TREVOR Foster would say a prayer every night when Bradford Northern faced possible extinction in the early 1960s.

“He’d pray for more to come on board to help us revitalise Odsal – and it worked,” recalled son Simon, a schoolboy at the time.

“Dad would rally the troops and inspire others to come forward. He had that leadership and charisma but that’s not easy to find.”

How the Bulls could do with such a figurehead as the late, great Foster now – and some divine intervention would not go amiss either.

Foster’s love affair with the club stretched 67 years, from the time he came north from Newport in 1938 to his death aged 90 in 2005.

From 428 playing appearances, he served Northern and the Bulls in every capacity and was still carrying out time-keeping duties the week before he passed away.

Odsal, that “small piece of Heaven on earth” as Foster described it, always meant the world to him.

This weekend sees its final act. The visit of Sheffield Eagles will be the last game at rugby league’s most iconic venue.

Nobody knows for sure what happens next. The Bulls are due to leave the city for Dewsbury in 2020 to kick off a chain of events that chairman Andrew Chalmers maintains will see an eventual Bradford return at a new home.

The site of the Richard Dunn Sports Centre, across the road from Odsal, is seen as potentially the best solution but nothing has been decided.

The stakes could not be higher, particularly after last week’s statement from the RFL “reluctantly” okaying the Bulls being rehoused at Dewsbury but for one season only.

Simon Foster, who will be among 10 family members watching the Odsal farewell from the suite that bears his father’s name, hopes the strict deadline will help to focus minds.

“Uncertainty and the not knowing only causes distress to people,” he said. “The RFL have given us only one year and I think they’ve been fair in that.

“It’s easy for me to say ‘get cracking’ but I feel Andrew Chalmers is true to his word. I believe he has already got irons in the fire for a return to Bradford.

“He is very thorough in his work, that’s come across to me all the time he has had the ownership.

“Without wanting to criticise previous regimes, this man has been more sincere in respect of the club and its business. He has kept things tight and that is so important.”

Foster has received several calls this week from South Wales as his late father’s side of the family wait for news. That mirrors the anxiety felt by every supporter at upping sticks from the ground the club have called home since 1934.

Communication, he believes, is the key now.

“As Trevor would say, ‘look after your supporters’. Be truthful to them.

“When you set off on a road like this, and Andrew’s been good to date, you do need openness and honesty.

“You need updates on a regular basis, even if there’s nothing to say, rather than letting things ride. Show you want to move forward and want to move back to Bradford.”

Odsal was the big topic of conversation at last week’s Challenge Cup final, where Foster was a guest of the Rugby League Lions association on behalf of Trevor.

He added: “I am guarded but I’m hopeful that they will find a way forward.

"You hear rumours but the brand of Northern Bulls is so big in the sport that it will be treated fairly.

“What the RFL have done is point everything into that shallower need to parlay, to meet up.

“I don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes but I think the council will have to step up in terms of Bradford and a rugby league team in the city and move other things around if necessary.

“It’s a wider partnership. The Bulls are obviously at the centre of it with the council and RFL and two or three others circling.

“Odsal is crumbling. It’s in such a poor state and enough is enough.

“There will be an answer. My worry is that it may not come so quickly.”

Foster will leave his father’s commemorative plaque on the wall of the hospitality lounge in the south stand in the hope of one day returning to an upgraded Odsal. He can visualise Trevor being first to the bar to order his favourite pint of orange cordial.

Simon’s memories go right back to his dad’s testimonial year in 1955 – and crying at seeing him playing in a leather headguard believing he had lost all his hair!

“Odsal, as we all know, could be freezing cold, snowy and foggy in the winter months but some truly great contests took place there in front of huge crowds. It all seemed to blossom again in the summer era when the atmosphere became electric with all the music and singing and success.

“Like so many, it was my dad’s second home. He loved the place and that will never change.”