In part 10 of the Richmond Years, Paul Jewell makes a shock exit after keeping City in the Premiership.

FUTURE England manager – that was how Geoffrey Richmond had described Paul Jewell at one point in their ascent to the top-flight elite.

But just a month after masterminding City’s Premiership survival with last-day victory over Liverpool, Jewell was Valley Parade history.

It was an astonishing turn of events even at a club where the extraordinary had become the expected under Richmond’s command.

City’s holidaying players were caught on the hop as much as the fans. None of them had seen it coming.

But the signs were there. The rumblings beneath the surface had suggested that all was not well in the most crucial relationship at any football club – that between chairman and manager.

Richmond’s fury at Jewell’s tactics after the collapse at West Ham started the rumbles that continued through the remainder of the season.

The Easter Monday win at Sunderland, so critical in the survival battle, was met with a sulk from above because Jewell ignored his chairman’s suggestion of who to play.

The problems came to a head during a posh lunch between the pair in the aftermath of City’s Great Escape.

Richmond ordered the champagne while Jewell pulled out a list of players he thought were needed to boost the quality in a squad that had stayed up by the skin of their teeth.

The chairman rejected them all and brought out his own suggestions. There wasn’t a single name in common.

“Then he told me that I’d had a bad season,” recalled Jewell.

Richmond would later claim that it was his own way of keeping the manager grounded. He felt that Jewell “was not the same person he’d appointed” and had got a bit carried away with all the plaudits from defying relegation.

He fired a warning shot across the bows.

"Imagine that this was the final day of your contract," said Richmond. "If that was the case, I wouldn't be offering you a new one."

Richmond would claim his comments were firmly tongue in cheek but Jewell was furious.

The line had been crossed and there was no going back.

Jewell had already fielded a speculative call from Sheffield Wednesday, asking if he would be interested in their managerial vacancy.

He had batted that away at the time and thought they would move on to other targets. But the opening remained – and suddenly it represented a way out.

Jewell reluctantly dropped down a division to make a fresh start.

He didn't want to leave but knew the relationship with the chairman had gone and would only end up getting messier. A break was best for all parties.

So where did that leave Richmond – and City?

The manager who had steered them to the top division for the first time in 77 years and then kept them there against all odds was gone. What happens next?

Experienced names were trotted out as possible successors. Joe Kinnear, who had been heavily touted for Sheffield Wednesday before Jewell, Danny Wilson and Bruce Rioch were all put in the frame.

But Richmond preferred to “keep it in the family” as he had done when promoting Jewell to replace Chris Kamara in the first place.

He wanted to retain the strong sense of team spirit that had played such a key role in City’s rise. Give someone a chance who was already part of that fabric.

“Although two managers had gone in the last five years, in effect we had enjoyed continuity through all that time,” he said later.

“There had been no upheaval, no new face wading in and throwing his weight around.

“Chris Hutchings had been second in command to Paul Jewell until Terry Yorath’s arrival when he became number three. Now one and two had gone down the road.”

Richmond invited Hutchings to take on the job in a caretaker basis – it was a route he had used before with previous appointments.

City still intended to advertise the post – a Premiership job was an attractive one – but Hutchings told the chairman that he wanted to be considered.

That positive response convinced Richmond to give him the chance.

Richmond was not surprised with the criticism that followed. “Chris Who?” screamed the national papers and fans voiced their misgivings.

But the chairman was comfortable with the appointment, especially when Hutchings brought in Malcolm Shotton from the Leeds academy as his “bad cop” assistant.

Hutchings was going straight in the deep end. But Richmond backed him as the one constant from City’s rise from the third tier.

“Chris had been involved with the club through all of our successes, starting with our Wembley triumph.

“He had been there in the First Division survival campaign, he was there when we went up. He was there when we stayed up.”