Only the passage of time will reveal the effect this year’s relegation has on the direction of Worcester Warriors.
Don’t be fooled by all the positive spin, demotion – and such a pitiful one at that – caused considerable consternation at a club that for the last 15 years has known only one, relentlessly forward gear.
Admittedly that progress had slowed to a trudge and by the time Mike Ruddock’s reign reached its sad nadir and Worcester had won none of their last seven Premiership matches, they had started sliding backwards.
And one only has to recall the unseemly images of unrest between players and supporters at Headingley to understand just how much that hurt everyone.
As things fizzled to an unsatisfactory end, only Alex Grove appeared to have any idea of how to haul his team beyond the mediocre.
Which was quite something given the fact their side contained men who had captained Australia and England and a host of other self-regarding internationals.
Indeed the former, Chris Latham, appeared more affected by the malaise than anyone else.
It seemed barely possible that the shell-shocked leader who acquiesced to Matt Jones’ request to attempt a wildly optimistic penalty from inside his own half in their relegation decider at Leeds, was the same player who spent more than a decade building a world class reputation as a buccaneering full-back.
Worcester’s heads had gone and so Cecil Duckworth was left with the only option but to deprive Ruddock of his. Out went the amiable Welshman and in came the more intense Richard Hill.
Out went what passed for ‘‘superstars’’ Latham, Rico Gear and Sam Tuitupou to be replaced by more prosaic names like Rob Higgitt, Tom Arscott and Oriol Ripol.
And, irony of cruel ironies, the blue chip fly-half that Warriors have lacked in each of their six top-flight campaigns is now on board – in the Championship.
Andy Goode’s start to Operation Phoenix has followed a similar line to that of the collective, lots of big weapons but not as much cohesion as required.
Nevertheless they end 2010 at the top of the division. Whether they are able to secure promotion and continue their winning ways in the Premiership is very much open to debate.
If they can, 2010 and the pain of relegation might just be the best thing that ever happened at Sixways.
Worcester Player Of 2010: Pat Sanderson - Not a strong field but the ex-captain raged against the dying of the light more than most