sport

Noble encouraged Koukash bid

Salford's former Bradford coach Brian Noble urged Mandy Koukash to make a bid to buy the Bulls, the former Great Britain boss has revealed.

Salford owner Dr Marwan Koukash confirmed that his wife met Thursday's deadline for offers set by the administrators running crisis-torn Bradford.

A decision on the Yorkshire club's ownership is expected next week and Noble, who coached Bradford to five consecutive Grand Finals up to 2005, is hoping the Koukash family will be able to add two Super League clubs to their string of successful racehorses.

"I've given them a feel for the club and how massive a club Bradford can be if it is run properly," Noble said. "I have suggested that, should Mandy want to go into the Bulls, then it would be as exciting a prospect as Salford now.

"I hope she gets it. If she can bring the same enthusiasm and energy to Bradford that has been brought here, then happy days."

Although Mandy Koukash would have to satisfy the Rugby Football League's fit and proper persons test, there is nothing in the rules to prevent a husband and wife owning different clubs.

There is already a similar situation in Super League, with Gary Hetherington holding the role of chief executive of Leeds while his wife Kathy, a former Hull chairperson and major shareholder, is currently acting as consultant chief executive at Wakefield.

Noble added: "The precedent has been set so there can't be any objections. I think the administrators and the Rugby Football League need to make a good decision.

"I don't want to cause a family rift between husband and wife but it would be an interesting fight. It would be awesome - I'd love to see that played out publicly."

Noble, now in his second season in charge of Salford, is the most successful coach in the history of Super League courtesy of his spell with the Bulls and, as a freeman of the city, would love his former club to reclaim their former glory, although not at the expense of his current club.

"My focus is absolutely on the Devils and that won't change at all," he added. "But do I want Bradford to be successful? You're damn right. Do I want them to be the team that had 25,000 people watching them? Absolutely.

"First and foremost I'm a proud Bradfordian - I remember walking up to the club when I was 15 years old - and I really want them to be second-best behind Salford".

Noble says Mandy has fallen in love with the game in the same way that husband Marwan has become addicted to it.

Marwan, who was this week fined 1,000 by the RFL for misconduct after publicly berating the governing body and its sponsors, has re-iterated his commitment to Salford but does not believe a successful bid for Bradford would create an anomaly.

"There is no conflict of interests whatsoever," he said. "I see it as promoting the sport even further.

"Mandy wants to run the club herself, although I don't think she will be fully hands on. I am sure she will bring in other people."

Rival bidders are thought to include London-based businessman Richard Lamb and representatives from Bradford Park Avenue, Bradford City and former owner Omar Khan.

Koukash added: "We're as confident as we could be at this stage. I am being told our bid is very good. There is substance behind it."

Bradford are currently bottom of Super League after having six points deducted for going into administration and, although Koukash suggested there could be a legal battle to reinstate the points, he says funds would be made available to coach Francis Cummins to enable him to strengthen the squad in their fight to avoid relegation.

"There would be funds to make sure the club survives this year," he added. "It's going to be a big fight for them, having been deducted the six points.

"The main objective this year would be to avoid going down."