Dundee United players had little choice but to take wage cuts in the present financial turmoil afflicting football.
While I would never criticise a player for exercising his full contractual rights, United like other clubs find themselves in a serious situation.
Deprived of a very large chunk of their income, owner Mark Ogren is pumping money into the club in amounts which he couldn’t have envisaged in these unique circumstances.
When a club like Arsenal has to take a bank loan of £120 million you know the situation in the game is grave.
The sacrifices the United players are making are tough to accept.
Players at their level earn good money, but it’s life enhancing not life changing.
There’s a tendency to lump footballers together as though they’re all multi-millionaires.
The truth is a million miles removed from that. It can be a very short career.
‘Dundee United players’ sacrifice exhibits a selflessness which augurs well for the season’
None of the players earning a living at Tannadice or at most Scottish clubs will put their feet up in retirement from the game.
They’ll all have to make a living.
So the sacrifice they’re making is admirable and praiseworthy.
It’s undoubtedly very unwelcome for them, but in making their decision it exhibits a degree of team spirit and selflessness which augurs well for the remainder of the season.
Meanwhile, Paul McMullan is making the shortest hop in British football from Tannadice to Dens on a pre contract deal.
It’s a good move for a player out of favour at United but with the pace and trickery to bolster Dundee’s squad.
He’s due to switch in summer but I think it makes sense to go now.
This situation crops up regularly and leaves clubs and fans alike with a dilemma.
A few days ago, Kilmarnock boss Alex Dyer said he would use striker Eamonn Brophy – who’s signed a pre contract with St Mirren – in training but probably wouldn’t play him because ‘he doesn’t want to be here’.
Tonight he joined the Buddies on loan ahead of his permanent transfer.
All parties have taken an honest approach to the situation, one which on balance I agree with.
‘I hope Dundee United and Dundee can come to an agreement over Paul McMullan’
It gets a player whose attentions are likely to be focussed elsewhere, and whose concentration may be affected, off the wage bill.
It also allows the signing team to get the immediate benefit of the new addition.
I hope the Dundee sides can come to a swift agreement which sees McMullan wear the dark blue as soon as possible.
It’s in the best interests of all concerned.
Watching Kieran Tierney’s scintillating performance for Arsenal in their 4-0 demolition of West Brom last week, allied to recent performances by the equally superb Andy Robertson for Liverpool, proves Scotland can still produce world-class football players.
I thought it might be many years in the future before we again saw the quality of player we once produced almost as a birth right.
I’m reassessing that view as I watch them mature into supremely gifted performers, and I’m now wondering if we can produce others with the same verve, vitality, and electric pace.
Their appetite, desire, and willingness to learn, has propelled both to the very top of the game, with even better to come I reckon.