Pompey keep calm and carry on, eventually
On the brink of death on Friday, feeling better on Saturday, completely fine on Sunday - for almost any other club this would have been a dramatic and remarkable weekend, for Portsmouth it was business as usual.
Depressing, embarrassing and grasping business, but business all the same.
There's an old saying about laws and sausages; making them is an unappetising process. I have a feeling it is a similar story when it comes to company voluntary arrangements (CVAs), which is why it is regrettable Pompey fans had their Friday nights spoiled for no apparent reason.
I say "apparent" but there was a bit more to the great Sacha Gaydamak panic than a bout of man flu. Not enough to warrant the "Portsmouth in jeopardy" shock tactics perhaps, but enough to bring some urgency to the sadly inevitable last-minute haggling.
Portsmouth WERE almost broke last week and it is true to say the club could not have continued in the limbo state of administration for much longer.
Some Portsmouth fans discovered the news while at their game with Hull. Photo: PA
Having already spent at least two months longer than was hoped under the control of UHY Hacker Young's well-rewarded business recovery experts, the club badly needed to get on with the next stage of the recovery process.
The emergency budget drawn up by administrator Andrew Andronikou in February just about stacked up, but it was always a close-run thing as a relegation-doomed Pompey would suit nobody (apart perhaps from some Southampton fans).
I have a sneaky feeling Andronikou has quietly changed his £10,000-a-week wage cap for players to a squad average but I am also certain manager Steve Cotterill made a sound case for doing so. Hence the additions of budget-stretching talents like Greg Halford, Dave Kitson and Liam Lawrence.
Keeping Pompey credible on the park was not the only unavoidable cost. There was also the matter of Andronikou's fees and those of the numerous lawyers he has sent into battle. That bill is approximately £2m now. There was more than just reputations at stake here.
With the Football League holding on to television money, the Premier League siphoning Pompey's relegation booby prize direct to the clubs and players owed money by the Fratton Park outfit and the bank only releasing season-ticket revenue in pro rata chunks, there was cash in the business, Andronikou just couldn't get his hands on it.
The only way to open the vaults again was to proceed with the CVA (effectively a get-out-of-debt-nearly-free card) "agreed" in May and defended in the High Court in August.
Andronikou knew it, the club chairman David Lampitt knew it, even the businessmen squabbling over the remains of Pompey's Premier League era knew it.
So how on earth did we get from a position of apparent consensus and mutual benefit to Friday's "it appears likely the club will now be closed down" incendiary device?
It is a question I have asked both sides in the dispute and a few innocent parties stuck in the middle too - would it surprise you to learn I have heard at least three different versions of what sounds like a fairly straightforward row about money?
I'll spare you the full details but one side claims the deal was done as far as they were concerned, if only one of the key creditors could be found to put his signature to it, only for him to change his mind at the "11th hour" and demand "a significant upfront payment".
The other side claim they were more than happy to sign the agreed deal only to be handed something different, prompting them to refuse to sign until further talks could be held after the Jewish Sabbath had passed on Saturday evening.
The guys in the middle went for a blend of these positions, wishing only for a plague to descend upon both of their houses.
Who's telling the truth? Frankly, who cares?
What we can say is the deal was signed on Sunday, former owner Alexandre "Sacha" Gaydamak will get all of the £2.5m he is owed as a secured creditor (£300,000 of that immediately) and Balram Chainrai is the owner of Portsmouth Football Club for the second time this year.
With Chainrai the effective owner of the club, thanks to his legal hold over Pompey's "assets" and stadium, and Gaydamak the owner of the land surrounding the stadium - land that is only of real value to a serious owner of Portsmouth Football Club - there was little else they could do.
They need each other, which is a delightful irony considering the fact their families and business associates have been in serious dispute in various courts in Israel: a complete coincidence that, by the way.
So one chapter in Pompey's rich and storied (or should that be Storried?) history is over. They have left administration for the second time in little more than a decade and can look forward to a better future.
The immediate benefits of starting the CVA are the Football League cuts them a bit more slack (Cotterill can increase his squad beyond the league-imposed max of 20, although they will be scrutinising every move for the next two years), a little more money should flow their way and Lampitt can get on with running the club without Andronikou's imperial assent.
Lampitt is exactly the kind of leader Pompey need - honest, real and smart - but he might have some early PR work to do for his role in spooking the fans this weekend. Friday's press release was not Andronikou's work.
For the administrator, the CVA means a change of role. Andronikou becomes a supervisor and while his involvement should last another five years (the schedule for completing all the payments), his billable hours will drop considerably.
He does, however, have one very important task to complete: his investigation into what went wrong.
His preliminary report on the actions of the club's board members over the last few years is expected at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills next month, although there is a two-year window for a full inquiry to commence.
Many questions have been asked of his impartiality in this matter over the last eight months and so far he has answered all of them to the satisfaction of the courts. With the taxman nursing the biggest loss from this debacle, the scrutiny he is under to pursue any wrongdoers will not diminish.
The next key date for him will be the formal winding-up of Portsmouth City Football Club Ltd next March, and the safe launch of a new Pompey holding vehicle.
What Chainrai and chums do now remains to be seen but the most likely scenario is that they are stuck with the club a bit longer, and vice-versa.
Do not read too much into the talk of rival consortia with "sorted" financing, they don't exist. Not yet, anyway. As Lampitt himself admitted on Monday, the club need stability now and that means Chainrai.
It is an outcome that will disappoint many at Revenue and Customs, and thrill few in Portsmouth, but it beats liquidation, which would be a shame for a team now priced just 8/1 to reach the play-offs.
A shot at the Premier League again would be a ridiculous proposition for a club apparently at death's door three days ago but this is Pompey, ridiculous is normal.