Onders - 8:26 pm on Jun 23, 2011 (gmt 0)
Could you actually then do a 410 for a certain amount of time (enough for it to be de-indexed by Google) and then after lets say 3 weeks put a 301 redirect on it. The page URL can ultimately still be there (it's just had a 410 status header but info etc is still in the DB).
Links will still be pointing to that page, but benefit may be reducing due to 410, but if you then do a 301 it should already be unindexed, plus you may then get some benefit to another URL.
Not sure if this logic follows - once again, thanks for the input and your thoughts!