IT'S an anniversary that presumably escaped the attention of the vast majority of Newcastle Knights fans, but not the club's former chairman, Rob Tew.
"It was the same night as my wife's birthday, so it's not a date I'm likely to forget," Tew said with a chuckle.
Ten years ago this week, on March 31, 2011, Knights members voted overwhelmingly in favour of allowing self-made tycoon Nathan Tinkler to privatise their club.
They say time flies when you're having fun, but with the benefit of hindsight, the Novocastrian faithful might also note ruefully that time flies during a lean run.
And few clubs in rugby league history have endured a run as lean and demoralising as the Knights over the past decade.
It's been an era that would have seemed inconceivable on that momentous night at Newcastle Entertainment Centre, when 97 per cent of the club's voting members endorsed Tinkler.
No sooner had the ballot result been announced than a trademark New-cas-tle chant reverberated around the room, and those in attendance headed home in jubilant mood, convinced that the Knights would soon be entrenched among the NRL heavyweights.
Expectation continued to mount exponentially after master coach Wayne Bennett signed a four-year deal with Newcastle, followed by a host of high-profile recruits.
Before a ball had been kicked in the 2012 season, Newcastle were installed as premiership favourites.
If only we'd have known how this would play out.
Barely three years after his takeover, Tinkler was essentially evicted by the NRL, who by now were well aware that the Knights' debts were spiralling out of control.
Bennett bailed out and rejoined Brisbane Broncos at the end of the season, having steered the Knights into one finals series in his three seasons at the club.
That 2013 campaign, when the Knights finished seventh and survived two do-or-die play-offs to reach the preliminary final, was the ultimate false dawn.
Within 12 months, Tinkler and Bennett were gone, and the NRL were forced to step in and bankroll the Knights on an interim basis for the next three years.
In the process, the most loyal and parochial fans in rugby league had to endure the ignominy of three successive wooden spoons between 2015 and 2017, including a 19-game losing streak.
No club had plummeted to such a low ebb since the now-defunct Gold Coast Seagulls from 1991-93.
It wasn't until NRL management convinced the affluent Wests Group to take over the Knights in November, 2017, that long-suffering fans could again dare to dream.
Even under Wests, while the Knights finally appear to be financially secure, on-field success has been a slow process. Finishing seventh last season broke a seven-year finals drought, but a 46-20 hammering from South Sydney promptly put that into context.
Watching on with interest have been the two men who brokered the deal with Tinkler - including the pivotal $20 million bank guarantee - Tew and former Knights CEO Steve Burraston.
Both agree that the Knights are finally in a good place.
"I'm glad the Knights are where they are now," Tew said.
"They're well funded, part of a good organisation [Wests], and they're making advances ... the only thing that's a bit sad is that they could have been aligned with that organisation much earlier.
"They probably should have got to that point in the first five or six years of the club's existence."
Burraston described the Wests takeover as "the best thing that has happened to the Knights for some time ... it appears they're finally on their feet and doing well".
In saying that, he maintained that had Tinkler not appeared on the scene, as a self-proclaimed "sporting philanthropist", the Knights could have survived as a community-owned club, despite their perennial cashflow issues.
"The club's debts were accumulated over a long period of time," Burraston said.
"It was a bit over $2 million, over 22 or 23 years. But the things that gave me confidence were that we were striking some pretty good sponsorships, and also that the NRL grants were going to increase significantly.
"I think we could have survived."
Tew was not so sure.
"The board at the time, we were investigating alternative means of funding the club," Tew said.
"Nathan Tinkler wasn't in our plans, but he turned up on the spot, at that time.
"Given that we were already looking at alternative funding, I think that shows how concerned we were about the long-term future of the club."
The bottom line is Tew and Burraston are relieved that they still have a team to support.
Heavily criticised for driving a hard bargain during their negotiations with Tinkler, their wariness was validated once the "Boganaire" eventually revealed his true colours.
These days, you might catch them in the crowd at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Their passion for the Knights has never wavered, and they are delighted the club is in safe hands. Even if it took a little longer than expected.