Aberdeen board need to back McGhee
The Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne needs to dig deep to help Mark McGhee strengthen the current side.
That much is evident after a Dundee team, which has seen substantial summer investment, deservedly knocked the Dons out of the Co-operative Insurance Cup.
McGhee admitted his side's defensive performance was shambolic, while Pittodrie legend Joe Harper has accused the players of lacking the bottle for the big occasion.
Now chairman Milne must find the cash to allow his manager a fighting chance to compete in the Premier League.
Dundee splashed the cash for Leigh Griffiths and Maros Klimpl. Both players were apparently on the Dons radar, but proved too expensive for their budget.
Griffiths striking prowess knocked the Dons out of the cup, while midfielder Klimpl has the kind of bite not seen at Pittodrie since the days of Neale Cooper.
And the man who provided the funds to bring those players to Dens Park, Calum Melville, is a multi-millionaire life-long Aberdeen fan based in the Granite City.
Before the current recession, Milne had an estimated worth of £500m, and while a few quid may have since been shaved off that figure, there is surely still enough in the kitty to give Aberdeen fans a glimmer of hope.
Without cash to spend, McGhee will have to fight with one hand tied behind his back to compete with Dundee United, Hearts, Hibs and Motherwell, never mind posing a threat to the traditional Old Firm dominance.
The late Dundee United chairman Eddie Thompson threw half of his personal wealth at trying to rebuild the Tannadice club, and while a fair chunk of that money was spent unwisely, he understood that personal commitment went with the territory of being chairman.
Milne is worth perhaps twenty times what Thompson was, and while chucking money at a football club is not a long-term solution, sometimes it is a short-term necessity to stabilise the side and push them forward.
In the long run the Dons need to produce their own talent through their youth ranks and scouting system.
And youngsters Peter Pawlett, Michael Paton and Chris Maguire all outshone their more experienced team-mates after coming off the bench at Dens Park.
However, as the economist John Maynard Keynes said, "In the long run we're all dead".
So, when the transfer window opens in January, the Aberdeen chairman needs to ask himself just how deep his commitment to his club and manager goes.
If he can't or won't find the money to give McGhee a chance to rebuild the squad, the Dons fans are likely to stay away in increasing numbers, further limiting the straitened budget available to the boss.
McGhee enjoys legendary status among the Pittodrie faithful, who are willing to cut the new man some slack, but they are fast running out of patience with those at boardroom level.