, with the current total approaching pounds 480,000.

that have co are still co we are wit goal of pounds current pounds 480,00 "Ma indicat pledge dec the uM "Many people have indicated they have yet to pledge. We have therefore decided to extend the pledge deadline until midnight on Monday."

join St H Ne Eam expr gamH some won' least o club is tech more than Hood has also joined his Hull KR and St Helens counterparts, Neil Hudgell and Eamonn McManus, to express fears about the game's finances.

He added: "Unless something changes, it won't be long before at least one Super League club is technically insolvent for more than pounds 10million."

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THE WRITE STUFF Bradford Bulls star Jamie Langley celebrates victory on a night when the fans showed their true colours
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Apr 8, 2012
Words:513
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