When Airdrieonians Football Club were finally forced out of business a couple of months ago the media attention was naturally focussed on the great disappointment felt by individual fans who had lost their team. The plight of another group of Airdrie supporters, the small business suppliers owed money by the New Broomfield club, was given less prominence.
It deserved more. Airdrieonians were far from the being the only football club to benefit from the patience and understanding shown by tie designers, stationary suppliers, blazer manufacturers and all the rest of these small concerns. Anyone who doubts that many of Scotland's football clubs are not far behind the Diamonds in the struggle to survive would soon change their mind if they saw the frequency in which the names of Scottish football clubs appear on suppliers' lists of outstanding debts.
It's a picture that won't surprise most sensible supporters. The transfer system which sustained almost all of Scotland's football clubs, including Clyde for 125 years, virtually ended with the Bosman ruling and despite considerable efforts by the clubs no combination of new initiatives has yet completely filled that income gap.
The result is that prudence, well practised by Scottish Junior FA clubs, has finally been adopted by their senior brethren yet despite the evident need for severe belt-tightening some fans still don't appear willing to face reality. 'There are hundreds of unemployed footballers out there, why hasn't the manager signed some new players?' was the early June plea from the Clyde representatives of this unrealistic faction.
Two reasons spring to mind, the obvious one being that perhaps the Club has no money. In fact Clyde manager Alan Kernaghan does appear to have a limited close season shopping list. The delay in signing could be for the most practical of reasons; at a time when little or no money is coming into Clyde (or any other club for that matter) it makes no sense to pay players in June when they're not playing or even training.
I'm sure it's great fun going onto website message boards and posting wish-lists of players that Clyde should sign but such people would be better spending their time writing letters to papers publicising Clyde's Gist-sponsored youth development programme or trying to talk more people into buying £20 Clyde season tickets. The day-dreaming days in Scottish football are over - just ask the people who are trying to keep our clubs afloat.