Premiership and Beyond
Two seasons in the top flight followed by a rapid fall through the leagues. A year after the Centenary celebrations of 2003, bankruptcy threatened the very existence of the Bantams.
1 Promotion to the Premier League - 1998-1999
Therefore, when Jewell was appointed manager in the summer of 1998, he received a lukewarm reception. However, the Rhodes family injected several million pounds into the transfer kitty and suddenly the prospects for the coming season were transformed. The return of Stuart McCall was followed by City's first million pound signing - striker Lee Mills.
Despite the expectation, City won only once in the first seven games. However, just as doubts about Jewell's managerial ability began to surface, a victory at West Brom sparked a run that saw only one defeat in eleven games. City vied with Ipswich Town for the second automatic promotion spot - Sunderland had all but run away with the title.
2 The Premiership Years - Season 1999-2000
It was to be an unforgettable afternoon. With barely ten minutes on the clock David Wetherall headed City into an unbelievable lead.
Liverpool put City's goal under a sustained siege. Dogged defending kept the visitors at bay. Keeper Matt Clarke was inspired, as again and again England striker Michael Owen was denied. City needed a respite. It came with news that Southampton had scored; when the Saints grabbed a second, City were tantalisingly close to survival.
When the final whistle came, it was met by arguably the biggest party since City's FA Cup triumph in 1911. Against all the odds and expectations City had survived. As manager Paul Jewell punched the air in triumph, he would have had every right to enjoy a wry smile at those who doubted him back in 1998.
3 The Premiership Years - Season 2000-01
Barely had the celebrations died down when Paul Jewell suddenly left the club amid rumours of a rift with chairman Geoffrey Richmond. Fans were left stunned when it was then announced that City would make their European debut in the Inter-Toto Cup! Coach Chris Hutchings was promoted to manager and signings came thick and fast. Ashley Ward, David Hopkin, Peter Atherton, Dan Petrescu and most astonishingly Benito Carbone arrived at Valley Parade.
4 The Colour of Money - 2001 to 2008
The club was committed to lengthy and lucrative contracts it simply could not afford. Without the television income of the Premiership the clubs finances came under severe pressure. City’s Italian star Benito Carbone was on a staggering £40,000 a week – twice the cost of a house near the ground!
On top of the unsustainable wage bill virtually all the fixtures and fittings at Valley Parade had been sold to leasing companies – right down to the seats the fans sat on. Even the captain David Wetherall had been bought by a finance company was leased to the club!
During the summer of 2002 only a last gasp rescue deal headed by Julian Rhodes saved the club from closure. However, only two years later City again collapsed into financial administration with debts of £34m. Against such a bleak backdrop, it was no surprise when City were relegated again. It was a somber end to the club's Centenary season.
Six years after starring in the Premier League City found themselves relegated to the bottom division of the Football League. It was a spectacular fall from grace.