As the final whistle sounded to confirm the end of City’s six years in the wilderness, Phil Parkinson clenched both his fists and saluted 25,000 ecstatic supporters.

Immediately afterwards he turned on a sixpence, put on a stern face and shook the hand of his defeated Northampton counterpart Aidy Boothroyd.

In keeping his emotions in check after City’s marathon campaign had reached a glorious crescendo, Parkinson did an excellent job.

But then Bantams supporters have grown accustomed to that during this most remarkable of seasons.

Take nothing away from his players, who have achieved something this term that is unlikely to ever happen again.

But Parkinson has been the driving force.

Turning around a team that was heading for non-league football and taking them to two Wembley finals was something no City fan could have ever dared to dream about last season.

Not in a million years.

Parkinson had talked in the build up to Saturday’s game how last season was about real pressure; of striving to stay in the Football League as City struggled to avoid a fight with relegation.

Goodness knows where the club might be now had they slid into the relative abyss of the Blue Square Bet Premier.

Parkinson reckons relegation would have left the Bantams fighting for their very existence.

That brings the scale of his achievements this season into even sharper focus.

A League Cup final appearance?

That will do nicely.

More revenue generated than Mark Lawn and Julian Rhodes could have ever possibly hoped for?

Without doubt.

A first promotion in 14 years?

Not a problem.

The energy, the enthusiasm and the ecstasy were all in plentiful supply on Saturday afternoon as City celebrated climbing out of English football’s fourth tier.

Parkinson was asked shortly after the final whistle whether this resounding success compensated for the Capital One Cup final thumping in February.

The City boss, adrenaline still coursing through his veins, could have rolled out the usual cliches about how promotion somehow atoned for that 5-0 thumping.

He did not.

“This is more important because it determines the future of the club,” said Parkinson, who enjoyed promotion as a player with Reading and manager at Colchester.

“It was great to get to the League Cup final because of the revenue it brought in but this is what it’s all about. This is our bread and butter.”

City skipper Gary Jones called the success “unbelievable” and “probably the best moment of my life”.

That felt about right.

Such appraisals explained much; the raucous scenes among players and staff, Lawn wearing a claret and amber scarf and high-fiving every City player as they lifted the League Two play-off final trophy.

One half of Wembley celebrating wildly.

Legendary Liverpool manager Bill Shankly had it right when he said that the league was the priority every year for his football club.

Parkinson concurred with that sentiment on Saturday afternoon.

And with good reason.

It has been utterly miserable at times during City’s stay in English football’s basement division for this proud old club.

That sequence effectively ended at about 2pm on Saturday, by which time Parkinson’s men were 3-0 up and cruising.

Goals from James Hanson, Rory McArdle and Nahki Wells reduced Northampton Town to so much rubble and killed the game as a serious contest.

“This is the best trip, I’ve ever been on,” sang the travelling Bantams hordes.

The entire campaign has been an incredible journey.

When Hanson handed City victory at Notts County with one swish of his left boot back in early August, booking a place in the second round of the League Cup, it laid the platform for a remarkable sequence of events that would culminate in the end of City’s spell in the doldrums.

When you have faced teams such as Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United for two seasons during the turn of the millennium, trips to backwaters such as Dagenham and Accrington are rather less appealing.

Now City can look forward to a Yorkshire derby at Sheffield United and a trip to Molineux to face fallen giants Wolves.

Promotion will add between £1million and £1.5million to the club’s coffers next season and new players will arrive to boost an already strong squad.

Parkinson’s men deserve immense credit for producing the goods when it mattered most.

Several weeks ago they were struggling for confidence and wobbling alarmingly.

That they have not only rediscovered their swagger but sealed the club’s first promotion in 14 years is testament to their remarkable powers of resilience.

To reach two Wembley finals in one season requires a special kind of spirit.

You need togetherness.

You have to be able to call on a collective desire.

Parkinson has fashioned that bond between his men.

There is trust and there is belief pretty much everywhere you look throughout his squad.

“What do I put our success down to? Good strong characters throughout the squad,” said the City boss.

“There is a lot of determination and desire to succeed among every single one of the players and everyone has kept pushing each other every day in training so that standards have remained high.

“The collective aim at the start of the season was to get out of League Two. We kept reminding ourselves of that.”

Do not underestimate the input of Parkinson’s backroom team either.

While Parkinson wore a smart suit and constantly barked orders from the edge of his technical area at Wembley, Steve Parkin was never far behind him.

Parkinson’s trusted lieutenant is the ideal foil for the City manager.

Assistant boss Parkin was no less animated at the final whistle, giving a battle-weary Andrew Davies an almighty hug as City’s victorious players celebrated like wild men.

Crucially, Parkinson recognises the importance of sporting success in this city.

“It’s really important to understand a successful football team can really galvanise an area and that is what has happened in Bradford,” he said.

“I feel the city has really identified with this team and got behind them in a wholehearted way. What they see in their team is a real honesty and genuine commitment.

“They’ve identified with those qualities and those values, which is why crowds have been so good both home and away.”

Parkinson celebrated with his family, his players and his staff in a promotion party at Valley Parade on Saturday night.

Attention will now turn to finally sorting out his future at the club.

The 45-year-old is out of contract in the summer and it is to be hoped that deals can be struck to keep him, Parkin and fitness coach Nick Allamby at the club.

Parkinson and his staff will surely sign on the dotted line; only a fool would turn his back on City right now.

There is simply too much energy and too much drive, from top to bottom.

That much was evident on Saturday as they blew Northampton away during the opening half hour.

Hanson and Wells were a constant threat and Northampton centre-back Clarke Carlisle said on Twitter: “As it pains me to say it, congratulations to Bradford. James Hanson owned me today, him and Wells will cause carnage next year!”

Garry Thompson and Kyel Reid did much damage out wide too.

Nathan Doyle, an unused substitute when Hull City won promotion to the top flight thanks to a Dean Windass wonder goal against Bristol City five years ago, dominated midfield alongside skipper Jones.

In a nutshell, City were by far the better team and Boothroyd could only hold his hands up and admit it afterwards.

It was a bitter pill to swallow for the lad from Eccleshill, who grew up supporting City and has the club in his blood.

Boothroyd and his dad were in the main stand at Valley Parade when the Bradford fire disaster claimed 56 lives.

Boothroyd was 13 years old.

Tributes were again paid on Saturday to those who went to a Bradford City football match on May 11, 1985 and never returned.

They will never be forgotten.

Nor will this remarkable City team.

Not after the achievements of 2012-13 – quite possibly the club’s best-ever season.