To slightly paraphrase the old song American Pie, the two men I admire most, without the Holy Ghost, chewed the fat with me at Dens Park last Saturday.
Five minutes craic with father and son duo Geoff and Steve Brown, former and current chairmen of St Johnstone, is never time wasted.
Between’s Geoff’s concerns that fans might not return to the game in the same numbers after Covid-19, and Steve’s pragmatic acceptance that Saints are a shop window – and that hanging on to his highly impressive manager will be difficult – time in their company always yields fruit.
Both men made salient points.
Geoff’s is the wider one.
Clubs may well have to work very hard to re-engage those who’ve grown accustomed to life away from the stands after a year of being locked out.
Where the US leads, we often follow and findings from there offer worrying portents, if not for the immediate future then for a few years down the road.
A younger generation coming up, ‘Gen Z’, are consuming their sport differently, with fewer American kids using the traditional pay-per-view model and those still engaged watching far less of it, on their mobile devices, and then only in short clips.
More alarming than their attention span deficit in not sitting down to watch an entire game, whether baseball or American football, is the fact that something like 50% don’t participate in sport and have no interest in it at all.
If that signals the future for Scottish football then alarm bells should be ringing now.
In the short term, I suggested to current Saints chairman Steve Brown that given their manager’s highly impressive start to his career, with a league cup win, a top six finish and Europe still a possibility, then envious eyes would be glancing in his direction.
I’m not implying that Callum Davidson will or has any intention of departing McDiarmid Park in the immediate future.
However, as Brown admitted, a young, articulate manager who has already proven his worth and carries the mantle with the dignity and bearing he has shown through early adversity and now success, will be a sought after individual.
Davidson won’t be at Saints forever if he continues his current trajectory – but hopefully they’ll hang on to him for a few years yet.
Hibs’ American owner Ron Gordon wants great rivals Hearts back in the Premiership.
“It’s good for football and Edinburgh – just so long as we win the derby,” he said.
Transpose those words to Dundee and he’s bang on the money.
United fans should be delighted that their neighbours are hitting the sort of form needed to clinch a play-off place back to the big time.
It’s far better that Tannadice and Dens are jammed for city derbies rather than half-empty against Hamilton Accies or Ross County.
The rivalry and the banter of United and Dundee going head-to-head far exceeds any relish in seeing the neighbours a league below.
Those running the city clubs know how important the extra revenue is to keeping the show on the road and the lights on.
Sometimes what is good for your rivals can also be very good for you.