THE number of glasses and the extra bottle of sparkling water were the giveaway.

Now, Simon Grayson may have had a particularly dry throat for his first full-on meeting with the Press.

Or maybe, just maybe, the top table was laid up for at least one more person.

There was comfortably room for a third chair.

But instead it was Grayson in the full media glare with only James Mason for company at Thursday’s official unveiling.

Facing a room full of hacks is not likely to worry a manager with well over 600 games under his belt, particularly when the last chunk of those was in the north-east hotbed of Sunderland.

But he might have expected a slightly more obvious show of support from the club other than just the chief operating officer acting as compere.

Grayson was, after all, City’s top target to replace Stuart McCall. The statement hurried out last Sunday lunchtime to announce his arrival made that point.

So, having got their man, why not take the opportunity to brag about it?

Show the football world how proud you are to have landed a new boss with such calibre.

Grayson said himself he is a bit of a “coup” for a team in the third tier. Surely that would sound better coming from his new employers.

Chairman Edin Rahic was certainly “in the building”, to use the football vernacular. He was happy enough to appear when the photographers wanted their shots of the new Bantams boss in the Valley Parade stand.

Rahic posed with his arm around Grayson for the traditional scarf picture.

And that only made it seem stranger that the joint-owner was not willing, for whatever reason, to make his presence felt during the interviews, speaking to the Press and – through them – directly to the fans.

Neither Rahic, nor Stefan Rupp, were at Charlton on Tuesday night to see Grayson’s first game at the helm. The chairman, who had also missed the Bury draw through pre-planned business, was feeling ill.

Thursday, then, would have been the first opportunity to publicly back his man.

If not shouting from the rooftops, given the initial short-term nature of the manager’s deal, then at least speaking about how chuffed they were to beat off considerable competition for someone with an enviable CV at this level.

Valley Parade has been starved of good news since the wheels rolled off the bandwagon around Christmas.

The feelgood factor emanating from such a consistent run in the first half of the season – if not the whole campaign before – seems to have been ebbing away on a weekly basis.

Bad results, bad vibes, bad atmosphere culminating in the sacking of McCall.

Supporters have needed something to cling to; some signal of hope that the club will emerge from this and that it is nothing more than a “blip” that every team will go through.

Announcing Grayson has felt like that spark, even more so when City rediscovered their mojo with an uplifting second-half display at the Valley.

The new manager bounce, call it what you will, but it was a reminder that there is still a good team bubbling under the surface.

Wigan’s extended FA Cup run has done Grayson a favour by granting his squad an unexpected weekend off. A chance to recharge batteries and clear minds for the mini-season ahead.

It all adds up to the feeling that this is a fresh start on and off the pitch.

But the absence of an owner by their manager’s side on Thursday felt like an opportunity missed. To take photos but not questions just raises more doubts among an already sceptical fanbase.

Full credit to the club for pressing Grayson to sign a longer deal. But by opting to test the water for the rest of the season, he holds all the cards.

“Suck it and see” may not be the precise wording on his contract but signing up for 13 more games – or hopefully 16 – and no more puts everyone on trial.

The mention of forthcoming discussions on recruitment and planning pre-season is encouraging. Grayson is talking long term, though that all presumably depends on how these next three months unfold.

Maybe that is the root cause of the reticence from those above him and they don’t want to get carried away. It seems a shame if that’s the case.