Bradford City's new owner Julian Rhodes today hailed the start of a new era at Valley Parade and declared: "Let's put this club back on the map".

Mr Rhodes finally concluded his takeover of the Valley Parade outfit yesterday afternoon, bringing to an end a two-and-a-half year battle against debts and two spells in administration.

Today, speaking exclusively to the Telegraph & Argus, he said that the club could now look to the future with optimism but warned there was still much hard work to be done.

Mr Rhodes - who is the sole shareholder of the new Bradford City Football Club Limited company - urged fans to rally round manager Colin Todd's squad which has defied the odds and currently lies in fifth place in Coca-Cola League One.

And he predicted happier times could be around the corner.

"I have been saying to friends and family for the last two-and-a-half years that I was going to take this club from the brink of extinction to the top ten of English football," said Mr Rhodes. "They doubted me and it sounds unlikely, but I genuinely believe that anything is possible in the long-term.

"Sorting the club out was always going to be a two-stage process, the first part of which was keeping it in business. That has now been achieved.

"Unfortunately we've suffered a relegation and another administration along the way, but it was never going to be easy due to the state the club was in financially. That can now be put behind us and we can look forward to the second part of the process, which again promises to be a tough challenge!"

The club is now free from the restrictions placed upon it while it was in administration and is able to grow the size of the playing squad.

Former Sheffield Wednesday and Stockport County winger Owen Morrison was the first new face to be added to the squad yesterday.

Mr Rhodes warned there would not be big money to spend on new signings and said the future would be based on responsible financial management.

"Money will be generated from within the club and, while we have done a fair amount of cost-cutting, we are now looking to maximise income streams," he said.

"Obviously, it will be a case of doing everything in the right way so that we've got a secure future - there will be no outlandish spending. However, with the way that the club is now positioned, we genuinely think we can progress in a sustainable manner. I hope today marks the start of a new era for the club."

Mr Rhodes said the conclusion of the deal yesterday brought to an end a long and difficult battle to keep the club going.

"This is the culmination of two-and-a-half years of hard work during which it seemed negotiations would never end," he said. "There were genuine doubts that we would pull through.

"Make no mistake, this club came closer to extinction than any other club since the early 1990s. If you speak to any one of the bodies involved in this process, such as the Football League or the Professional Footballers' Association, they will confirm that."

Under the terms of the deal signed yesterday, it is understood that the 25-year lease on Valley Parade, which is still owned by the Flamingo Land family pension fund, has been transferred to the new company. At the end of that period, the club will have the option of extending the lease for a further 25 years.

The hugely complex negotiations were finally completed at the Leeds offices of solicitors Walker Morris yesterday after a series of repeated delays and complications.

"Every deal that I have done has been primarily for the good of the future of the football club and I hope that people realise that," he said.

"What's been achieved would have been all the harder if it wasn't for the support of the fans, through the T&A Save Our City Appeal and the work of the Supporters' Trust. What they achieved during this summer will be forever etched in the history of the club.

"We are going to have a little celebration and then it is going to be case of getting back to the hard work and making sure that we get this club back up the football league pyramid.

"The start to the season has been remarkable considering the circumstances and we need everyone to support Colin (Todd) in the great work he is doing at the moment."

Julian Rhodes joined the board at Valley Parade with his father David in 1997 and the family helped to fund the spending on new players which led to promotion to the Premier League in 1999.

They played a pivotal role in rescuing the club from administration in 2002, after which Julian Rhodes became chief executive alongside chairman Gordon Gibb. Mr Rhodes stepped down from his role this summer after growing increasingly frustrated at the slow progress in resolving the crisis which threatened to lead to the club's extinction.

He has not yet decided the format of the new look board, but is expected to hold talks with the steering committee - fronted by Jim Brown - which has been running day-to-day affairs at Valley Parade since the summer.