What now for Wakefield?
One of rugby league's most famous clubs inched closer to the brink than ever before this week. Wakefield Trinity's plunge into administration resulted in stalled takeovers, multiple player sales and wholesale staff redundancies, not to mention real fears that a famous 137-year sporting history could be over.
But then came Thursday's news that they had been taken over by local businessman Andrew Glover, a move that has given fresh hope to the club's fans.
I had received numerous calls on Wednesday amid frenzied speculation that Wakefield's coach, John Kear, and entire playing staff had been laid off. There were also rumours that the club would be wound up the next day.
My immediate thoughts drifted back to 2005, when staff at the London Broncos were laid off and immediately reappointed when the club reformed as Harlequins RL. Could this be a similar story for Wakefield?
In some ways, yes.
A new company - Spirit of 1873 - now owns Wakefield after paying a nominal fee to the administrators, O'Hara and Company, and a two-man board of Glover and chief executive James Elston now runs the club with general manager Davide Longo.
As expected, all but five or six members of the 32-strong administration that were laid off have been taken back at the now debt-free club.
Kear texted me after Wakefield's future had been secured, telling me it had been a "tough time" but everything was "positive now".
But are Wakefield's problems really over?
Not really. With Super League licences up for renewal this year and Wakefield looking the most vulnerable of the existing top-flight franchises, the recent troubles have only increased their fragility.
Wakefield may have survived but only after losing three key players in as many days as administrators sold assets to pay off creditors.
I contacted halfback Sam Obst, back row-forward Dale Ferguson and centre Darryl Millard after their sales this week. None were keen to say much until the dust had settled but Ferguson did call me for a chat about his transfer to Huddersfield when the takeover was eventually confirmed.
And I could not help but feel for a player who is Wakefield through and through but now an unwitting casualty of the club's disastrous financial collapse.
Wakefield concede a try to Castleford at the Millennium Stadium in their opening game of the new Super League season. Pic: Getty
"It's been some week," said Ferguson, who scored two tries for Wakefield in the derby defeat to Castleford at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday, just days before his sudden transfer to the Giants.
"I was training at Wakefield on Monday, went home and got a call from my agent late that night saying he wanted to meet me. He and Huddersfield managing director Richard Thewlis then came to my house and told me I had been sold by the administrators of Wakefield. They told me the terms I had been offered. I just agreed and joined the Giants. It was all a real shock.
"I knew Huddersfield had been speaking to Aaron Murphy about him leaving Wakefield and then it came out at training that Obst had left to join Hull but no-one said anything about me going anywhere. I was shell-shocked and didn't know what was going on."
Huddersfield had been keen on the 22-year-old Ferguson for some time but the player himself did not want to go. "I was gutted," he said. "I love Wakey and didn't want to leave. I have been there for 10 years. But I have to think about my Super League future and if a club is giving me a chance I have to take it."
According to Ferguson, Wakefield's players had thought the club's future had been guaranteed before they took to the field in Cardiff on Saturday, with Glover's takeover believed to have been wrapped up the day before.
"It has been really tough for the players with all the uncertainty but we thought it was all sorted," said Ferguson. "In Cardiff, Glover came down and introduced himself, so we all thought all the problems had been knocked on the head.
"Travelling back, the boys were pretty pleased as it looked like Wakefield had a future again. Then on Monday, we were shell-shocked. Obst had gone, then I'd gone.
"I spoke to Aaron Murphy and asked him what he was going to do. He just wanted to keep playing and said he didn't know what he would do. I spoke to him the next day and told him I had taken the offer at Huddersfield. He told me he hadn't. My manager told me to be grateful for what Wakefield had done for my career but that I had to look after myself now it looked so bleak for them."
Ferguson sympathises with Wildcats coach Kear, who has guided the team through adversity on and off the field in recent seasons.
"I don't think he really knew what was going on," said Ferguson. "Then when I told him I'd been sold to Huddersfield, he was really shocked. But this is a club that has got used to dealing with adversity. No one ever fancies us and we are always fighting. I'm still a Wakefield fan and think they will be OK now."
Ferguson still refers to Wakefield as "we" and returned to the club on Thursday to say his goodbyes. But is he right to think they are now safe? Or is it just a temporary reprieve before the Super League licences are handed out in July?
"I don't really know if this is the nail in the coffin," he said. "The boys will rip in and show their worth. Hopefully that will be enough. I don't think any more players will leave."
What about the fans? Ferguson thinks they have been kept in the dark and says it must have been horrible for them to find out the truth from the media.
And what about Ferguson? Well, he appears to have a long and promising Super League career ahead of him. He only hopes Wakefield are in the top flight, too.