The great Bill Shankly would not have wanted his words to have been taken literally.
The legendary Liverpool manager and proud Scot’s quote may be one of the most famous in all sport but you can be confident he didn’t actually believe it himself. After all, one of his great traits was concern for his fellow men and women.
“Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I don’t like that attitude. I can assure them it is much more serious than that.”
Shankly’s words were uttered in more innocent times, when the beautiful game so loved by him was not facing the real and serious threat it is today.
The sport knows its place and it is way down the priority list as the coronavirus pandemic threatens actual lives both at home and abroad.
That makes it seem almost ridiculous, then, to raise an issue that had seemed important a few days ago but now looks almost trivial.
However, my job is writing about football and how it affects the fans from Courier country and beyond who love their teams and are today wondering what will happen next.
Therefore, I tentatively argue that the Scottish football season must be played to a finish, even it that means running into what should be the 2020-21 campaign.
This week, all international matches should be put in cold storage and the priority given to the domestic game. If that means summer football or even going into the autumn or winter then so be it.
To declare this season null and void is not an option and it is a scenario, I believe, that the authorities will have filed under “very worst-case scenario.”
Dundee United can’t be allowed to play 28 fixtures, have a lead of 14 points but somehow be robbed of the Championship title and promotion.
Likewise, in the Premiership, it is surely inconceivable to say to Celtic that they will not be allowed to, eventually, be crowned winners of the top flight.
Legal action would, without a doubt, greet such moves.
It is also unacceptable to say the season has been cut short, fix the league positions and deprive Dundee of the chance to go up via the play-offs or, for example, relegate Hearts when they still have eight matches outstanding, including five post-split fixtures against teams in their half of the table.
Supporters, with some justification, moan about the big wages being paid out to those running the game in Scotland. Well, those officials like SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell and SPFL boss Neil Doncaster will have to earn their salaries in the days ahead.
Football is definitely not a matter of life and death but it is still important to our nation and society.
Facing an unprecedented challenge from COVID-19, the decision-making has to proceed with care and wisdom, with justice seen to be done.