Jamie Langley could be forgiven for viewing Sunday’s visit of the Bulls to Hull KR with mixed emotions.
He spent 12 seasons in Bradford’s first-team and experienced the highs of the glory-filled Brian Noble era to the lows of financial meltdown in 2012.
But he insists this weekend’s match, which is shaping up as pivotal for both teams, will be just like any other game.
“I’ve not been looking at the game from an emotional perspective because ultimately it’s just another fixture,” said the 30-year-old forward, who will be barely recognisable to Bulls fans after chopping off his trademark curls.
“I’m looking forward to it, definitely, because I spent a lot of good years at Bradford and always received unbelievable support from the fans.
“It’ll be good to see all the lads again but you come up against your mates throughout your career and it was only last week at Wigan I played against John Bateman.
“On the field there is no quarter given but you can always have a laugh together after the game.
“I’ve got some good friends at Bradford and they will remain good friends.
“That’s the great thing about rugby league – you make that many good mates along the way and you tend to keep in touch. Now that I’m at Hull KR, that won’t change.”
Langley ended his long association with Bradford at the end of last season when he signed a one-year deal with Craig Sandercock’s men, including the option for a second year.
He admits he would have liked to have stayed at Odsal but it was not meant to be.
Langley, who is aiming to play on well into his mid-thirties, said: “Unfortunately we couldn’t come to any agreement but everybody has moved on and you’ve got to because at the end of the day it’s a business.
“As I said a few times, I would have liked to have stayed but unfortunately things weren’t meant to be.
“I don’t think we ever got to a negotiating stage so I had to look at other options and Hull KR was probably the best one for various reasons.
“That’s the decision I ended up making.
“It was always going to be sad to leave Bradford but as soon as I knew that was going to be the case, I had to switch my focus to the future and the next phase of my career.
“It’s one of those things – you get players moving clubs all the time – and it was just my time unfortunately. But I’ve no hard feelings towards Bradford whatsoever.”
Indeed, there is no shortage of happy memories of a career which saw Langley help the Bulls to Grand Final glory in 2005 and World Club Challenge wins over Penrith in 2004 and Wests Tigers in 2006.
He had made his debut in 2002 and became a mainstay in the side and a popular figure with supporters.
He added: “The Grand Final in 2005 when we beat Leeds was special and obviously the World Club Challenges against Penrith and Wests Tigers were great.
“There were a lot of fantastic games down the years but there is no better feeling than to play in a final and win.
“It’s the pinnacle of the game and they are memories that will live with me for the rest of my life.”
Normanton-based Langley travels from West Yorkshire to Hull every day in a car share with team-mates Ben Cockayne, Keal Carlile and Greg Eden.
He admits Rovers could do with a victory this weekend after taking just one point from their opening five games.
“We’ve had a pretty tough start to the season – we’ve played Leeds, Huddersfield, Castleford, St Helens and Wigan,” said Langley.
“But we’ve performed really well in fits and starts and are starting to gel. You can see in training that we are improving every day.”
While Langley would clearly love to be on the winning side on Sunday, he is hoping his former club can beat the drop in the coming months.
He said: “When you look at some of the things that have gone on – losing players and all the off-field shenanigans – you couldn’t blame the players for saying ‘enough’s enough’.
“But they have remained positive and stuck together through the toughest of times, which is testament to their character and the coaching staff.
“Hopefully the club can now get a resolution and move forward because all the lads thoroughly deserve it.
“They have been fantastic throughout it all and I just hope they get rewarded with some positive news soon.
“If they perform well and keep everybody fit then I think they have got as good a chance as anyone of staying up.”