BACK in 2003-04, Bristol City and Town figured in play-off finals on successive days at the Millennium Stadium.
Town edged victory - and promotion - on penalties against Mansfield, and have been on a steady upward curve ever since.
But Bristol City, who host Peter Jackson's second-placed side tomorrow, lost out to Brighton, and since that 1-0 defeat, the red half of the West Country's biggest city have had the blues.
Then-manager Danny Wilson departed in the wake of the Cardiff setback, and his successor Brian Tinnion was unable to lead a return to the League I play-offs last season.
A host of summer signings, including former Town favourite Marcus Stewart, provided plenty of optimism for this campaign, with many bookies making Bristol favourites for the title.
But City's form has been dismal.
Tinnion left in the wake of a 7-1 defeat at Swansea in September.
And so far under Gary Johnson, the former Latvian national coach brought in from League I rivals Yeovil, things have been even worse.
Tuesday's 1-0 home setback against Bradford City stretched what was already a club-worst losing sequence to nine games in all competitions.
And to make matters worse, Bristol plunged to the bottom of the table as a result of defender Louis Carey's 78th-minute own goal against the Bantams.
Striker and skipper Steve Brooker said it was an embarrassment to be looking up at the rest of the division.
"You are desperate for the losing run to end so you can hold your head up high in the city," said the former Port Vale player.
"Tuesday was even harder to take because of the eight previous defeats.
"If you're winning a few and drawing a few, those kind of defeats are a bit easier to take because they're a one-off.
"But nothing seems to be going for us at the moment and to lose like this is just gutting.
"Bradford came for a draw and ended up taking all three points with a fluke goal. We sat in the dressing room afterwards and asked ourselves `When is this going to end?'
"You try and put it out of your mind and forget about the run of defeats. But it's hard. It's not easy to block it out when you're on a run like this."
Johnson, who is chasing a fourth win in 14 games under his command tomorrow, remains upbeat.
"People will see that we lost again and that we're bottom of the league. But we played a lot better and have been very unlucky," he said.