THE smiles beamed against the Valley Parade backdrop.

June 2016: New owners and club legend in perfect harmony to launch a fresh era at the club.

Edin Rahic, Stefan Rupp and Stuart McCall all together as one.

Who says the camera never lies?

As the crumbling reign of Rahic as chairman is picked through and the litany of mistakes discussed, the decision 10 months ago to fire McCall still looks the most glaring blunder of them all.

But not to the club’s former controller.


Rahic privately argued that his biggest error was not McCall’s sacking – but to have appointed him in the first place.

Encouraged by Julian Rhodes as a good way to get the City fans onside from the start, it was a marriage of convenience he may have tolerated but deep down didn’t want.

McCall was too popular, too ingrained in the club’s history; it grated on the man who wanted to have it all.

“I know football. You have to take me seriously”: the infamous words of a wannabe manager who hoped to live out his fantasy through Bradford City.

When he uttered those lines on the pitch at Fleetwood, the doubts were already emerging. City may have been Wembley-bound for a promotion final but behind the scenes the rift was growing.

In the circumstances, City had over-achieved in getting so far. Yet Rahic felt McCall somehow sold them short when they were subsequently edged out by Millwall.

Others were caught up in the crossfire. It is claimed that some of the backroom staff were even being asked by Rahic whose side they were on – you couldn’t be both.

The conflict was driven by the fact that he could never accept the Valley Parade public’s deep affection for the manager.

Even in that first year, when Rahic portrayed a “man of the people” chumminess with fans, the resentment for McCall was bubbling away.

It was clear in the Matter of Heart DVD, which rather than its intention of glorifying the work of City’s owners unwittingly brought evidence of the off-field skirmishes to the public eye.

Rahic’s micro-management of all club matters infuriated those working at all levels.

He would demand to check, counter-check, treble-check quotes - that was my experience of how he wanted to control every aspect.

No wonder turnover at Valley Parade on his watch has been so high.

But that was his mission statement.

“As owners, it cannot be classed as interfering when we are responsible for what happens at every level of the football club,” he told a Stuttgart newspaper.

“Since I have had many experiences, if I do something like that again, then I have to take over the club 100 per cent. I must be owner and CEO in one person.”

Rahic could not accept that his approach might be overbearing or wrong. Advice from those who knew football far better was shunned.

Public apologies, grudgingly given, were not followed up with actions to suggest that any lessons had been learned.

So, when the walls started to crumble, there was only one person to blame.

Rupp’s investment in City relied on Rahic for the knowledge of the game. The reports he got back from the club were generally what his business partner wanted him to hear.

It has taken until now for the club’s majority shareholder, the money man, to accept that the versions he was getting were not always what was actually going on.

Rupp stayed loyal to his partner but only up to a point. As a very successful businessman, he knows the point when a relationship has broken down and you must act.

The end, when it came, was brutal. Matter of heart became matter of necessity.

The parting statement left no room for doubt.

It might have suggested an exit by mutual consent but Rupp’s words suggested anything but.

“I will do everything in my power to wash away the dreadful memories of the last 12 months and consign them to the history books for good,” he said.

“The people of Bradford deserve much, much better.”

It’s a damning epitaph on the Rahic era.