The saga of the Rangers administration/liquidation evokes memories of the television series. Not in its lurid dealings with high finance or its plot progressions with a volatile tycoon; it more resembles just one scene. It is that moment when Bobby Ewing emerges from the shower and Pam realises that all of what went before is only a nightmare. What else can the viewer of Rangers: The Administration believe other than it all has been some sort of fevered dream?
The period from the administrators walking through the door of the media room at Ibrox on February 16 to today's final list of bidders for the club has been marked with misinformation and confusion.
The central issues at Rangers are no clearer now than when Duff & Phelps accepted the onerous, if highly lucrative, task of assessing the damage and deciding how it could be repaired. One expert, when pressed yesterday, admitted the most significant move in seven weeks was that the ''parameters of the Ticketus agreement have all but been clarified''. Those of us who peer in at the business world with the blinkers of ignorance may feel this is hardly progress of the most significant variety.
The most perplexing storyline in this drama has concerned Craig Whyte, the owner of the club. Yesterday he created news for agreeing to transfer his shares to the Blue Knights, a consortium bidding for the club. Moments later he made headlines when it was reported he had not agreed to transfer his shares to the Blue Knights. The briefing dogs had barked, but the caravan had not moved one inch.
Whyte, meanwhile, has been reported as walking away. He has been quoted as saying he is not walking away. His views on standing still remain a matter of conjecture, but watch this space.
This flippancy is caused by fatigue at the paucity of certainty in the Rangers story. One definite aspect is surely that Whyte has a central role in the story to unfold. Three weeks ago he was described by administrators as ''absolutely irrelevant'' to the future of the club. How, then, can this view be reconciled with the gravitas given to every perceived shift in his attitude to the disposal or non-disposal of shares? Why do the administrators find it important to brief broadcasters that Whyte ''will not stand in the way of a sale'' if he is so irrelevant?
The bottom line is that any disposition of Rangers has to be made with the co-operation of Whyte, even if that is achieved under some duress. He is already protecting his position. He claims to have ''£30m in cash and guarantees on the line''. Any legal challenge to Whyte could be protracted and costly. Success, too, would not be assured.
The £30m question is also interesting. There seems to be little clarity on what was shown in terms of financial security as the takeover was mounted. Was this all Ticketus money? Was it smoke and mirrors and bluster and blarney? Or was it a genuine £30m? If it was the last, it surely makes it impossible for Whyte to walk away without recompense. If it was Ticketus money – and if an agreement exists with Whyte in that respect – then that may also be a matter for the courts to decide in the long run. If it was bluster, why was it not shown to be such immediately?
There is also another element to Whyte's involvement in the club. It was also being reported last night that the administrators believed the venture capitalist was not a creditor of the club. Curious. No elaboration was given to this bold assertion. No detailed explanation was forthcoming. Presumably, Whyte as a creditor is as irrelevant as Whyte as an owner once was.
The only possible conclusion to be drawn is that the hype, the briefings and the dubious if strongly-stated opinions are all manoeuvring in what has become a game of poker, with Rangers as the pot.
Seven weeks after David Whitehouse and Paul Clark of Duff & Phelps marched into an Ibrox room to the whirring and popping of cameras, an increasingly bizarre series has been played out on television and in print.
Some claims have proved far-fetched. The latest in this ignoble line was the possibility, raised yesterday afternoon, that Rangers were still attempting to keep a route open to European football next season. Yesterday evening, in what one might believe to be a recurring pattern, this was shot down with the vigour afforded to a light aircraft approaching the White House.
Some claims have taken some time to unravel. The ''irrelevance of Whyte'' is a prime example of this genre. The disappearance of Brian Kennedy from the bidding process may soon join this category.
Other claims lie on the table but they will be challenged soon. Whyte will be central to the resolution of these.
In the meantime, it seems the baffled outsider is not quite in the position of a dedicated Dallas viewer. Rangers: The Administration now evokes the bemusement caused by Lost, and that after missing the first and last episodes.