No one felt the heartache of relegation at City more than their long-suffering supporters - especially coming so soon after the club had been on the verge of going up to the Championship.

But as Bantams fan and writer Jason McKeown explains, much has been done over the summer to help repair and restore the relationship between the supporters and the club.

Here is Jason's view from the stands ahead of the new season which starts tomorrow.

IT took me a long time to get over relegation.

It all seemed so needless. After all the hard work of getting Bradford City to the brink of Championship football, the club imploded through negligent ownership that had ripped the heart out of the Bantams.

The Bradford City that ended last season was a shell of what it had been so recently, and the punishment of League Two football suggested a long road back to redemption.

Yet a surprisingly upbeat summer has lifted everyone’s spirits. Rather than approaching the new season with bitterness and dismay, there’s a genuine feeling of excitement about the challenges ahead.

The close season rebuilding of City has seen morale-boosting new arrivals of notable ilk. There’s been a repairing of the damage of the club’s relationship with fans. At its core, the club has reconnected with its heritage and rediscovered its values.

You see it in the new kits, the Bantams Heritage number initiative – right through to the plastering of Bradford City’s history on the training ground walls. A series of supporter meetings have helped to heal wounds for many of us, who had felt we no longer recognised our football club.

I and other fans' media groups have met twice with Ryan Sparks, communications director, and Mick Shackleton, commercial manager, for an open forum to ask questions.

We were given an honest picture of the financial health of the club, and the challenges it still faces following the wrecking ball of Edin Rahic. But we were also shown an optimistic vision that – as the summer progressed – became more visible to everyone.

While we fans were licking our wounds over relegation from League One, the club was looking ahead and developing a plan to take Bradford City forwards. It means the Bantams will kick off life back in League Two with a renewed sense of belief. There is nothing to fear about the 23 teams we’ll be competing against.

On paper the rebuilt squad looks strong. Gary Bowyer deserves a huge amount of credit for the calm and methodical approach he has taken. He exudes self-assurance whilst remaining humble. It is the ideal leadership style to turn around the club.

Bowyer has been here before, earning promotion from League Two with Blackpool just two years ago.

Whether City can repeat that feat remains to be seen. There are still question marks over players who remain at Valley Parade after last season. Not only did they under-perform dismally, but they have sizeable contracts which inevitably impacted on Bowyer’s recruitment plans.

It speaks volumes that a group of players who were probably all up for sale this summer have attracted little interest from elsewhere.

It’s not unusual to see a relegated side carrying the baggage of unloved players earning wages out of sync with the realities of club cut-backs.

In fact, the last time City were demoted to League Two in 2007, they went into the next season with eight players still in contract, but earning 50 per cent of the overall playing budget.

The players left over from last season must either deliver or leave quickly – this is not a time for passengers. Hopefully, they can restore their battered reputations.

Supporter expectations are high, which can be dangerous if the season doesn’t start well. I believe League Two will be tougher than some think, but equally there would be cause for an inquest should a promotion bid fail to materialise.

It’s a long season, and if there are bumps along the way it’s going to be so important to stick together.

The goodwill Bowyer has earned over the summer needs to be remembered if the team endures a sticky patch. After all the managerial turnover of the past 18 months, we cannot go down a path of needing to make another change. Bowyer deserves time.

It might not be a smooth road ahead, but there’s a lot to feel buoyant about right now. The new signings have looked impressive in pre-season, and there’s a more unified feel about Bradford City that incorporates the players, manager, coaching staff, board, owner, off-the-field staff and supporters.

The civil war of last season is in the past, and it’s time to look forwards with confidence.

Bradford City has fallen a long way in a short space of time, but this summer has seen the beginning of the slow climb back upwards. Now, they need to deliver on the field.

Jason McKeown is editor of City fans website The Width of a Post