Joni Mitchell might have been thinking about Steve Bruce and Birmingham City in her song Big Yellow Taxi when she trilled 'You don't know what you've got till it's gone'.
There have been many Blues fans who have thought in recent seasons that Bruce's time was up, that the style of football was too mundane and that his work in the transfer market was unimpressive, but consider the facts.
Blues have only ever won a single meaningful trophy in 132 years' existence - the League Cup in 1963 when most of the big clubs weren't taking that competition seriously. So you can't assess achievement at St Andrew's in anything other than hob-nobbing with the big boys and the occasional stirring cup-run, like the FA Cup semi-final appearance in 1975.
On that basis, Bruce was an extremely successful manager at Birmingham City. Getting them promoted in 2002 within six months of taking over was a notable performance and over the next five seasons Blues spent four of them in the Premiership, finishing tenth one year.
He considered promotion back to the Premiership earlier this year as his outstanding managerial achievement and he was right. The crowd was on his back for much of last season but he overhauled the playing staff radically to get the required promotion at the first time of asking, without spending a great deal.
Bruce's reward was a spending budget for new players that amazed his old Manchester United colleague Roy Keane. While Keane was granted a budget of £40 million at newlypromoted Sunderland, Bruce spent a net amount of £7.6 million on twelve players. The Premiership diet for Birmingham was again going to be ships' biscuits laced with weevils and watered-down rum while many of the other clubs in their category, mindful of the fabulous sums available for staying in the top flight, spent handsomely. Including Wigan.
And that's one of the main reasons why he has upped sticks to join a club whose attendance figures average 10,000 less than Blues, who languish second bottom and still can't compete with rugby league in popularity in the town. But Wigan's chairman Dave Whelan has promised Bruce generous funds for the January transfer market and a salary hike of 25 per cent.
At Blues, he was told he'd have only £4 million to dabble in the January sales, making him wonder which part of a player he'd be able to buy. And he needed fresh blood in the first-team squad, with injuries stacking up.
He gets on well with Whelan, who's in sole control of the club - no takeover hassles and second-guessing at the JJB Stadium. Manager and chairman will have brief, open and constructive meetings. John Benson and Frank Barlow, old colleagues from Birmingham City, work at Wigan and they'll make him feel welcome.
There will be none of the soap opera of St Andrew's where Bruce described as 'unique' his relationship with the board of directors.
In the end, Bruce had had enough and it may be that the key directors felt the same. They didn't fight to keep him from Wigan's clutches, unlike a few weeks earlier when Bolton tried to lure him away. But Bruce never fancied that one, although he was flattered to be in the frame. At that stage, he was feeling vulnerable, wondering if it was all worth the candle.
The team was playing well, although not showing results to justify that claim. But there was genuine talent there, particularly among the new foreign signings, and you didn't have to be a one-eyed Bluenose to believe they could easily be another six points to the good as the season settled down after three months.
So the prospective new owner, Carson Yeung, would be looking at the league table unaware that Blues were in a false position. Yeung hadn't impressed Bruce with any footballing depth - unlike Whelan, who had played in the 1960 FA Cup Final for Blackburn - and he had never had the feeling he was leaning against an open door in his superficial meetings with Yeung.
And the businessman in Yeung would believe that results might buck up under a new manager. And so it came to pass and Bruce jumped ship, feeling he was basically farting against thunder.
Can you blame him? Well this columnist doesn't, apart from one criticism. He should have signed the new, four-year contract offered to him by the existing board when promotion was achieved.
There was one quibble - about the amount of compensation in the event of a parting of the ways - but that wasn't cleared up quickly enough. Bruce went off on holiday and when he returned for pre-season training Yeung had frozen all prospective new contracts while due diligence was undertaken.
Bruce should have closed on that new contract earlier. Some of the influential members of the board also believe that, and that's why they have been less than fulsome in their sympathy.
The board may feel that Bruce overplayed his hand in talking publicly about his job prospects but they have to take a long look at themselves. Why did they snap off Yeung's hand back in July, when there was still enough time to suss out the market and see who else was out there? What was so special about Yeung?
I understand that he struggled to raise the £15 million in the first place to get him to 29.9 per cent in Blues and the suspicion persists that he doesn't have the funds to secure another £40 million to establish total control.
That will be determined within the next week. On Friday, Yeung's Hong Kong-based company Grand Top International will hold an egm, and approval for the bid is deemed to be a formality. Then a formal offer document would go out to Blues' shareholders.
If Yeung hasn't soon lodged the money for the bid for the remaining 70 per cent of the Blues' shares then it's an impasse. Blues would have lost their manager and the chance of new ownership. Another fine mess.
Given the renowned financial acumen of David Sullivan and the Gold brothers, why did they give Yeung such a long time? The 29.9 per cent deal was secured on July 16 and the Blues' board have put themselves in a corner. Why not tell Yeung to either bid for 100 per cent control or be done with it?
By their own volition, the board effectively sold Yeung a blocking stake because no one else was likely to bid once Yeung had gained almost 30 per cent of the shares.
Away from the boardroom manoeuvres, take a look at Blues' fixture list. Next month they play, in succession, Reading, Bolton, Middlesborough and Fulham, all teams they will be scrapping against near the bottom. In January, Blues play Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea in a row.
Unrealistic to expect anything other than a bleak January. And unless some inspirational leadership emerges soon, December will be the defining month of this season for Blues, when the threat of relegation crystallised.
In comparison, all Bruce will have to worry about at Wigan is making sure Emile Heskey stays on the park and whether he wants Mario Melchiot to stay as captain.
So who's got the better of the deal this week?