Norwich City's prospects of hauling themselves out of the bottom three of the Championship improved markedly this afternoon – and all without a ball being kicked in anger.
For across at the Ricoh Stadium in Coventry, the Sky Blues issued an official statement confirming that they had filed legal papers stating their intention to go into administration – all of which, under strict Football League rules, comes complete with a ten-point penalty for any club that enters administration in mid-season.
The hope, apparently, is that Coventry's principal creditor – the Co-Op Bank – will see sufficient benefit in the imminent takeover deal not to drive the club into administration. Whether the Inland Revenue take a similar line will be interesting.
After getting their fingers badly burned at Leeds United by the various offshore arrangements installed by Elland Road chairman Ken Bates, HM Government are unlikely to take a lenient view of football's latest, high-profile crisis club.
Nor, for that matter, will the boards at Carrow Road, Deepdale and Loftus Road be too keen on anyone going soft on the Sky Blues.
Sat comfortably in mid-table on 25 points, take ten points off and Coventry will suddenly be in the bottom three with the Canaries, Preston North End and Co, albeit with a slightly better goal difference.
Today's move comes as part of a proposed takeover by football entrepreuneur Ray Ranson and his backers, the hedge fund Sisu Capital.
The former Manchester City full-back has been linked to a clutch of clubs over recent years – Aston Villa and Southampton among them. Ranson now appears to have settled on becoming the new owner of Coventry City, though you presume he has no intention of starting his life as a club owner saddled with someone else's debts.
Therefore, it could well be the case that wiping much of the existing debt clean was a condition of the club's sale; that by potentially going into administration now, Coventry's debt position changed sufficiently for Ranson and his investment partners to stay at the table and do the deal.
Do it now in December with 25 points already on the board and then – the theory goes – you still have enough of a chance of picking up enough points in the last five months of the season to avoid following Leeds into administration and into League One.
In the club's official statement, the board suggtested that today's first legal step towards administration was merely “a legal process protecting the Bank and its creditors and should speed up the potential takeover of the Club and therefore take Coventry City into a solvent financial situation.
“This legal notice gives Coventry City a 10-day window to complete the takeover talks with Ray Ranson and Sisu Capital, along with all other parties.”
Whether or not that within that ten-day period the Sky Blues could find enough time and financial lee-way to avoid falling fully into administration and, therefore, avoiding the ten-point 'fine' is slightly unclear.
There had, however, long been speculation that the club was struggling to pay the players' wages; that, said the club, had now been done.
“Following recent speculation, the club can confirm can that staff and player wages have now been paid and we look forward to a successful conclusion of the takeover in the near future. Coventry City will not be making any further comment at this time.”
Sky Blues boss Iain Dowie did, however, add his thoughts after being widely quoted as saying that he would review his own position at the club if Coventry did go into administration. It was not, he suggested, what he signed up for.
And given his own financial position given the legal bill that landed on his door-step in messy and lengthy spat with Crystal Palace owner Simon Jordan, the Sky Blues manager will be more keen than most for the wages to be paid on time.
“The sword of Damocles has been hanging for a little while now,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live today.
“When I came to the club, I thought it would be a very positive situation where we'd have quite a sizeable amount of money to spend. It hasn't quite turned out like that.
“We'd like to be able to take this club forward and we're a little bit frustrated that some of our targets are now playing very well elsewhere. But we can throw our toys out of the pram or work as hard as we can – and I'll choose the latter.”
Nevertheless, it all adds to the growing sense of crisis at the Ricoh and if the Sky Blues do indeed go into administration then the good-will factor locally can swiftly evaporate as the St John's Ambulance (City of Coventry) branch find themselves 95 pence in the pound short courtesy of any future CVA arrangement put in place by the administrators.
Equally, as Dowie hinted at, being on the brink of going into administration is not the best background on which to attract new players to the club.
Actually go into administration, be docked ten points and spend Christmas in the bottom three and Dowie's task of 'selling' the club to his transfer window targets becomes even harder work.
Coventry, of course, might not be the only club who suddenly find themselves keeping the Canaries company through non-football reasons.
Down at St Mary's and the fact that Ranson and his partners at Sisu Capital have headed off elsewhere merely keeps the pressure on the Southampton board to come up with some answers to their own perilous financial plight.
The whole, murky position is complicated by the fact that ex-chairman Rupert Lowe is still in a position of enough influence within the Plc to veto any proposed takeover bid.
Lowe admitted to the Southampton Echo recently that “there is no point” holding talks with the London-based hedge fund, who are believed to be unwilling to alter their stance of paying just 40p a share to gain a 55 per cent stake in the South Coast club. Lowe still controls around a quarter of the total Southampton Leisure Holdings Plc shares.