Part-time football poser for Scottish clubs
Sometimes in life there is an undeserved stigma attached to working in a certain profession.
In football terms, it seems that being part-time is a tag that some in the game would prefer to avoid.
For example, in a season where more clubs are suffering severe financial problems there is often a quote from someone within the respective club announcing that the situation is so bad that they may have to go part-time.
Furthermore, although Raith Rovers' defeat at Dunfermline on Sunday makes promotion more unlikely, they could have arrived in the SPL with - to the horror of a few - some part time players!
To begin with, there are undoubted benefits to being a full-time professional football player, in terms of your game development and the subsequent success of your club.
The preference for all players and clubs to have this status is a given, but what of those who sit on the cusp of being full-time: are there ways in which to move to being part-time without fear of being held in lower esteem?
I believe there are, and these will be ways in which clubs will have to explore if they are to protect their future existence in an economic sense, but still give themselves the best opportunity of producing a winning team.
For example, most of our part-time players will hold jobs away from their club and train twice a week in the evening in preparation for a match day.
Rather than be happy with this almost accepted arrangement, could more teams not seek to offer players more employment, training and education opportunities through board members, associates and sponsors of the club?
Such a relationship between a club and local businesses could facilitate more training sessions during the week and even during the day as working or training hours were structured to allow this.
The benefits to a club in this sense could be fitter, better players and could result in players enjoying far longer spells at clubs as they benefit from employment in two areas thus leading to greater continuity within a squad.
Furthermore, the presence of many more players working in the local community may help generate an increased affection for the team as supporters feel a true association with those playing for the side on matchdays.
There is no doubt that there has been an erosion of the ability of an average fan to relate to players, but this could possibly reverse the trend and result in increased attendances and increased revenues.
I acknowledge my opinion on this is perhaps much more difficult to implement in reality and would be dependent on the desire of a club, players and many other individuals to develop such a set-up.
However, if you cast an eye across the North Sea and examine the success of some Scandinavian clubs in having this type of infrastructure then there is proof that it can be done.
The success of our top clubs and international side will always be based on our ability to retain a good number of full-time sides, especially those who are constantly looking to push the boundaries of their professionalism and produce top players.
However, what about the many sides who underpin this side of the game?
Why not look to bridge the dramatic gap in training routine from full-time to part-time football? Why not create a new environment where players can strive for progression as a player but can also work, train or be educated for a better future outside the game?
Part-time football does not have to an unacceptable phrase in Scottish football. In fact, for some, it could just be the best way forward.