JAMES Hanson today lifted the lid on why he turned down Millwall and admitted: "I just wanted to feel wanted."

City's longest-serving player has spoken for the first time about the Lions' pursuit of him through the summer – and revealed how Phil Parkinson's backing swayed him to stay at Valley Parade.

Speaking exclusively to the T&A, Hanson said: "The Millwall thing was close; very close.

"It wasn't really an issue of moving down there. Basically it was all down to the gaffer and his decision.

"I wouldn't say I agreed a contract down there but they did offer me one. I wanted to see what the feedback was from Bradford.

"I needed to know if the club wanted to keep me or not. If they didn't, then I had to look at other options and Millwall was obviously certainly one of them.

"But I had the meeting with the gaffer and he made it clear that he wanted me to stay.

"From then on, I had no interest in moving and just wanted to stay and fight for the shirt. That drew a line under it.

"Once I'd heard what the gaffer was thinking, I was quite happy to stay here and keep playing for Bradford. I wanted to get back on with enjoying my football."

Millwall chief scout Mick Harford had been tracking Hanson for over a year and the Lions made three bids during the off-season – two via e-mail and one verbally to City joint-chairman Mark Lawn during the Football League's annual conference in Portugal.

But Parkinson made it plain that he did not want to lose any of his key players, especially to a League One rival, and convinced Hanson to stay when they met up in the week before pre-season began.

Hanson said: "It's been a hectic summer but it's gone now. I feel refreshed again.

"With me being injured the season before for the last two months, I was in the club a lot during last summer. So I think I needed a mental break from the place to get away.

"It's been good to get that and now I've come back ready to go both mentally and physically."