GARY Neville’s tweet could not have popped up at a more precise moment.

As fans digested the news that Sheffield United had made a firm move for James Hanson, the straight-talking former pro voiced a general opinion on social media.

“Question? Does anyone feel Twitter is becoming intolerable with exaggerated opinion on how bad or how good things are?”

Neville could have been directing that comment straight at Valley Parade; one one-club man talking about the public reaction to another.

Bradford City without Hanson will seem a strange place.

As Rory McArdle once put it: “Hans isn’t part of the furniture – he is the furniture.”

But the local lad is no more at his local club. Now he will be wearing red and white stripes, not claret and amber.

The overwhelming response at seeing Hanson depart is one of sadness that he will not see out his entire career with his home-town team. But he goes with the best wishes of the vast majority to take his chance at a club with one foot in the Championship.

But then there are the ‘haters’, the so-called Hanson Bashers, who seemed to take a perverse delight when things didn’t go well.

For them, this move couldn’t come quick enough. Forget the fourth anniversary of his header which sent City to Wembley for a cup final; he’s an injury-hit, “past his best” non-goalscorer living on his past exploits.

Hanson, to his credit, grew a thick skin to the criticism and it became water off a duck’s back. But that was not always the case.

Early in his City career, it did start to get to him. During the Peter Taylor era, he had to be talked round by his family, who reminded him it was just evidence of the ‘green-eyed monster’ with some; fuelled by someone they had grown up with doing a job that 99 per cent of them would have loved.

The football stuff he could deal with but, inevitably, having so many connections with the area there were personal barbs too and they stung.But let’s not forget the knockers have always been a small minority. However loud they moan, they have never spoken as the voice of the Valley Parade faithful.

Nor of those who played alongside Hanson or employed him. His mobile buzzed on Sunday with a text from former owner Julian Rhodes.

It read: “As I told Phil Parkinson two years ago, you were the best signing in Bradford City’s history in terms of value for money.”

Stephen Darby joked about wearing a black armband in to training yesterday and sent a picture showing Hanson that his locker had been “retired”.

Reporters are supposed to remain impartial but I admit I’m a bit gutted to see Hanson head off.

In such a transient business, he has been a constant around the club since giving up his job at a well-known convenience store in 2009.

The move to full-time football actually cost Hanson money at first – his £250 a week starting wage with City was less than what he got from the combined work at the Co-op and playing for Guiseley.

From small beginnings, he emerged as a player whose name will always be etched in the club history books.

He left as the third-highest scorer for City – not a bad legacy for a £7,500 ‘gamble’ from Stuart McCall during one of those periods when belts were being tightened.

I reported on 90 of Hanson’s 91 goals. The exception was at Notts County in the first round of that Capital One Cup run.

I was sitting outside a pub in Anglesey on holiday and unable to pick up any phone reception. It was only heading back over the bridge to the Welsh mainland that it pinged with the unexpected news that City had beaten higher-level opposition.

Considering what followed, Hanson’s sweet strike at Meadow Lane was only a footnote. But without that, none of the subsequent magic would have happened.

I’m in my 17th year of covering City’s fortunes for the T&A. The first decade or so could be written off as one spiralling tale of doom and gloom.

Fortunes finally changed under Parkinson – and Hanson was always at the forefront.

He ‘turned up’ on all the biggest occasions; those memorable headers at Villa Park and Wembley, beating Leeds at long last with a late winner, that thudding drive in the play-off win at Burton, and terrorising Chelsea in a wide-left role as City ‘out-specialed’ the Special One at Stamford Bridge.

I admit that night against Aston Villa made me choke. When the final whistle went, my fingers refused to move; the frenzy of rattling out a match report to deadline temporarily halted by the sheer emotion of what I had been lucky enough to witness.

Hanson scored what proved to be his last goal on the November night that Valley Parade paid tribute to Bobby Campbell.

It was a fitting send-off to a true club legend. Hanson deserves to be remembered in much the same way.