IT IS one of City’s biggest selling points when trying to entice a potential signing.

Take the player out to the centre circle at Valley Parade and let him take in the imposing view of the stadium.

But it hasn’t always been that way.

John Hendrie may have a suite named in his honour for the joy he gave City fans during his time at the club.

Yet, he had not even clapped eyes on the ground when he first became a Bantam.

It is 36 years to the day that a 20-year-old Scottish winger signed on a free transfer after being released by Coventry.

Hendrie would go on to become one of the club’s most celebrated players, featuring in 173 consecutive league games over four years before a contentious red card against Manchester City would break that run as he critically sat out a final-day loss to Ipswich.

But the player who put pen to paper in the Bradford Hotel with Stafford Heginbotham and Terry Yorath, manager Trevor Cherry was away on holiday, was at a career crossroads.

Hendrie had left home in 1980 at 16 to come down to Coventry and had turned pro within a year. Less than 18 months after leaving school, he was playing top-flight football.

Dave Sexton threw him in at Tottenham and the Sky Blues won 2-1, their first away success of the season.

Hendrie, playing down the middle, would score his first senior goal at the end of the 1982-1983 season in another away win at Stoke to help Coventry stay up.

He netted again in the final game against West Ham and his future looked bright. But straight afterwards, Sexton got the boot.

Bobby Gould came in straight away to take the team on a three-game tour of Zimbabwe the next week. Immediately things changed for Hendrie.

From the outset, it was clear the manager had a problem with him.

Hendrie got crocked with a knee injury in the first friendly, a 5-2 defeat to the national team that was shown live on TV there.

Told by Gould to stay in their Harare hotel, Hendrie was persuaded out by future City team-mate Martin Singleton who gave him a piggy back to the local bar where the squad were drinking.

But the manager was also there – and ordered Hendrie to go straight back.

A meeting was called the next morning purely so Gould could use him as an example. He wanted to flex his muscles in the new job and Hendrie was the victim.

Hendrie was lambasted in front of the group and fined a week’s wages. Confined to barracks for the rest of the tour, Gould even banned him from a sight-seeing trip to the Victoria Falls.

Hendrie played a couple of games the following season, including Stuart Pearce’s debut, but knew he was never going to win over his boss.

He went on loan to Hereford for a month and was then told to train on his own back at Coventry.

City made their move just before the transfer deadline in late March and a £5,000 fee was agreed. Greg Abbott, Cherry and Heginbotham were on the phone persuading him to come.

But Hendrie dug his heels in – not because he was not keen on the move, far from it, but to get back at Gould.

“I was adamant that he wouldn’t get a penny for me,” recalled Hendrie. “So, I sat out the last few months very unhappy because I didn’t want to be near the place.

“Managers always say the hardest thing is telling young lads they are letting them go. But Gould just looked at me and said, ‘what do you think is going to happen to you?’

“As he let me go, I just replied, ‘que sera, sera’. My feeling wasn’t that it was the end of my world, it was one of relief.”

City had kept up their interest in that time and now Hendrie was free to talk to who he wanted.

A couple of Scottish clubs declared an interest as well as Port Vale. But Hendrie had his heart set on City.

“I’d never been to Bradford in my life, I’d never met Trevor, but they were always on the phone. Greg and I had also come through the ranks together at Coventry.

“Over a series of calls, I agreed to sign. I still hadn’t seen Valley Parade.

“But they sold it to me, the young team, the right spirit in the camp. They made me feel so wanted.”

Hendrie’s first glimpse of his new home would be for the opening day of pre-season training. A fella in a paint-spattered sweatshirt in the corridor said something as he walked past.

“I couldn’t make out what he said with his hoarse voice and just muttered a reply. I thought he was a decorator – but it turned out to be Bobby Campbell!

“But I walked into that dressing room and knew right away it was the right move. I just had the gut feeling that this club was for me.”