Alchemy in reverse
It has often been said, but it's worth repeating, that football isn't a normal business and fans aren't ordinary customers.
There is no other business model outside of sport where, no matter how bad the product, the consumers will keep on buying into it regardless.
That's why they need protecting.
Football won the big battle over regulation a decade ago, when those involved in the Football Task Force, a major consultation into how the game should be run, couldn't agree on the right course of action.
Self-regulation continued, with the bolt-on of the pointless Independent Football Commission, set up in 2001 only to fizzle out eventually. In 2004, the IFC said it had appraised its role and success, concluding that its powers were "too limited to effect the restoration of public confidence in the game that is urgently required".
That was six years ago. I'm not convinced that public confidence in the game today is any higher.
Take a snapshot.
The front and back pages of the English newspapers are dominated by John Terry, Ashley Cole and Wayne Bridge.
Uefa sent up a distress flare in a report on debt that showed that almost half of the clubs it licences are not making any profit. It is also carrying out an investigation into a Europe-wide match-fixing and corruption scandal.
Now we have the demise of Portsmouth.
Callers and texters to BBC Radio 5 live have been telling us in their droves that this is a bad day for football. That must mean it's a bad day for the Premier League, too. It has been riding a constant up-escalator ever since it was formed. Well, Portsmouth have just hit the emergency stop button.
"How could this have happened to a club in the richest league in the world?" has become a topic of conversation within international football, led by Fifa themselves.
Portsmouth have become alchemy in reverse. They've put their hand into the pot of gold and turned it to lead.
How? In the simplest of terms, by spending more than they were earning.
But where have the checks and balances been in the last three years?
The Premier League is about to introduce new rules which will oblige clubs to submit more financial information. It means it should get an early warning and be able to intervene when clubs are starting to live beyond their means.
But the trend towards deepening debt has been emerging for some time and these regulations, whilst welcome, have come too late for Pompey's fans. They have been buying their season tickets and merchandise in good faith, believing everything would be all right in the end.
Some are aggrieved about the League's fit and proper persons test, which, in Pompey's case, appears to have delivered nothing of the sort. At the very least, it's a misnomer, as it was never designed to be a barometer of a potential owner's wealth nor his true intentions or motivation.
There's no doubt Pompey's case has jolted other clubs.
Hull chairman Adam Pearson described the chain of events at Fratton Park as a massive wake-up call. "It's rocked a few boats," he said. "There's a feeling that we're not just going to listen to the top four now and worry about their breakaway to whatever Champions League format they want to play in. We're going to look after the core clubs in the Premier League."
A revelation or a revolution? The confident, all-conquering Premier League persona is beginning for the first time to look a little nervous...