When there is the promise of a "heated" meeting, with directors being "grilled" from a hostile floor, it invariably peters out into stage-managed, tame discussion. The directors sit there, pouring themselves glasses of mineral water and trying not to smirk as time is eaten up by someone asking about the type of pies sold in the kiosks. Think about it: other than some throwaway lines designed to taunt a rival - "Rory Bremner can pretend to be Tony Blair", that sort of thing - how often does anything truly newsworthy emerge from any agm?
The reality is that an incumbent board - any incumbent board - tends to get a far easier ride than people expect. When they are looking up at the top table, with a microphone thrust into their hand and the eyes of the room suddenly boring into them, even the most vociferous critic of a board can lose their nerve. If they are raised at all, the big questions, the big complaints, are met with frustrating or perfunctory responses, the order of business moves on and before you know it the event is done and dusted. Instead of being grilled, unpopular directors are laughing up their sleeves.
The first annual meeting of Rangers International Football Club will be different, at least up to a point. Some of the existing board will not be spared some real, visceral hostility at Thursday's meeting. Many shareholders and the majority of the broader Rangers fanbase have waited a long time for a chance to get in a room with this board and to personally interrogate them for the club's financial haemorrhaging and the never-ending chaos of its affairs. Brian Stockbridge, the beleaguered, unpopular finance director, can brace himself for a particularly rough ride. Sandy Easdale can say all he likes about a board taking collective responsibility for its failings, he will never convince the support that it is anything other than an unforgivable disgrace that a finance director could oversee a £14.4m operating loss in a year then admit the club will have just £1m left in the bank by April, having taken a grotesque £200,000 bonus for the football department winning the third division.
But as the old adage goes, sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. There has been a Teflon coating for the most unpopular figures to pass through Ibrox recently - Craig Whyte, Charles Green, Imran Ahmad and now Stockbridge have all survived for varying periods of time when supporters wanted their heads to roll - and the real issue around Thursday is whether the board will suffer anything more serious than a verbal battering for an uncomfortable couple of hours.
What had been billed for weeks as a tight, hard-to-call battle for control of the boardroom does not have quite the same feel about it going into the final days. There has been bluster and bravado from the directors and the nominees' group, both claiming to have the necessary backing to prevail, but the smart money is on the board having secured enough support from institutional investors to be re-elected en masse, while the group of four seeking to remove and replace them will be routed.
If that is how things unfold there undoubtedly will be some bitter, vicious and deeply personal exchanges. There is the certainty of lurid headlines. If there is anyone left who still associates Rangers with dignity or decorum they are in for an upsetting week. But the two camps flinging muck at each other is nothing new. If the current board does prevail then the saga will not end, it will merely enter another phase. The nominees - Paul Murray, Malcolm Murray, Scott Murdoch and Alex Wilson - will be finished. There would be sound and fury from them before they melted away. That would leave no obvious focal point for the fans' ongoing resentment and opposition to the board. Organised boycotts of season tickets and merchandise have been suggested, but to what real end? If the board survives on Thursday it will have done so through democracy. It will have been shown to be the will of the shareholders, if not the will of tens of thousands of the supporters.
There has been no leadership or presence from this current Rangers board, little personal investment, and nothing it has done which has been particularly impressive - with the possible exception of appointing Graham Wallace as chief executive. Yet it looks like the bigger institutional investors are supportive.
Wallace has come across as a credible and respected figure so far, maybe because he has had the sense to say next to nothing. If this board survives, it will have to reinvent itself and open up to a fanbase which is suspicious and unimpressed - the secrecy over who is behind Blue Pitch Holdings and Margarita Holdings has been a public relations disaster - and it will have to do so quickly if season tickets are to be flogged just as the club is down to its last million in the bank. Wallace could emerge as a unifying figure when it comes to that, the only one at Ibrox other than Ally McCoist.
If those two start banging the drum on a season-ticket drive, the likelihood is that the supporters would broadly respond. Why? Because fundamentally they want to come to watch their team, and because if the board has survived this week's agm there is really nowhere else to go.