In part 14 of the Richmond Years, City go for managerial experience but Jim Jefferies cannot turn the relegation tide.

“I DIDN’T have the happy, warm glow that I had done the right thing. The appointment didn’t feel quite right and unhappily it didn’t turn out right.”

Geoffrey Richmond’s instinct was that he shouldn’t have given Jim Jefferies the City job.

It was November 2000 and City were up to their necks in relegation quicksand. The dream scenario of a second year in the Premiership was fast becoming a nightmare.

Chris Hutchings had paid the price and the Bantams were in the market for a replacement capable of hitting the ground running.

Having previously appointed rookie bosses, Richmond felt the situation required an experienced hand.

City were second from bottom but “saveable” in the chairman’s mind if he brought the right man in to shake things up.

Stuart Baxter was making waves in Sweden and Japan and put himself forward but was unheard of in England. Instead, Richmond looked north of the border at former Hearts boss Jefferies.

The Scot was the only manager in the previous five years to break the Old Firm stranglehold when Hearts won the Scottish Cup in 1998.

They beat Rangers 2-1 in Stuart McCall’s final outing for the Gers before returning to Valley Parade that summer.

“It’s fair to say that Jim has dined out very well on it since,” said Richmond later. “I remember seeing him dancing around on the pitch after the match – but freak results do happen in football.”

Jefferies watched from the Pride Park stands as McCall oversaw City’s 2-0 defeat at relegation rivals Derby – a bad result that came at an even bigger cost with the groin injury to David Wetherall that would disrupt his career over the following 18 months.

The Scot was in the dug-out for the trip to Middlesbrough the next Saturday. Again, it was a game crucial to their survival hopes against another struggler.

Jefferies could not have wished for a better start as Dean Windass and Benito Carbone fired City two up inside the first 10 minutes.

But the euphoria did not last as Boro, who had brought in Terry Venables to assist Bryan Robson at the helm, hit back to draw with a late equaliser from Paul Ince.

Jefferies claimed a first win when Coventry were beaten at Valley Parade and there was a breathless 3-3 thriller with Spurs after Ledley King had broken the Premier League record with a goal after just 10 seconds.

But a thumping Boxing Day home defeat to Sunderland brought City crashing back down.

“We looked like a club bottom of the table without a prayer,” said Richmond.

Jefferies asked for a meeting with the chairman straight afterwards. Richmond wondered if he was about to quit just five weeks into the job.

But the discussion was on getting rid of the “fancy dans”, the big earners in the dressing room. To Richmond, it sounded like an ultimatum – either they go or the manager.

The last thing City needed in their perilous position was the upheaval of finding another man to take charge.

On the other hand, Richmond thought that by getting so heavy with the team he had only recently taken on perhaps Jefferies was showing the strong leadership urgently required.

Richmond publicly spun it as Jefferies the doctor coming in to heal the sick patient. The medicine would not taste nice at the time but City would be better in the long run.

The new year was seen in with a 2-1 win at sixth-placed Leicester. Maybe the cure was working.

Or maybe not. City then went over 10 hours without scoring – and didn’t win another game for three months until it was all over bar the shouting.

Carbone was left out on the team until the end of February, Dan Petrescu, Stan Collymore and David Hopkin had all gone. Even Peter Beagrie, who had been reduced to a bit-part player from the bench, was moved on.

Richmond felt that his manager had accepted relegation far too soon; the white flag raised too early.

The wage bill would need to be slashed if City were going down. But he insisted cuts were not on the agenda when Jefferies had come to see him in December.

Carbone nearly went to Middlesbrough on transfer deadline day but the clubs could not agree terms. It was a story that would be repeated a year down the line with far-reaching consequences.

Boro were not prepared to match the three years left on his City contract. But Richmond did not imagine that Carbone would stay after relegation.