I’ve always wondered what happened to the framed tenner hanging on the wall of the Rover Group boardroom, inside the Longbridge complex where, in former times, Alec Issigonis perfected the Mini.

As we reach the 20th anniversary of the infamous deal done between Rover’s then-owner BMW and the four British managers who came up with a plan to buy it for £10 and operate it, aka the Phoenix Four, I wonder this even more.

Clearly, that framed tenner wasn’t the actual unit of currency paid for the company. BMW had presumably already received that. This was a symbolic tenner, hung in their new wood-panelled management lair by John Towers, Nick Stephenson, Peter Beales and John Edwards, both to impress stray passers-by like me and as a private reminder of their extraordinary management coup.

Rover coupe static front

Later investigations show that even before the deal with BMW was cemented, the Four were planning ways of relieving the doomed business of millions – some reports claimed it was as much as £75 million – before it actually hit the buffers.

The day I saw the tenner on the wall, I’d come to Longbridge not to meet the Four but to talk to the chief executive and former production boss Kevin Howe about the parlous state of MG Rover’s press relations. Here was a company making some decent products (some freshly redesigned by BMW) which seemed entirely unable to communicate the fact.

How were media groups like ours supposed to bring these decent products to notice if MG Rover’s press relations people (whose job it was to provide a window on the company) were required to work under management orders to open it no more than a chink?