So there we have it. The horses have been traded, alliances built and cracked and the landscape, no let’s call it a roadmap in honour of another great political cock-up of our time, has been fashioned for years to come.
National One will be the Championship, 12 teams not 16, play-offs will decide who goes up to the Premiership and down to National Two - which will be National One, everyone’s professional right down to the bin-emptier - and, best of all, Sky shows the last second of every bankrupted club’s existence.
The Coventry-Moseley derby - assuming they’re invited and accept of course - will be advertised as The Pain in the Butts and voiced over by that bloke who used to be a superintendent on The Bill. It will kick off at 7.36 on Thursday night because the Boxing Day slot has been filled by Hull City’s Premier League match at Reading. Oh good.
Unless, of course, there’s a slip ‘twixt cup and lip, a fly in the ointment or a spanner in the works. Here’s a few to be going on with.
Scenario One - Premier Rugby throws a wobbly
The newly-created - and by-passed - Professional Game Board meets a week today. Premier Rugby representatives are so piqued by the Rugby Football Union’s failure to consult with them plans to alter relegation from the top flight that they vote to reject the proposals accepted at council last Friday.
Premier Rugby says it will only accept the plans if the notion of a promotion play-off is scrapped. After all, they do not even want to countenance the prospect of the Championship’s eighth-placed team - and the country’s 20th best - trying to break into their cartel.
The RFU is in something of a tight spot, having given their word to Championship clubs there will be more than 22 league games a season. Odds 3-1
Scenario Two - Welsh throw a wobbly
The Welsh governing body, piqued by the Rugby Football Union’s early announcement of embryonic Anglo Welsh competitions, pulls out of negotiations leaving the RFU at least six games light in their commitment to level two clubs.
Someone comes up with the outrageous idea that the top flight and second tier clubs play each other - you know, like they used to in the old days. They are denounced as heretics and sent to Waterloo. Odds 5-1
Scenario Three - Rugby goes west
The plans are accepted by the Professional Game Board and put in place ready for September next year. Unfortunately Moseley, having sustained injuries to two key players, finish twelfth and are effectively relegated back into the community game. Coventry join them after fielding an ineligible player and being docked three decisive points.
Redruth, 29th best team in the country, win National Two by drawing at Sharmans Cross Road on the last day of the season. The South West now has
six clubs in the professional game; the second biggest city and largest conurbation in the country has none. Odds 33-1
Scenario Four - Wasps stung
After suffering with injuries and international call-ups all season, the reigning champions finish bottom of the Premiership and are relegated.
Once down in the Championship they find the £1 million salary cap too restrictive and have to shed all of their leading players at which point attendances in Wycombe fall through the floor.
The nadir is when they lose at home to promoted Birmingham & Solihull. Within months of coaching the British Lions to a remarkable series win in South Africa Ian McGeechan loses his job and Lawrence Dallaglio is forced out of retirement as a flu bug sweeps through the club. Odds 500-1
Scenario Five - Blood on the carpet
Yet another attempt at full-time rugby goes wrong for Rotherham/Nottingham/Coventry (delete as appropriate) who can’t lure crowds to see them beat Bedwas in the Anglo Welsh Ashtray.
The club fold and are relegated to the bottom of the pyramid. The RFU release a statement claiming it’s not their fault, every other club has been able to make it work. Odds 1000-1
Scenario Six - Part-time position
Moseley do not risk going full-time but take advantage of the four-year grace period afforded by the RFU. One year in, unable to compete with 11 other fully-professional clubs, they are relegated to the community game. Odds 1500-1
Some scenarios are less than likely to happen but each addresses a serious consideration Moseley, Coventry and their National One colleagues must make in the next few months. Recruitment and player retention will begin within weeks yet no one is quite sure of what budgets they’ll be working with. What a way to organise a sport.
Nevertheless, let’s end on a positive thought - what if ...
Scenario Seven - Former glories regained
After clinging on to the coat tails of the top eight for the entire campaign and winning only six of their 22 matches, Moseley beat Coventry on the final day of the regular season to enter the promotion play-offs.
A Wasps team, decimated by summer tour call-ups and injuries, is beaten home and away, and Moseley reach the semi-finals and the final. Twickenham - or at least a corner of it - is Red and Black as Andy Binns ends his career by scoring the winning try against Exeter to take Moseley back into the big time. Odds 1,000,000-1