Banks must invest trust in Scottish clubs
Scottish football needs help from the banks - and it should be given. But there has to be a cost.
With Dundee United the latest club to admit that they need help from the bank, the plight of the full-time clubs in particular is grievous. However, the debt problem afflicts clubs of every shape and size.
Many have been paring back their expenditure for a few seasons now and are trying hard to live within their means.
They've been caught cold, though, with the collapse of Setanta.
Having budgeted for income that has suddenly been withdrawn, they are struggling to pay off debts rashly accumulated in a period of fiscal insanity a few years back.
That has a cascading effect right through the game and down to the lower leagues.
The banks have had substantial taxpayers' assistance themselves and many of them have shown greater profligacy than our football clubs. So it would be rich of them, having been saved by taxpayers money, to tighten the noose and threaten clubs that are the focal point of communities all over Scotland.
Football needs a break just like every other business needs a break. The banks are in a position to give them that break. The quid pro quo for the game, though, has to be the solemn and binding promise that it will live within its means from now on.
And the bulk of clubs have been trying to do exactly that in recent times.
Fans have a huge part to play in the new reality that Scottish football must grasp.
There needs to be a more realistic view when it comes to demands for new and big signings - and a bit more patience as managers try to build squads instead of calling for the manager's head after few bad results. All that does is cost their clubs money that could be better spent elsewhere rather than on compensation.
But some managers and directors too have to be braver. Clubs have to give youth a chance and directors have to give managers who give youth a chance a chance themselves.
The worst financial mistakes are hopefully behind the game. It would be ironic but also very dangerous for any bank to put clubs under unbearable financial pressure while honest attempts are being made to sort out their problems.
Jim Murphy, the Scottish Secretary, has made representations to the bank over the financial problems presently facing Rangers. He needs to knock heads together, call for a meeting of all concerned parties and make sure that all of Scotland's clubs are given a fresh chance of a fresh start.
With former First Minister Henry McLeish's new and reportedly radical proposals to reshape the Scottish game due in January, this is the perfect time to save and then reinvent our national sport as fit for purpose in the years ahead.