Looking at the figures a decade on, it’s hard to imagine how Dundee survived administration in 2003.
According to the accountants placed in charge, a club with an annual turnover of just 3 million was faced with debts of almost eight times that.
For administrator Tom Burton, that made Dundee’s the most precarious predicament of any financially strapped club he’d been called in to save.
If a single story tells why what looked the impossible was achieved, it comes from George Knight.
He was one of those thrust into the limelight through his association with what would become the fans’ trust Dee 4 Life.
“The first game at Dens after administration was formally entered and the cuts to the staff had been made was a League Cup quarter-final against Hearts.
“We won thanks to a Bobby Linn goal on an emotional night and it was also the first time we got the buckets out to raise cash.
“As well as what they’d paid to get in, the fans put 14,000 into the buckets as they were going into the ground.”
Amazing as that figure was, for Knight it was one anonymous gesture that brought home the strength of feeling among Dark Blues fans.
“As we were counting up the money after the game, one of the guys handed over a brown envelope.
“He said a pensioner had come up to him outside the ground, gave it to him and asked for it to be given to one of the organisers.
“We opened it and there was 500 inside.
“I had a lump in my throat because for all we knew that could have been all the money the old guy had.
“He didn’t leave his name or want any recognition.
“We tried to track him down to invite him to the boardroom as a thank you but he never came forward.
“All he wanted was to help save his club. I felt then that if there were people out there with that feeling, we had a chance.”
He was proved right as fans raised staggering 500,000 in just a few months to stave off the threat of immediate closure.
As amazing as the response from punters was, Knight candidly admits a mistake by Burton also added impetus.
“After looking at the books and seeing how dire the position was, Tom Burton wanted to sell Dens and ground-share with Dundee United.
“That news coincided with a derby at Tannadice and there was a boycott by Dundee fans.
“Burton wanted me to go. I told him no and my feeling was if Dundee did move it would lead to the death of the club.
“I believed it would be better to let the club die with some dignity than let it move and suffer a lingering death.
“I think the fans felt the same way because the suggestion of going to Tannadice really seemed to have a galvanising effect.
“Things really got going and that effort to raise half-a-million was amazing.”
Not that Knight, who along with the likes of Scott Glenday, Fraser MacDonald and others, was instrumental in the forming of Dee 4 Life and would later become a club director, believes it was plain sailing from then on.
Looking back, he feels some could have conducted themselves better and has less than favourable memories of the administrators’ performance.
“Dundee was saved by the ordinary fans and to be fair to (owners) Peter and Jimmy Marr they did what they could.
“They held up their hands for putting the club in the position it was and never walked away.
“I remember them selling a car park at one stage to get money in to keep things going.
“I have to say there were some organisations and people who could have acted better.
“As is still the case, there’s a lot of politics connected with Dundee and too many factions.
“Time after time, there were situations where people who could help wanted to know what was in it for them or didn’t want to work with certain other people.
“There could have been more compromise because what was most important was the club, not groups or individuals.”
If that’s a bad memory, the situation left by the administrators leaves him angry.
“Dundee came out of administration in the summer of 2004 and still had debts of 13m.
“In a year, we were down in the First Division and that saw turnover fall to around 1.5m.
“If you do the sums, a debt of 13m with that kind of income is not any better than 3m turnover with a debt of 23m.”
That explains why, despite some ups and downs, the club has been in the second tier for every season bar one since 2005.
But so long as fans remain committed, Knight hangs on to the belief one day Dundee will be re-established in the Premiership.
“I don’t hold with the metaphor we’re a sleeping giant but well over 4,000 Dundee fans have turned out for the last two home games.
“After nine years of mostly First Division football, that’s remarkable.
“I worry we might have lost a generation of supporters but, so long as there are that many people willing to support the team, it can get back to where we believe we belong.
“And when I look back 10 years, it’s with a sense of pride about what the supporters did for their club.”