Julian Rhodes was at a wedding and missed Saturday’s game.

But tomorrow morning he will be back at Valley Parade to witness the end of a match he hoped would be made in heaven.

Stuart McCall and City seemed the perfect marriage when Rhodes unveiled his man in May 2007.

With City facing their first season in the bottom tier for a quarter of a century, fortunes were at their lowest ebb.

Step forward a club legend to take the helm; a man with claret and amber in his veins.

The fairy tale would have seen McCall lead City out of the wilderness and back up the divisions. He would have been manager ad infinitum.

Reality, in the gnarled old world of League Two, doesn’t work like that.

McCall discovered that within nine minutes of his first kick-off as Macclesfield gatecrashed the opening-day celebration. Opposing teams did not cower in the Valley Parade limelight – most seemed to bask in it.

So 132 games later it ended with Andy Morrell, a real warrior at this level, breaking City’s resistance in front of the Bradford End.

There was a symmetry about McCall’s final league record. From 119 games, he had won 43 and lost the same. Hardly the stuff of legend.

Yet nobody put in more work or more hours for “their” club than McCall.

He would watch and rewatch match DVDs long into the early hours; sometimes breaking up family get-togethers or nights out to rush back and study them one more time.

Yes, he was very well paid by bottom division standards, even allowing for the pay cut he voluntarily took during last summer’s belt- tightening exercise.

But City certainly got their pound of flesh from a guy who was so desperate to reward the fans for their support. It was more than a job; it was his club and his people – and he felt personally responsible.

McCall would read every letter that landed on his desk and reply to them personally. The only time he got others to help out was because of the sheer weight of mail that arrived in the wake of last season’s U-turn to stay on. That was a decision prompted by the overwhelming public response. His public.

The quit threat at Bournemouth was no empty gesture to attract sympathy and easy headlines. It came from the heart – like everything he did.

McCall was always acutely aware of public opinion. He could relate to all levels of the club from the boardroom to the young lads in the school of excellence.

Unlike several predecessors, he would take a keen interest in every age group and knew many of the players by name. Nothing was beneath him.

But it has been no smooth ride. His relationship with Mark Lawn has become strained to the point where they have barely communicated in months.

Suggestions from above that he should bring in the know-how of an older head in his coaching staff have been rebuffed.

McCall is very much his own man and will leave Valley Parade on his own terms. But he remains a man of the Bradford people and that will never change.

Who else would text the BBC’s Football League show late on a Saturday night to personally thank the fans?

McCall will always care what people think. And that’s why people will always care deeply for McCall.