Horse-trading between players, directors and agents get down to brass tacks to either sort out an improved deal or decide that that is that and it's time to seek pastures new.
Of those who depart, some leave with good wishes, others are not missed while a select few are mourned as if they had joined the choir invisible itself.
That latter category is of course, the club legend.
Every supporter, no matter who they follow, has seen a favourite leave their team and have them weeping into their respective pillows as if Bambi had been run over by the miserable neighbour from next door.
Celtic fans were crestfallen when Kenny Dalglish went south to Liverpool. No crumb of comfort came with the big fee.
Those who follow Hearts know this routine well. The fans of the 1930s had to see Tommy Walker move to Chelsea, Dave Mackay move to Tottenham in the 1950s and Alex Young to Everton the following decade.
Come the 1980s, the Gorgie faithful would be lamenting the departure of another legend - John Robertson.
The striker had been integral to Hearts' phoenix-like rise from the ashes when staring liquidation in the face, the club bounced back to get themselves back into the top flight and challenge for honours.
Robertson's goals played a key role to all of this. However, even though he had been scoring goals by the bucketload, frustration was creeping in and with it came itchy feet.
Despite his efforts for Hearts, Robertson had been continually overlooked for Scotland selection. With Dalglish's retirement from the international scene, no one seemed to be prepared to step up and fill his boots. Brian McClair and Graeme Sharpe failed (and would continue to fail) on the big stage, Frank McAvennie could not (and did not) add to his debut goal, Steve Archibald's game was shot while Mo Johnston was having a love-hate relationship with the Scotland blazers which characterised his national team career as a whole.
The goals flew in for Robertson during season 1987/88, but the blazers ignored him for national service. It had been suggested this was because he did not play for one of Celtic or Rangers but in other positions on the park, Hearts players such as Gary Mackay, John Colquhoun and Henry Smith were being capped.
Nevertheless, Robertson felt that he had to move on to a bigger stage. The drive along the M8 might have been an option. After all, Rangers had enquired about him before and then-manager Graeme Souness was known to be an admirer. Maybe with some justification as it took him a good three seasons to find a player to partner Ally McCoist up front (Mo Johnston) after trying the likes of Colin West and Mark Falco without much success.
However, there was interest from elsewhere. Ajax had made enquiries as did Tottenham Hotspur. The attraction of a different stage was lucrative and it would take Hearts to dig deep to keep him. Something chairman Wallace Mercer was not prepared to do.
"There was never going to be a scenario where I was prepared to offer John a huge deal in order to persuade him to sign another contract with us. The fact of the matter was that if I'd done that for him, then I'd also have been duty-bound to make similar offers to our three full internationalists" - Wallace Mercer ("Heart To Heart: The Anatomy Of A Football Club", 1988)
With extra cash in his pocket, Mercer feared that Robertson might slip into a comfort zone in more ways than one.
"It could have been that John thought he was more special to us than I regarded him, and, although it wasn't the deciding factor in the matter, John [had] a problem with his weight. That is something which [went] along with his physical make-up. Our worry was that in the event of securing a highly attractive contract with us over the next three years, the motivation might not have been there on John's part to keep his weight under control. When you're talking about a forward who needs to be both sharp and mobile, pounds rather than stones can make a difference" - Wallace Mercer ("Heart To Heart: The Anatomy Of A Football Club", 1988)
What always concerned Mercer more was how many beans Hearts had to trade with and he was not in any mood to give Robertson and his agent Bill McMurdo the full can.
The negotiations that transpired do indicate that maybe a move was being engineered by the agent who no doubt saw a decent percentage heading his way. Mercer revealed that McMurdo demanded a signing-on fee of £100,000 and a wage rise to £1000 a week. The Hearts chairman was not about to cough up.
"Whatever Robertson and McMurdo [said] to the contrary... their manipulation of the popular press was putting pressure on us and could be seen to be causing problems in the dressing-room. The one thing we [had] at Tynecastle that I would do everything in my power to preserve, and that I [would] not allow to be broken by outsider interference, [was] our sense of togetherness" - Wallace Mercer ("Heart To Heart: The Anatomy Of A Football Club", 1988)
Robertson's strike partner John Colquhoun was having a fine season himself and had clubs from down south taking a look at him as well.
