IT WAS an experience that Greg Abbott never wants to go through again.

Neither he nor Kenny Black wanted to be on the Valley Parade touchline for the game after Stuart McCall had been sacked.

But both were in temporary charge against Bury following Edin Rahic’s controversial decision to swing the axe on a manager who had made City a permanent fixture in League One’s play-off positions.

“It was the worst 90 minutes I have ever endured as a football person,” recalled Abbott.

“I’ve never known the fans be as distant from the team and the club ever in all my time. For me, that was heart-breaking.

“I almost lost interest because it was only going to change when things at the top changed.

“Whoever came in to manage or play at that particular time was almost on a hiding to nothing because of the atmosphere. What the club was all about was definitely missing.”

Read more: It feels like Bradford City again with Bowyer - Abbott

Abbott has finally decided to lift the lid on how tough he found it during one of the most toxic periods in the club’s history.

It is just over a year since he left his coaching role having previous returned to the club as head of recruitment with McCall and Rahic.

He has no interest in point-scoring and trying to absolve himself of any blame. Abbott admits he was part of the process that failed.

He just wants to clarify how draining life at Valley Parade became working with a chairman who wanted to control everything.

Abbott would have liked to speak publicly while working at the club. This newspaper tried to arrange interviews on several occasions but Rahic barred him from talking.

“I got caught up with somebody who wanted to run a football club with good intentions but no realism attached,” said Abbott.

“The reality of Leagues One and Two is that they are very tough divisions and there is a ceiling of resources.

“You don’t have everything you need at your disposal and you’ve got to make more correct decisions lower down the pyramid than at the top because there isn’t as much margin for error.

“My biggest problem during the period I was there was the feeling that the club was losing its identity.

“We were losing everything that was good about Bradford City. A lot of very good, real hardcore Bradford City people were losing their jobs and that was a catalyst to the end result.

“Bradford City is built around unity, people pulling together, supporters, players, the board all as one.”

Rahic’s micro-management approach drove a wedge through that. As much as Abbott tried to keep everyone onside it felt like fighting against the tide.

“We almost had segregation throughout the club.

“To play for Bradford, you have to be a Bradford type. To support Bradford, you have to be a Bradford type. To run Bradford, you have to be a Bradford type.

“When the club have got that, they have their best chance of success.

“It’s proved it in the time that Paul (Jewell) was manager and got them into the Premiership. You look back to the ’85 team that won the league that year, the way the club rebuilt itself after the worst possible situation.

“They earned their place in Bradford City people’s hearts. Everyone who comes here must represent the club in the way the fans expect.

“But then you got people in who probably didn’t have the same beliefs in the club and the culture of what it’s all about.

“I used to go to Valley Parade every day and the training ground and go to every member of staff to make sure they were in a good place.

“Nobody was enjoying working at the football club. Nobody wanted to be there.

“The fans picked up on it and were probably the same. They didn’t want to go watch their team, which is unheard of.

“That was horrible, probably the lowest point of my footballing career as a player, a coach, a manager or somebody involved in recruitment.

“The absolute disconnect was the biggest issue.”

Abbott had his own battle off the pitch with prostate cancer and admitted he “just wasn’t well enough to fight the people above me”. But the sense of responsibility with City’s demise remains.

“I accept I’m tarred with the same brush because I could not stop what was going on. As hard as a lot of people tried, the club just lost its way totally.

“I had 12 months fighting the illness to get myself back into working order. The last thing I needed was a war at work and a war with my health.”

A year on and Abbott is in a much happier place. He is on the mend physically and enjoying working for himself independently of any club demands.

“I play a small part in looking after young players as an agent, I’m developing my media work with Talksport and I work with Mark Ellis and John Hendrie doing some coaching with Riasa.

“They are two great Bradford City people. Mark is absolutely underrated as a guy, who has done fantastically well, and John who is just John.

“People ring me up for advice and I’m happy to help. But I will not sign any contract with anybody again.

“I’m 55 and had a really tough time with the owners. My family and I probably deserve to be in charge of our own destiny rather than leaving it in the hands of somebody else.

“Everybody who knows me as a person will probably think I’m doing too much now. But it’s for myself and it’s got a benefit at the end of it.

“If I want to take a couple of days off or a weekend, then I can.

“I’m not ready to give up. I was semi-retired the year I had after the operation because I couldn’t work properly.

“I count that as a little bit of time out and I’m ready now with all guns blazing. I love now doing the work I’m doing.”

But Abbott holds his hand up for his involvement in a losing team. For all the pressure and interference from above, he accepts his share of the blame for the wheels falling off at City as spectacularly as they did.

“Sometimes you can be in the wrong place at the wrong time,” he admitted. “It happens in football.

“Look at Eoin Doyle. Wrong time, wrong club – look at him now, right time, right club and he is scoring for fun.

“There are so many examples of good and bad.

“But I’ve always been accountable for my own actions and I would never, ever try to apportion blame everywhere else but myself.

“I know I can safely go back to the club now. I’ve done a couple of talks with supporters’ groups and nobody has been nasty to my face.

“People have been pretty understanding. We’ve been honest with each other.

“I don’t want to come out and tell every little story because it looks like I’m trying to distance myself from what went on.

“I’ve always been a team player and been accountable and responsible for everything I do in football. I was part of the situation that never worked and must accept that whether I like it or not.”