In part nine of the Richmond Years, City pull off the Great Escape to stay in the Premiership.

“DO YOU, Geoffrey, honestly believe that Bradford have any chance of survival?”

The sceptical tone in the interviewer's question was obvious as he put Geoffrey Richmond on the spot with a call on the Talk Radio breakfast show.

The chairman’s reply oozed with confidence.

“Yes, I think we have and may I advise your listeners that we are 16/1 with the bookies to stay up. Please have a spec on us surviving.”

You wonder how many punters nationally did take up Richmond’s offer on Easter Monday – and ultimately enjoyed a nice return.

City were staring down the Premiership barrel when he had made his pronouncement on the airwaves, five points behind Wimbledon, who occupied the final survival place, with just four games to go.

They had at least halted a six-game losing streak in a wild 4-4 shoot-out with Derby at Valley Parade three days earlier.

City had moved the game forward 24 hours, a favourite Richmond trick, to have an extra day to recover before they travelled to Sunderland on the Monday.

Dean Windass became the club’s first player to score a Premier League hat-trick – all in a seven-goal first half.

But Derby, despite playing over an hour with 10 men, came back to share the spoils and leave City winless in 10 games. That had to change at the Stadium of Light.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man – John Dreyer, hero of that clearance at Wolves after Paul Simpson’s free-kick struck the inside of the post on promotion day, popping up with his first goal in three years with a crucial header.

It teed up the win-or-bust encounter with Wimbledon that followed. John Hartson’s head had gone in the tunnel when City conquered his planned show of strength and effectively won the game before stepping on the pitch.

The Wimbledon skipper “seemed on some kind of death wish” to Richmond, who thought the Welshman’s subsequent red card was inevitable.

City were a point ahead of the Dons but had a vastly inferior goal difference.

The penultimate fixture away to Leicester proved a non-event as the Foxes fired in three goals in a nine-minute salvo after the break.

City seethed at the sight of Neil Lennon sitting on the ball at one stage.

“If I could have run on the pitch and landed one on him at that moment, I would have done,” fumed Richmond later. “It wasn’t big, it wasn’t clever.”

The collective mood darkened even more when Wimbledon’s apparent defeat against Aston Villa at Selhurst Park had been avoided with a late, late equaliser.

City were back in the bottom three with Champions’ League-chasing Liverpool to play. To stay up, they had to better the result that Wimbledon got at Southampton.

Richmond promised Saints chairman Rupert Lowe a case of champagne if they won. Dean Richards, who was injured at the time, also spent the week stoking up the passion of his team-mates.

Richmond was reassured that Wimbledon were in for a tough encounter – but City still had to play their part and topple the team in fourth.

Valley Parade was a cauldron of noise. The chairman sensed “something special” in the air.

“I have never known such emotion,” he said afterwards. “I thought I had seen it all at Wolves but this was different.”

David Wetherall lifted the roof off the place with his early goal – too early for Richmond, twitching in the directors’ box.

The chairman had double vision that day, having rigged up a TV by his seat so he could keep tabs on what was going on at the Dell. It was something he had never done before – nor would again.

The tension did ease when Southampton scored twice but still City had to hang on.

Three added minutes dragged on until Dermot Gallagher’s whistle signalled euphoria. City had stayed up with 36 points, a record low at that time.

The Bantams then became the first side to celebrate finishing 17th with an open-top bus parade and civic reception.

“Everybody had written us off,” declared Richmond. “It was up there with winning promotion the year earlier or Wembley in 1996.

“It was that magnitude of achievement, on the Richter scale it was another 10.”

They had “won” a second year in the Premier League – something none of their army of critics, led by TV pundit Rodney Marsh, had ever considered possible.