Yesterday’s announcements from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon were a wake-up call for us all.
For lower-league Scottish football clubs they’ll have brought added trepidation.
In terms of the future for our sport, any planned phased return to stadiums for fans from October 5 has been pushed back.
And it feels like it’ll get pushed back a long way after that.
Purely from the point of view of football fans, it’s a kick in the teeth.
The prospect of going to see your team play again next month was a mouth-watering one for supporters who have struggled through the difficulties of lockdown.
I’ve been lucky enough that my job has allowed me the opportunity to go watch Dundee a couple of times in the past week or so.
It’s been enjoyable being back at games after so long but, with no fans in the stands, it’s a pretty soul-less affair.
The Premiership might be ticking along OK right now with the Sky Sports TV deal bringing some income. How long clubs can last on that income alone, I’m not sure.
The kick-off for the lower divisions, meanwhile, was pushed back to October 17 with the hope that fans could be back by then.
Without fans, clubs just can’t survive. It’s pretty black and white.
What happens if return of fans is pushed into next year? I can only think there will be clubs going to the wall by that point.
Season tickets and hospitality sales are vital to small clubs.
So, what happens now? There has to be some sort of lead taken by the SPFL.
Surely most clubs will have projections for their financial futures, whether they’ll have normal attendances, restricted attendances or empty stands.
I’d bet the empty stands one doesn’t last too long before there’s some serious debt incurred.
I can’t see streaming games online on pay per view bringing in anything like clubs get for the real thing either.
As much as it’s about the football, going to the stadium on a Saturday is a social thing – and we can’t even go round each other’s houses to watch the games together anymore either.
The SPFL now has to look seriously at what’ll happen should they plough on regardless with the restart of lower-league football on October 17.
Clubs will be alright for a short while with games behind closed doors but what happens if the return of fans gets pushed back again and again until we’re well into next year?
I can only think there will be clubs going to the wall by that point.
And that’s why the SPFL should be seriously examining their plans – what is the point in starting the season if it kills clubs?
Hopefully, we get some positive answers in the coming days.
It looks pretty bleak right now, though.
There are plenty of strange goings-on behind the scenes in football.
Occasionally we get wind of things. And certainly the affair over Nadir Ciftci to Dundee in the past week has been a strange one in my book.
Not least to hear there was a possibility it might happen.
When I heard that my initial thought was ‘great player to sign but this’ll set the cat among the pigeons’.
Boy, did it.
A favourite at Tannadice, the story certainly annoyed Dundee United fans.
A villain at Dens Park for having a chomp of Jim McAlister’s leg back in 2015, it infuriated some Dundee fans.
Others just saw the player and what he could bring.
There’s where my thoughts lie – what a great signing Ciftci would be.
The word was he was out of the picture with his Turkish team but then he played at the weekend. They might now have decided they want to keep him after all.
Whether it happens or not, what Dundee have shown is plenty of ambition.
They are going after some real talent this summer.
Questions should be raised at Old Trafford over the meek defeat to Crystal Palace over the weekend.
Granted there has been very little time between seasons and I was happy to give Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the benefit of the doubt over the 3-1 loss – but then I saw Man City look just fine and dandy in their win at Wolves.
City only had one more day since going out of Europe than United.
Man U were so far off the pace, though, it was painful.
It was disappointing not to be able to head up to Cove Rangers last night for Dundee’s friendly.
Not just for the game but because Balmoral Stadium is the only league ground I’ve never been to.
The wait goes on for No 42. . .