In part four of the Richmond Years, we look back on Chris Kamara’s sacking and the phone-in furore that followed.

“LET’S forget the pleasantries and go directly to the issues. There are some serious issues to which the club and the world of football need answers.”

So began 10 minutes of the most explosive listening on a phone-in show.

Geoffrey Richmond was on one end of the line; 606 radio presenter – and Tory MP – David Mellor the other.

Chris Kamara’s sacking eight months after keeping City in the second tier had come as a surprise. Mellor, never short of a soundbite, aired the view that it could have been racially motivated.

Richmond was furious. He had taken the decision on “football grounds”, in the same way that he had appointed his manager in the first place.

The City chairman felt the second season in Division One was “drifting into nothingness”. Striker John McGinlay’s £625,000 arrival from Bolton had proved an expensive mistake and a campaign that had begun with a bang was slipping away.

Richmond would later describe 1997-1998 as the one boring season of his years in charge - apart from one memorable Saturday tea-time exchange.

The axe fell on Kamara after an FA Cup loss at Manchester City. The Bantams had won only four of the previous 21 games, scoring just 14 goals in the process.

But one fan rang the BBC forum to express his shock the manager had gone. That was when host Mellor, head of the Football Task Force, wondered aloud if colour had anything to do with it.

Richmond, listening from home, immediately tried to get through but failed. He did get in touch with his lawyers, who contacted the Beeb on the Monday to ask for a full retraction.

Instead, both parties agreed to allow the City chairman a time slot on the next show to have his say. The gloves came straight off.

Richmond: “I have been invited on to this programme in return for Bradford City’s agreement not to take any legal action against you arising from your comments on the programme last week.

“You raised a completely unsolicited point. You said that Chris Kamara’s dismissal left an uncomfortable taste in your mouth.”

Mellor: “Yes it does.”

Richmond: “Can you tell your audience what you are trying to achieve?”

Mellor: “I am trying to achieve answers to the question to why it was necessary to terminate the manager when even your own supporter, who was on our programme last week, said he had done a fantastic job?”

Richmond: “He also said he agreed with the sacking. Now do you, or do you not, agree Mr Mellor?”

Mellor: “Are you going to answer any of my questions?”

Richmond: “Mr Mellor, you are going to answer some of mine. And that is why I am here.”

Mellor: “No, no, no. You are not running this programme, Mr Richmond.”

Richmond: “Mr Mellor, I am not here at your invitation. I am here at the invitation of the BBC in settlement of legal proceedings.”

Mellor: “You are an extremely choleric man, Mr Richmond.”

Richmond: “I don’t know what that means …”

Mellor: “Are you going to answer the question or are you going to bully me like you have presumably bullied others in your time?”

Richmond: “Mr Mellor, you are a well-known bully. Please don’t throw stones at me.

“In the newspapers you have continued the debate and said that a lot of people in football are asking if Kamara would have survived longer had he not been black. Who are these people, Mr Mellor?”

Mellor: “I don’t think it would help you if I told you. Besides I don’t understand …”

Richmond: “Will you name them?”

Mellor: “I think that very little of this would have passed with public notice if you hadn’t been huffing and puffing all week about it. The fact of the matter is that you are spreading your own fire.

“Can I just say, for avoidance of any doubt Mr Richmond, and it might penetrate even your consciousness if I tell you this once again, that I quite accept the answer, as I was ready to from the outset.

“So I think you are just looking for trouble on this matter.

“I am entitled on a phone-in programme to ask a question about controversial matters and a lot of people have to take it on the chin, just as I have had to do in other contexts and I think you should do the same.”

Richmond: “Yes, you are no stranger to controversy that is for sure. And you are no stranger to gaffes.”

Mellor: “Well we will see if you are going to make a gaffe running Bradford City.”

Richmond: “You should ask the Bradford City fans that.”

Mellor: “We will see what they say at the end of the season.”

Richmond: “You are not a suitable person to head the Football Task Force, which has a stated aim of eliminating racism from football.”

Mellor: “If I may say so, you accept in full and final settlement what I said. And then a few minutes later, you send a letter round trying to have me removed from the Task Force.

“The job of being chairman of the Task Force is not in the gift of you or your colleagues. This is nothing to do with the Task Force.

“This programme is to do with holding people to task in football about what they do.”

Richmond: “It is everything to do with your suitability as head of the Task Force, Mr Mellor. You cannot separate. There are not two Mr Mellors.”

Mellor: “Well at least there is only one Mr Richmond. Thank you very much for joining us this evening.

“That, in case anyone was under any illusions, was Geoffrey Richmond, chairman of Bradford City.”