However, Colquhoun was not exactly in a hurry to leave and was content to stay on. He had agreed a new contract with Hearts in the new year of 1988 but had agreed to keep it quiet as Mercer felt it would be a good marketing move to announce it in the summer of that year when the new strip was to be unveiled.
But according to Mercer, as the Robertson negotiations dragged on and became uglier, Colquhoun let it be known that he wanted his own new deal announcement be made public before the intended time as he wanted the Hearts support to know he wanted to stay on and was happy to do so. Mercer agreed.
In the meantime, while Ajax and Tottenham were testing the water with regard to a possible transfer fee (Hibs made a surprise £300,000 offer which Mercer laughed out of town), Newcastle United, under manager Willie McFaul, were about to put a cheque on Wallace's table.
With the Magpies committed to selling their star man, Paul Gascoigne, for a then-British record fee of just over £2,000,000, they had cash to play with and were looking to rebuild their side which had also lost Peter Beardsley to Liverpool 12 months before.
Wimbledon duo, Dave Beasant and Andy Thorn were signed for £850,000 each and John Hendrie was snapped up from Bradford City for £500,000. With the goalkeeper, defender and midfielder respectively all bought and paid for, one key piece was missing from the jigsaw - a striker.
Mercer took a call from Newcastle chairman Gordon McKeag who offered £750,000 for Robertson. This would undoubtedly be the most Hearts had (at that point) received for a player. However, that alone wouldn't have made them sell. Two years before hand, Everton made a similar offer for defender Craig Levein that was knocked back - however had they come back with an extra £250,000 to make it a cool £1,000,000, Mercer might well have said, "when's the cheque coming?".
But given how tense the negotiations had been, Mercer was wanting his problem child gone - regardless of how many goals he had brought to the table, team spirit was at risk of disintegrating the longer the situation was dragged out. Hearts fans were upset but not to the point of boycotting as season-ticket sales that summer were better than they were 12 months previously, despite the sale of the star player.
"Given the money Newcastle [paid] for John, they... [expected] a star, and I have to say a shiver went down my spine when Willie McFaul described the player as the new Kevin Keegan. John [had] many attributes, the significant of which [was] his ability to score goals, but it seemed to me an unfair burden on the lad to draw comparisons with a footballer of quite a different calibre" - Wallace Mercer ("Heart To Heart: The Anatomy Of A Football Club", 1988)
While they may not have had legendary teams since the FA Cup winning days of the 1950's and the side of 1969 that captured the Fairs Cup, Newcastle supporters can at least claim their have seen individual players of top class calibre. The aforementioned Keegan, Gascoigne and Beardsley. Chris Waddle, Malcolm MacDonald, Wyn Davies, Len White, Jackie Milburn, Hughie Gallacher... the list goes on.
With the cash received from Gascoigne's sale being spent on four quality signings that included Robertson, expectations were raised. While not expecting to topple the then all-conquering Liverpool, a decent league finish and lengthy runs in both cup competitions were seen as being real possibilities for the Magpies.
Problem was, and has been for many a year on Tyneside, while there were players of quality on the park, it was in short supply in the dugout and McFaul was found wanting.
Having a good squad is one thing but getting it to gel is another and that Newcastle side didn't.
Robertson had already had a setback before the 1988/89 season started after being afflicted with hernia trouble. It would dog him on and off for the next 12 months.
Even if this had not occurred, Robertson was a striker by trade, only for his new boss who compared him to Keegan to forget that as he got it into his head that his signing from Hearts was a left-winger.
McFaul was trying a system where the Brazilian, Mirandinha, would play as a sole striker with Robertson and Hendrie on the flanks. The latter was more accustomed to this role but for a penalty-box forward like Robertson, this was not ideal.
What didn't help was McFaul not coaching bad habits away from his two acquisitions from Wimbledon - Beasant and Thorn. The duo had played their part in the south London minnows' meteoric rise to the top flight which culminated in them famously winning the FA Cup against the odds in a 1-0 win over Liverpool in 1988.
However, Wimbledon's achievements came about from a well-drilled long-ball game. When you have the likes of a towering giant like John Fashanu playing up front, it can work.
