Hyder Jawad says the handling of the Steve Bruce comedy is unlikely to win anyone at Birmingham City an Oscar
The text message came through last Thursday afternoon while I was surveying the large flight of stairs that occupy the position between 923 and 937 Vendome Street in the Silver Lake district of Los Angeles.
"Steve Bruce likely to quit Birmingham City," was the gist of it and I knew then that I was in the perfect place to receive such news.
The 133 steps that lead from Vendome Street at the bottom to Descanso Drive at the top were made famous in 1931 by Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy when, in The Music Box, they made a mess of trying to deliver a piano to a crazy professor.
Seventy-six years on, the steps remain unchanged - even the cracks in the concrete are, apparently, the same - and stand as a testimony to comic genius.
Of course, Laurel and Hardy won an Oscar for their blunders in this film, but I rather suspect that Birmingham City's blunders will win them nothing but frustration, regret and criticism.
As Laurel and Hardy later found out, there was an easier way to deliver the piano - a short drive up a nearby hill to the appropriate house. Birmingham City will soon realise, if they do not already, that there was an easier way of dealing with the Bruce situation.
Tackling the insurmountable steps might make for a better story, but it would have been better to use the horse and carriage.
Football clubs do not have the option of blaming their mistakes on a desire to provide comedy. The only people laughing here are Blues' Premier League relegation rivals Wigan Athletic, who will acquire the services of Bruce this week for the painfully small sum of £3 million.
Birmingham will then find themselves without a manager and without even the consolation of being able to blame somebody else for what has happened. This crisis was self-inflicted.
Bruce has been feeling insecure since rumours emerged last summer that Carson Yeung, a Hong Kong-based businessman, was toying with the idea of buying Birmingham City.
Talks between the two men last month were supposedly positive but not, it seems, positive enough to ease Bruce's concerns. He wanted assurances about his long-term position at St Andrew's and, in his mind, did not receive enough of them.
Worse still is the perception that Yeung, who now owns 29.9 per cent of the club, might not take over Birmingham after all, meaning that Bruce would not have any reason to feel insecure.
He could have stayed at St Andrew's in the knowledge that, in David Gold, the club chairman, he had a long-term ally.
So now there is the likelihood that Birmingham will be without new owners and also without the best manager in their history. They lose both ways. But this is Charlie Chaplin tragedy rather than Laurel and Hardy comedy, because the laughter - which, for now, is coming from Wigan - leaves a bitter taste.
Bruce would have celebrated six years in charge next month, a remarkable length of service in a context where loyalty and longevity are in short supply, but Birmingham missed one important point: loyalty is not enough to combat insecurity.
Bruce is only human. In his world, once Birmingham ceased to be owned by the Gold brothers and David Sullivan, it was no longer the club he had agreed to join. It was somebody else's club.
Waiting to see if the proposed takeover would fall through was a risk because, by then, the job with Wigan would no longer be vacant. The timing was everything.
The current Birmingham owners have been negotiating with Yeung because they believe that the Hong Kong-based property developer has the finances and business acumen to take the club farther forwards.
But if Yeung could not give Bruce assurances about the future, does that not raise key question marks about the motives of the prospective new owner? And if Yeung's motives are to be questioned, does that make him a
suitable chairman of Birmingham? The warning signs should have ended this proposed deal weeks ago. The hill is better than the stairs.
Uncertainty is swirling around St Andrew's. Gold, his brother Ralph and David Sullivan went into this with the best of intentions but have watched the situation spiral out of control.
There has been none of the ease with which Randy Lerner assumed control of Aston Villa in 2006. The Birmingham City takeover - which could become the takeover that never even was - has cost the club their manager, their sense of stability, and their sense of control. Wigan are grateful beneficiaries. So, too, is Bruce, who only ever wanted a harmonious environment that is conducive to success.
Errors come often by misinterpreting the situation; by trying to lug a piano up 133 steps when there is a hill just around the corner. And if the piano falls down and a nursemaid is standing there at the bottom of the stairs saying "of all the dumb things", one should not be surprised.