IT WAS the game held up to highlight the folly of the television deal that nearly killed City among many other Football League clubs.

The £315million contract with ITV Digital collapsed after just two years because of plummeting viewing figures.

The money tree promised by the TV people withered and died – the Bantams were not the only side to be sucked into administration in the messy aftermath.

All the epitaphs from such a spectacular fail of a venture focused on the night that Jim Jefferies took Bradford to the City Ground in September 2001.

Football on a Thursday night was supposed to be the ground-breaking renovation of the upstart TV company. But the public voted emphatically with the off switch.

The rights to cover City's trip to Nottingham Forest in the equivalent of the Championship cost £1.2million. But just 1,000 people tuned in to watch 17-year-old Jermaine Jenas score the only goal.

No doubt the pitiful armchair audience was even lower than that by the time Robert Molenaar was sent off in stoppage time.

As one national newspaper put it at the time: "It would have been cheaper for ITV Digital to have driven each viewer to the ground by taxi, put them up in a five-star hotel and given them £500 spending money."

But 17 years on, Thursday football is back on the TV agenda as broadcasters look to swamp the market with a game every night.

Having played only once on a Thursday in the past four years, City will now do it twice in a month after Sky switched the Shrewsbury home game to follow the Easter trip to leaders Blackburn.

Yet while Thursday outings have been few and far between, the Bantams back catalogue features some memorable moments.

Last season's play-off first leg with Fleetwood remains fresh in the mind as Rory McArdle's trademark header from a corner – his last in a claret and amber shirt – earned the narrow advantage that would ultimately prove to be enough to see them through to Wembley.

Before then you had to go back to Boxing Day 2013 when raw teenager Oli McBurnie was thrown into the Valley Parade firing line against Rotherham as injuries bit deep.

Seven months earlier, City's promotion dream had been spectacularly revived on a Thursday night by Garry Thompson.

Trailing 3-1 at half-time in the home opener of their play-off with Burton, Phil Parkinson's side were staring down the barrel of semi-final heartbreak.

Then Thompson let rip from distance with an explosive finish in front of the Kop – and create the momentum that would power City to promotion from League Two 16 days later.

Prior to that, City had not played on a Thursday since a 1-1 Easter draw at Doncaster's old Belle Vue home in 2005.

Three years earlier, they had beaten Stoke 4-2 in an entertaining Boxing Day clash that included a first goal of the season for Claus Jorgensen.

It was the springboard of an unexpected hot streak for the Danish midfielder, who would then go on to equal a club record by scoring in eight consecutive away games.

But there will always be one Thursday that stands out from the rest for Valley Parade fans.

For the vast majority of the country, May 1 in 1997 was the date that Tony Blair swept to power in the general election.

Yet for 15,780 gnawing their nails to the quick in West Yorkshire, there was only one result that mattered.

City were on the brink of instant relegation from the second tier. A year on from Chris Kamara leading them to promotion with a winning Wembley debut against Notts County, they were odds-on to make an immediate return.

Nothing less than two wins against Charlton and QPR in the final four days of the season would spare the Bantams and send Grimsby down instead.

With the size of the task clear, the club took the players away to a hotel ahead of Charlton's visit to make sure the focus was spot on.

Alan Curbishley's side did not roll up just to play the role of extras. They dominated most of the game after Nigel Pepper's first-half goal had given City a priceless advantage.

But City, with keeper Aidan Davison in inspired form between the posts, held them at bay and hung on for three crucial points.

Then three days on, Pepper struck twice as QPR were sunk 3-0 to complete the Great Escape.