ADAM Rooney and the Disputed Contract – a saga even Dan Brown would have struggled to cobble together at the peak of his writing powers.

Essentially, you can sympathise with both club and player given the situation. Rooney and his agent simply got the best deal they could and now Swindon Town, under new ownership and operating a new recruitment policy, believe they are entitled to renege on the original terms.

Effectively both are victims of circumstance. One can feel rightfully aggrieved that a deal agreed several months ago is being contested, the other can feel justified in arguing against the validity of a contract left unsigned by club authorities, drawn up by a previous administration and equating to a large chunk of the playing budget.

Sadly, however, the affair being played out in a bits-and-pieces fashion in the public arena presents more questions than answers – and its general opaque nature creates further doubt in fans’ eyes as to the hows, whats and whys of the case.

As far as we know, Rooney’s two-year contract at the County Ground was agreed last August prior to his loan switch to Wiltshire. Why the club back then saw it fit to award the Irishman such a handsome deal – believed to cost Swindon around £8,000 a week inclusive of agents’ fees, bonuses, accommodation costs, relocation payments and other add-ons - before he had kicked a ball in anger is perplexing in itself, but that issue has been submerged beneath the intrigue of the developing story.

The striker is now training with Oldham and will feature in the Latics’ pre-season friendlies. It has been confirmed that he is not under contract at Swindon despite the terms of the deal negotiated with the old Robins regime being due to kick in on July 1.

Official, on-the-record comment from any side of this peculiar debacle is water-in-the-desert scarce, although Town yesterday said that they are awaiting feedback from the striker and his representative following round-the-table discussions.

The frontman is an amiable character, a hard worker and the situation can only hamper his career.

From Swindon’s point of view, there appear to be enough discrepancies in the paperwork at the centre of the matter to warrant a significant challenge.

For the club and for the player the most sensible option is to find an amicable resolution, move on and not allow rumour and counter-rumour to turn this confusion into an unmitigated PR disaster.

People talk and gossip can become damaging to fragile reputations. In this instance, both Rooney and Swindon may be justified in their respective stances, but it’s not doing either party any good.