Ten years ago this week, arguably the darkest day in Dundee’s history dawned.
After months of murmurings and signs all was not well behind the scenes, news broke the Dark Blues were to plunge into administration with reported debts of 23 million.
What followed were some of the saddest days for the city’s oldest professional club, with 20 players and coaching staff seeing their contracts terminated without a penny being paid by way of redundancy.
Several office workers would also pay the price, though the main media focus was on big-name stars who’d lost jobs.
Their number included Italian superstar Fabrizo Ravanelli, Scotland international Craig Burley plus fans’ favourites Georgi Nemsadze, Fabian Caballero and Juan Sara.
Previous exploits meant those high-profile performers were able to find employment elsewhere.
Others were not so lucky.
For some, that day in November 2003 when manager Jim Duffy took on the task of passing on the bad news was life-changing.
Among them was a young midfielder, Gavin Beith.
Until that moment, he was a boy living the dream.
A fan from birth, he’d grown up in Fleming Gardens, literally just yards away from Dens.
Having trained with his favourites from a young age, he admits he was more than happy to leave school at 16 without any qualifications and become part of the club’s youth set-up.
At that level, he’d play in a BP Cup Final and, despite the array of highly-paid foreign stars signed up from 2000 onwards during the Ivano Bonetti era, he managed to force his way into the first-team squad.
In a handful of performances under the Italian, Beith did enough to suggest he had a future as a full-time pro.
Duffy’s arrival as manager would see him farmed out on loan to Peterhead but he remained optimistic about his future.
A few words just days after admin was confirmed changed that.
“It really was a case of a dream come true for me,” said Beith, now 32.
“Football and Dundee were my life.
“Living where I did, my mates and I used to use the front door at Dens as the goal when we were playing football in the street.
“Dundee offering me a contract was all I wanted.
“I never thought of doing anything else and by 2003 I was earning decent money and doing something I loved.”
Then everything changed. While he prefers to remember the good times, the day he was axed remains a vivid memory.
“The administration thing had been announced and on the Thursday or Friday we were told we’d be given news early the next week.
“I suspected I was in trouble.
“I was out on loan, so I sort of figured I’d be one of the ones to go.
“It was still a horrible moment when the manager told me.”
And though Beith genuinely bears no animosity towards the club, he believes what happened had a huge affect.
“For a while, probably longer than I remember now, I was a lost soul. One minute I was a full-time footballer, the next I was on the dole.
“I’d just got a puppy and I took it for a walk after I left Dens that day.
“I was in a daze, just wandering and the poor dog didn’t know what was happening. Looking at how it affected me longer-term, I played part-time after Dundee at Brechin, East Fife, Arbroath and Forfar.
“But, in all the time since, I’d say there was only a couple of months when I played like I could.
“What was my life became a hobby. I still love the game and work in it but I don’t play at all now.
“If you’d have told me that 10 years ago, I’d never have believed you.”
Beith found it hard to go back to Dens and to this day is not a regular.
“I have to say because I kept playing and am still involved in coaching there have been lots of times when I couldn’t go even if I wanted to.
“And Dundee’s still the score I look for first. In the last 10 years, though, I’ve only been up twice.
“The second occasion was to watch a youth game just months ago.
“For about the first 18 months, I couldn’t go. I didn’t want the memories coming back so I stayed away.
“I still see some of my old team-mates from time to time but it would be wrong to say I’m close to any of them.
“You just drift apart over time.”
Despite that depressing picture, when he looks back he does remember the good times.
“I prefer to be positive and remember how good most of my five years were.
“People talk about the Bonettis and the period Caniggia was there but for me the best was during my first couple of years.
“Jinky (Ray Farningham) was our coach and we had a good youth team with a great set of lads.
“We reached a BP Youth Cup Final and I’m proud of that.
“I’d much rather think about that than how it ended and in a way it was the making of me.
“I’ve now got my youth licence and I’m working with the SFA East Region.
“It’s great and I see myself staying in football for as long as I’m working.
“That’s certainly my plan but after Dundee I don’t take anything for granted.”