Beasant and Thorn however, were allowed to continue with what they knew and when in Newcastle colours, both proceeded to launch high balls as if they had never left Wimbledon.
With Mirandinha, Robertson and Hendrie having a collective average height of 5ft 7in, they had no chance in winning headers against the 6ft 4in plus gorillas that were marking them.
If McFaul realised this, he was too inept to do anything about it. His attackers were too small to go for long balls and Robertson was certainly not a left-winger. Hernia-troubled or not.
Many of the black and white faithful, not having seen much of Robertson play beforehand, felt him to be an expensive dud and got on his back not realising that his manager had hung him out to dry by playing him out of position. It didn't help that Newcastle got off to a foul start and found themselves bottom of the league.
Meanwhile, back in Edinburgh, Robertson's old team were missing him. Iain Ferguson had been signed to replace him but for some reason did not see eye to eye with manager MacDonald. Rumour had it that in a forerunner to Vladimir Romanov's antics, Mercer had signed the striker from Dundee United behind MacDonald's back.
Eamonn Bannon had also been signed but despite going well in European competition, Hearts were stuttering in the league. One week they were struggling to get a draw at St Mirren only days later to become the first British team to beat Austria Vienna on their own patch.
Time had allowed Mercer to put the rancour surrounding Robertson's departure under the bridge. However, the cash received from Newcastle had gone. Ferguson and Bannon had already been bought and approaching December 1988, a deal had been done to sign Dundee left-back Tosh McKinlay. Hearts would have to dig deep to buy the prodigal son back.
Newcastle meanwhile had sacked McFaul and replacement Jim Smith was not interested in involving Robertson, who had not even scored a competitive goal for his new club, in his plans and proceeded to include him in the squad as a mostly unused substitute.
Early in December of that year, Hearts flew out to the Bosnian city of Mostar for the second leg of their third round Uefa Cup tie against Velez having built up a 3-0 lead at Tynecastle. One notable absentee was Mercer who told BBC Scotland that he had stayed behind for "reasons that will soon become known".
Behind the scenes he had been in talks with Edinburgh fruit and veg tycoon, Ramez Daher. The deal the two struck was that Mercer would fork out £700,000 to Newcastle (which the Magpies agreed to despite losing £50.000 on the initial deal) while Daher would fund the £400 a week shortfall to make up the £1000pw that Robertson had wanted from Hearts earlier that year but was now getting from Newcastle.
Would the wee man come back? Too right he would.
As Hearts fans flew back from the now former Yugoslavia having knocked out Velez Mostar 4-2 on aggregate and in doing so, booked a last eight tie with German giants Bayern Munich, word quickly got round that Robbo had returned.
The joy that greeted this news seemed to take precedence over the club reaching the furthest they had done (and have not done since) in European competition.
"And of course this day marks the return - and a second debut - of a player who in my opinion should never have left this club" - BBC commentator Archie MacPherson at Hearts v Rangers, December 1988
One cannot imagine Terry Venables being daft enough to play a penalty-box striker as a left-winger and Robertson would undoubtedly have thrived off the service provided by the more skilled Gascoigne and Waddle instead of the hoofball merchants that had arrived at St James' Park from Wimbledon.
Maybe had the Ajax move come to fruition it might have worked out better for him there - although one suspects the Scotland blazers would have ignored him as he would have been off their radar (believed to end at the tip of their noses) had he been based on the European mainland.
However, he ended up back at Hearts. His persistent hernia trouble continued to bug him on and off for the rest of the season. Once he recovered from that, he was back to his old self and knocking in goals for fun. He would eventually receive recognition of his existence from the Scotland set-up after Mo Johnston banished himself into international exile when he threw a hissy fit following the national team's humiliating failure in the 1990 World Cup.
As for Newcastle themselves, time was a great healer and seeing what Robertson had done since leaving them to go back to Hearts made them realise that there were mitigating factors as to why things did not work out.
In 1992, Hearts staged a testimonial match for Robertson. The opposition? Newcastle United. The Geordies travelled up the A1 to Tynecastle in great numbers and along with their Jambo hosts, sang Robertson's name with loud gusto.
Despite having been unable to do the business when he was in the black and white, the Magpies' support knew fine well what Robertson had done in maroon.