MARK GUTERMAN'S deal to secure Wrexham's future at the Racecourse has to some extent spiked the guns of a fans' red-card protest at the club's final home game of the season against Brighton.
Disgruntled fans had been orchestrated to express their concerns and to obtain reassurances from Guterman about his plans for the club and the ground.
Before last night, the Cheshire-based property developer, who has been at the Racecourse helm for nearly two years, had done little to convince supporters he had learned the lessons of a painful and expensive spell as chairman of neighbours Chester City FC in the 1990s.
As was the case then at the Deva Stadium, on several occasions this season Wrexham's players have not been paid on time and cash-flow problems at the Racecourse have never been far below the surface.
The fans were also worried that he had never publicly explained how or why two off-the-shelf companies with which he was involved seemingly held the key to future developments at both the football club and the land on which the Racecourse stands.
Prior to Guterman's takeover in the summer of 2002, the ownership of Wrexham FC was trans-parent enough, with former chairman Pryce Griffiths holding a 78% majority shareholding in the club.
In July 1998 Griffiths announced that he had secured on Wrexham's behalf a 125-year lease - at a peppercorn rent - on the land occupied by the Racecourse, which at that time was owned by Burton-based brewery company, Marston, Thompson & Evershed.
It was, he claimed at the time, a deal which secured the long-term future of the club in its traditional home and there was no reason to doubt that even after Marstons was subsequently acquired by Midlandsbased Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries.
In 2001 Wrexham were rocked by a boardroom split, which saw the acrimonious departure of director Geoff Farrell and, with Griffiths not enjoying the best of health at the time, he announced his readiness to seek a buyer for his shares.
The following June it was confirmed that Guterman - who had already paid several large Racecourse bills, including an Inland Revenue demand - was the new owner. But his takeover was not universally popular with fans, given his previous experience as chairman of Chester, who went into administration in 1998.
And his profession as a property developer fuelled rumours that he was set to embark on an asset-stripping mission that would eventually result in the sale of the Racecourse for commercial development.
In the absence of tangible signs of proposed investment or development blueprints, the cynics enjoyed a field day, fuelled to a large extent by the secrecy surrounding the events immediately following his takeover.
As a matter of record Griffiths' shares were bought by an off-the-shelf company, Memor-vale, whose registered office was in Manchester.
According to records lodged with Companies House at the time Guterman was named as co m pany secretar y, Manchester-based property developer Alexander David Hamilton was a director and the registered owner of the one £1 share issued was Teresa Hinde, who like Hamilton, also held directorships in a number of other property-related companies.
A month after the takeover another Manchester-based company, Damens Ltd, sharing the same address as Memorvale and with Hamilton and Hinde as named directors, purchased the freehold of the Racecourse from Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries.
The price paid, according to the Land Registry, was £300,000.
Earlier this year when a group of Wrexham supporters outlined their concerns in a face-to-face meeting with Guterman he allegedly explained it as a landlord/tenant relationship between Damens and Memorvale.
They were not convinced but until yesterday the chairman had declined to throw any further light on the situation.
Nevertheless Guterman has never made any secret of his dream to redevelop the stadium and the land surrounding it.
But he always claimed the club would remain at the Racecourse and also reap huge benefits as part of a thriving, revenue-generating development designed also to enhance the facilities currently available in the town.
Only last week a senior Wrexham County County official, Paul Roberts, said the authority was looking forward to working with Guterman and the football club.
It's not the first time, of course, that such ambitious Racecourse redevelopment plans have been mooted.
In 1988, Griffiths had outlined his hopes for a multi-million pound scheme that would have delivered an all-seater stadium as the centre-piece but that eventually came to nothing.