“YOU will get promoted this year and the guys who beat you on Saturday won’t. Let them have their bit of glory, but I guarantee if you maintain this attitude we will get promoted.”

Those were the words of former boss, John Deacey, after his Bradford (Park Avenue) side responded in style to the club’s biggest ever FA Cup defeat with a convincing West Riding County Cup win.

Avenue fans will not want to be reminded of that disastrous day in November 2011, when their team were embarrassed 8-1 in the first round of the competition by Southern Premier Division side AFC Totton.

Deacey decided to use the result as a method of inspiration, helping Avenue gain promotion to the Conference North that season, thanks to a memorable last-minute Tom Greaves strike against FC United of Manchester in the play-off final.

Meanwhile, Totton fell at the last hurdle, losing out to Oxford City in their play-off final.

It is a mantra Deacey has used throughout his career, to keep a level head even when things are going well.

“I never used to let the players prematurely celebrate,” he said. “A lot of teams used to come down and be banging on the doors when they beat us but I would never let that happen. We will do our celebrations when we win something. I always had that levelness.”

The former Farsley Celtic boss spent a total of six years at Horsfall, taking the managerial hotseat on three separate occasions, and became a fans' favourite.

His warmth towards the Bradford faithful still remains strong to this day. “I loved them,” Deacey insists.

“They are solid people who understood the game. Despite going through hard times, they stuck by the club and that was what stood out for me. Every time you went in the clubhouse they made you feel welcome.

“They understood what I was about. I am a pretty reserved guy. I don’t drink and socialise that much. They understood I wanted to do the football and give them a good afternoon.

“They were hands on too, understanding the ethics of the club to make sure it survived, because it had been through some horrendous times.

“I got players who wanted to play for me, which was excellent. I enjoyed the club and had some great memories.”

The Harrogate-born manager was last in the dugout when he took charge of Scarborough Athletic last April. Despite his spell only lasting eight months, Deacey does have a saving grace, thanks to his exploits in the North Riding Senior Cup.

He added: “It is the first job that you could ever say I failed in, but I am still the only manager who has ever won a trophy at Scarborough.

“When I was there we had injuries and it didn’t quite go for me. You sometimes have unlucky seasons.”

Deacey also predicts that the non-league game may become more competitive when football is safe enough to resume properly.

He said: “I think it is going to be more of a level playing field because I don’t think clubs are going to have the money. I don’t think clubs are going to get sponsorship from businesses.”

That is a theme that Deacey had to battle with when he was at Avenue, although he tried to use their underdog mentality to his advantage.

He added: “I got the job from Bob (Blackburn, ex-Avenue chief executive). I don’t think he gets the credit that he deserves. Everyone has their own opinions on Bob. As far as I am concerned, he was fine and never interfered in the football side with me.

“When I took over, they didn’t have the money that they had previously. The budget went right down but that did not bother me.

“I wanted to attract a side that could play decent football. To me it isn’t all about winning, you have got to have that entertainment factor. The crowd will be more forgiving with you if you play the game the right way.”

Deacey’s time in Bradford came to an end in 2015, and outlining why he decided to leave, the 60-year-old said: “They didn’t want me to step down, they wanted me to oversee all the football.

“I didn’t agree with who they wanted to do it because I knew Martin (Drury) and Pricey (Jamie Price) weren’t good enough to manage at that level. I like them both but they didn’t last there long.

“You have to do an apprenticeship first. To come into the Conference North without that is a very tough task.”

Asked whether he could see himself returning to Park Avenue one day, Deacey enthused: “Without a doubt, it is a great club. I just think Mark (Bower) is doing a great job.”