In part 18 of the Richmond Years, City are reduced to only five players after “sacking” their squad following the club’s £36 million administration in May 2002.

“I DON’T do things by halves. Not for me the run-of-the-mill politics that surround every club the length and breadth of the land.

“No, it was the biggest football administration in English history. No half-measures involved with Geoffrey Richmond and Bradford City.”

The former chairman's words when he looked back on the summer of 2002 from a safe distance. At the time, he admitted it was the worst experience of his life and one he would “never, ever” want to repeat.

For three months, City’s existence balanced on a knife-edge with the threat of being shut down to the eye-watering tune of £36 million.

Richmond had blanched at the mention of the word insolvency but there was no escape from the club’s mounting debts. The gambler had exhausted all his chips.

The front page of the Telegraph & Argus was filled with pen pictures of Nicky Law’s senior squad who had all been released. But they still needed paying.

Krolls, the administrators now in charge of the club, tried to argue the point. They wanted to rip up the contracts altogether with a view to a new start and a much cheaper wage bill.

It was working out at £20,000 a day when 19 players were let go, most only finding out second hand through the internet. One was in holiday in Tahiti when he received the bombshell news.

Only five of the youngest, cheapest players remained.

Thirty-nine City members of staff lost their jobs in the administration. They were not protected like the “preferential” creditors in the dressing room, who were entitled to their money in full.

City were told they “couldn’t just sack footballers”. The PFA were furious at the suggestion and Richmond accused them of “painting a picture that this was some sort of ruse”.

He campaigned to change the insolvency policy and claimed to have the backing of plenty of clubs. But, equally, there were loud dissenting voices against what he was trying to do – “the rest got on their high horse” was his withering comment at the time.

Richmond also felt that Valley Parade’s geography helped save City from liquidation.

The site was only suitable for a sports ground for which it was valued at £15.3 million in February 2002. In June, the valuers slapped a £600,000 tag on it for anything else.

Anyone buying the club would only do it for football. There was no room to asset-strip for other commercial purposes.

A deal worth £2.6 million, allowing the players’ contracts to be honoured, was struck with the PFA by late June. Four months still went by without pay before everything was finally sorted.

PFA chief Gordon Taylor and Richmond then sat together to announce the rescue package at a hastily-convened fans’ forum at the ground. But the public mood was turning.

Richmond would dominate such meetings with his showmanship and booming presentation. But the dissenters grew as they saw their precious club heading to the wall because of over-ambition.

“What I desperately hoped for was the arrival of an eccentric millionaire with lots of dosh to end the misery,” he admitted in a later unpublished interview. “I was the big, bad wolf.”

Relations had broken down with the Rhodes family. In Richmond’s words, the battle lines were drawn.

Then a phone call came in from the son of one of Scarborough’s major sponsors during Richmond’s tenure at the seaside.

Robert Gibb, owner of Flamingo Land in north Yorkshire, had suffered a serious car accident shortly after Richmond had taken over at City. He died a few months later.

The voice on the other end was his son Gordon, who had taken over his father’s business interests.

According to Richmond, Gibb had been sat in his office looking at a picture on the wall of the chairman making a presentation to his dad in the Scarborough boardroom. Now he wanted to help in some way during the hour of need.

Gibb arrived with his accountant for a couple of hours of discussions and asked to see the figures. Richmond offered to draw up a business plan – he thought he had a potential partner on board.

However, after private talks with the Rhodes family, Gibb made the decision to go in with them instead. Richmond was left out in the cold.