ENGLAND may not have seen the last of Benito Carbone.

And maybe the same could be said for Valley Parade.

It is nearly two decades since the Italian wizard sparkled some magic dust in City colours.

He signed on a deal that the club could never hope to afford but the special moments he provided still live long in the memory.

Carbone, now 49, is currently the assistant manager for Azerbaijan’s national team.

He has been the number two to Giovanni De Biasi since July and overseen seven games – the last four of which bizarrely have all finished goalless.

But England is an itch that he clearly still wants to scratch.

After a career that took in Sheffield Wednesday, Aston Villa as well as Middlesbrough and Derby while with City, Carbone briefly came back in 2014.

Massimo Cellino appointed him sporting director at Leeds – but within four months, announced Carbone had left for “family reasons”.

Carbone, a pro licence holder, has since wound his way around the lower leagues in Italy with five management jobs as well as two spells as number two to former international keeper Walter Zenga at Crotone and Venezia.

But the prospect of sitting in the hot-seat in England still appeals.

Carbone gives very few interviews but I had the pleasure of talking to him for the Bradford City Premier League Years book.

At the time, he was planning to fly over to watch the Bantams in a game at Valley Parade in the coming months. Sadly, the pandemic put paid to that.

“I would love to come back there,” he said. “Bradford was a good club to me and I enjoyed myself there.

“I am a coach now and my dream is to come to England again to be a manager.

“Bradford City? Maybe that can happen one day. It will always be a club that is special for me.”

Carbone was the wrong player at the wrong time for the Bantams after they had overcome the odds to stay in the Premiership in the first year.

Geoffrey Richmond’s “six weeks of madness” climaxed with the grand unveiling of a superstar on a four-year £40,000 per week contract.

The fans loved him – the frenzied atmosphere at the press conference to announce the signing was compared to “Beatlemania” by the chairman.

At the end of a miserable campaign which saw City relegated with a whimper, Carbone - their top scorer with five - swept the board at the club’s awards.

Carbone admitted: “I got three or four trophies given to me, the best player, the best goal, the best this and best that. But I wasn’t happy.

“You can give me all the trophies but it feels terrible because we got relegated.

“I tried to smile because I needed to respect the fans who had come to support us all season. They were there every single week from the start to finish.

“It was good that they thought I was the best but I did not like it. I would rather still be in the Premier.

“As a player, the worst thing in your career is to be relegated. It is a horrible feeling.

“With Sheffield Wednesday, we stayed up every season and at Aston Villa I got to play in the FA Cup final. But I sign for Bradford and in one year we were relegated.

“To be relegated is the worst feeling in the world because you have failed. You haven’t done your job.

“I think the problem was that many players didn’t believe that we could save that season. Maybe they were thinking that we were rubbish but I still thought we had a very good team.

“We were much better than where we finished. But when you change your manager and your mentality, it is not easy.

“Maybe the chairman had spent all his money and it became more difficult to pay the players. I don’t know but the problems started to get bigger and bigger and it became terrible for the fans.

“But honestly, we should have done much better.”

Carbone also looks back with sympathy for Chris Hutchings, the manager who signed him but lasted just three months into the season.

“Chris looked after me like I was his son. He always stayed close to me and I was sorry to see him leave.

“When the results are bad, the first thing the club do is sack the manager. But sometimes it’s not his fault.

“There are another 100 problems maybe in the dressing room. But it’s too easy to blame the manager for everything.

“Now I’ve been the other side of it as a coach myself, I can see that. Sometimes it is what is happening inside the dressing room and to say it is the manager is not true."