GARY Jones thuds into last season as if it was an opponent bearing down on City’s goal.

“It was a bit of a joke from start to finish,” admitted the skipper from the team that set the benchmark for the modern-day Bantams.

“Getting relegated at the beginning of April was pretty damning. It was down with a whimper.

“Performances don’t lie and the supporters could see it happening. Nobody was surprised.

“You looked at the players on paper and it was a promotion squad in my eyes.

“But it doesn’t matter what talent you’ve got if there isn’t anything under your shirt.

“If you’re not prepared to put in 100 per cent graft for your team and the supporters then that’s what happens.

“It doesn’t matter about budget sizes if you’re not going to give your all week in, week out.”

But as the anger clouding Valley Parade for so long subsides, Jones can sense a fresh beginning under Gary Bowyer’s command in League Two.

It was the stage which made Jones and Co legends in the eyes of the claret and amber faithful during that magical 2012-2013 campaign.

And he believes Bowyer is assembling a group capable of restoring that feelgood factor to wash away the recent misery.

Jones said: “You look at the signings, especially James Vaughan, and think ‘wow’. It’s definitely a statement intent from Bradford.

“Vaughan was playing in the Championship last year so that’s a massive signing, especially on a three-year deal.

“If they can keep him fit, and we all know he’s had his injury troubles over the years, he can score 30 goals in League Two.

“You look at the other signings that Gary Bowyer has brought in. He’s got some young lads coming up from non-league and the Conference and they’ve got a point to prove.

“It’s a good mix what he’s doing and you’ve got experienced ones at the top of the pitch who are hopefully going to fire you to promotion.

Clayton Donaldson and James Vaughan could be a League One or Championship pairing.

“Alongside that, you’ve got these young and hungry footballers who want to show they are good enough for the league. What better shop window to do that than at a massive club like Bradford.”

In the same way that Phil Parkinson dismantled the dressing room he inherited to build the side Jones would lead to promotion, Bowyer is wasting no time in putting his stamp on the club.

Jones has been impressed with the way City’s boss has gone about his business so far – and the speed with which he has recruited.

“I like Gary Bowyer. He goes about things in quite a cool manner and I think the team is in good hands.

“He’s very level-headed and has been at big clubs before. He knows what to expect and has got promoted from this league.

“It’s good that he’s done so much business early before pre-season because you can build a team spirit and get a camaraderie going.

“The quicker you get players in, the sooner you can integrate them into the group and freshen up the older faces who are already there.

“He’s done well and I’m sure there will be more to come, as well as a few going out to make room.

“James Vaughan is a Championship footballer who has dropped down to League Two – that’s the pull of Bradford City.

“Everyone will have seen him signing and know that they mean business.”

The spotlight will be blazing brightly from the off and expectation will weigh heavy on City’s shoulders. It is a familiar scenario for Jones and one that comes with the territory.

“It’s a big couple of months coming up,” he added. “You’ve got to hit the ground running.

"No disrespect to Cambridge but they should be rolling them over on the opening day.

“Bradford must be favourites for the league now. When you’ve got signings like Vaughan and Donaldson, you’re bound to be.

“Bradford City will be everyone’s cup final this season which makes it doubly difficult.

“I’ve been there when you’re the massive fish in League Two. But when you’re playing for a club like this, you’re always under pressure.

“You’ve got 15,000 fans who demand you win games every week and give 100 per cent for the shirt.”