THE names are intertwined with the modern history of Bradford City.

The main stand at Valley Parade houses banqueting suites in their honour – McCall and Hendrie.

But nobody could have anticipated that John Hendrie's son Luke would ultimately prove the straw that broke the camel's back.

The whispers that all was not well between manager and chairman have been around since the middle of last season.

Most expected Stuart McCall to see out this campaign and his two-year contract before Edin Rahic would make a change to someone the owners feel more suitable to their "project Bradford".

The current six-game losing streak – and McCall's public determination not to walk away following the latest loss at Oldham – forced the hand of Rahic and Stefan Rupp. Just 24 hours later, they had made up their mind.

"We believe that our current squad is capable of performing to a much higher standard than we have seen recently," said the club statement to announce McCall's sacking.

Which brings us back to the Hendrie episode that seems to be the tipping point for the wheels falling off so drastically.

It was early December when the on-loan Burnley defender was called in for a chat with Rahic.

He expected it to be a heads up for rubber-stamping a permanent move to his boyhood club. Instead he came out deflated by the chairman's reaction.

A deal that the player and coaching staff were so keen to get done never materialised. Confirmation came in that toxic weekend at Yeovil.

Shrewsbury made their interest known as City travelled south on the Friday afternoon and, by the following morning, Hendrie was saying a tearful farewell in the squad's hotel.

The rest were gutted to lose such a popular and hard-working team-mate who had played his part in wins at top two Wigan and Shrewsbury as well as the double success over new year weekend – McCall's last victories at the helm.

McCall was understood to be devastated and struggled to keep that emotion under control when quizzed after the FA Cup loss.

It was another example of the different dynamic between board and dugout; owners who want a full say in recruitment and a manager still trying to adapt to not having the total control he had always been used to.

That has been the challenge since day one. McCall's last comments that if he was going to walk, he would have in his first two weeks back, demonstrated how he has had to wrestle with this tug-of-war.

And yet the results, the last six aside, have hit the spot far more often than not.

McCall's final tally of 35 wins from 77 league games – and a 45 per cent victory percentage that is the club's highest since Roy McFarland – suggests a team consistently punching above their weight.

Two teams in effect, given the number of changes during the summer when he lost six of the side that had started the play-off final at Wembley.

McCall swallowed his disappointment that day to stress the importance of keeping hold of key characters like Rory McArdle, Mark Marshall and James Meredith. But he also voiced his doubts that would be the case.

And so it proved as City's dressing-room experience – and wage bill – was considerably lightened by another change to a younger, less battle-hardened guard.

Even in a first campaign which had seen only seven league defeats, there were signs of the strain McCall felt under.

While Rupp was telling reporters in the Wembley mixed zone that the target had to be automatic promotion next time, McCall was taking that far more stoic view in a quiet corner.

He looked a weary figure as he spoke about the season having been "one of the most challenging" he had encountered in a long career in the game.

There were strong suggestions that McCall would call it quits at that point.

He had left Valley Parade the first time when he decided the job was getting on top of him and he could no longer do it justice.

It would not have been a huge surprise had he come to the same decision during a period of contemplation underneath the Tenerife sunshine – ironically the venue when he had first got the shout from Rahic 12 months earlier to fill the big shoes vacated by Phil Parkinson.

Of course, McCall had taken the job with his eyes wide open.

His decision to come back for a fourth spell at Valley Parade was no flight of fancy; the heart had not ruled the head, as was the case when he was thrown in the deep end as a managerial rookie a decade earlier.

He was well aware that, in his words, "things will be done a little bit different" from the English norm.

Rahic and Rupp were not looking for an old-school manager but a head coach who would buy into the model where younger players would be brought in for him to work with and improve.

Julian Rhodes may have had a significant role in advising the new ownership to chase such a familiar and popular face. Yet McCall would only be welcomed back on their terms.

McCall's return to his spiritual home was not universally acknowledged. There was a significant number of fans who feared his reputation risked tainting from a second stint in the hot-seat coming up short.

But McCall the manager mark two was a very different animal from before.

Whereas the 2007 version had no experience as he blinked into the bright lights of expectation that greeted him as some kind of Messiah following relegation to the bottom tier, Rahic and Rupp unveiled a character with plenty of managerial miles on the clock.

McCall the person remained the same cheerful, affable figure that always finds time for everyone. But there was a far more professional, clinical edge about his approach to the job that had been gleaned from years working north of the border.

Even so, he had to adapt to a new 'hands-on' working environment that he had not encountered before – even in the gold-fish bowl of life at Rangers.

McCall opted to stay on this season because of his strong bond with the club.

But the suspicion that this was merely a marriage of convenience with his bosses was confirmed in the 'Matter of Heart' dvd, the German documentary following the Rahic and Rupp adventure.

"In Germany, you have the head coach, sporting director and chief executive," said Rupp. "It's the division of power we want to instil here.

"In England, the manager is pretty much omnipotent. That's what we don't want."

But swinging the axe at this point – amid the first serious hiccup of their regime – demonstrates a more English approach than the long-term German view that was preached when the new owners flew in.

The public reaction has typically backed the departing McCall. His enduring popularity and affection with the club and the supporters – a bond that is not likely to slacken over this – represents a formidable obstacle for any employer wanting to pull the plug.

By going early now, rather than waiting for the natural end of the road in June, Rahic and Rupp have made a brave statement.

"At Bradford it will never been a one-person success, it's a team success," said Rahic during the summer.

But the focus now will be entirely on two people and where they take this club next. The Valley Parade audience are unlikely to be a patient one.