Talent drain turns focus on Scotland's youth
Aberdeen losing Richard Foster to Bristol City demonstrates what Scotland's top clubs are up against in trying to retain their better players.
Foster's rebuke that any Championship side could win the SPL may be wide of the mark but there is little doubt that the clubs in that league operate in a different financial world from all but the Old Firm here.
The Dons have a far more illustrious history than the Robins, with a European Cup Winners' Cup and Super Cup in their trophy cabinet.
But Derek McInnes's new side had an average crowd last season of 14,604 compared to 9,071 for the Dons.
Bristol meantime, has more than twice the population of Aberdeen.
Hearts, our third best supported club, last season pulled in 14,184, a figure topped by a whopping 21 clubs in England's Football League, never mind the Premier League.
Bristol City boss Derek McInnes has been recruiting in his native Scotland
Neighbours Hibs were watched by an average of 11,755, a figure on a par with Preston North End and Barnsley.
Dundee United's 7,389 is in the vicinity of teams such as Oxford United, Brighton and Bournemouth.
Motherwell, who pulled 5,254 through the gates on an average basis, compare with Southend United and Exeter City.
There are many English sides in the lower leagues who by virtue of population base can trump all but Celtic and Rangers, when it comes to attendances.
Those crowds, coupled with television revenue, equate to income levels that SPL clubs cannot hope to match.
In Scotland, we have historically lost top players to England but in recent times the torrent of talent flowing over the border had dried up to a trickle.
It appears that the previous order could be restored. If so what does that mean for Scottish football?
It would seem that youth will be the way forward more than ever before for all of our clubs.
That and a judicious use of the loan system appear likely to be our lot in the future.
The scenario though, presents opportunities as well as disappointments.
While it is galling to lose top talent to England, if clubs handle players' contracts properly, decent transfer fees should be made, helping to bring through the next batch of promising talent.
It might also lead to more adventurous football given the nature of youth: assuming that is, that coaches do not try to curb their natural expressiveness.
With more Scots playing at a higher level down south, our international future might also be brighter than once feared.
It is a real scunner to see top Scots players leave our best league to play in England, but in football money talks as it always has done.