IT’S not the fact Sheffield United are no longer flush with cash that surprises me.
But that some people seem genuinely surprised.
Out in the real world, the one inhabited by those of us with mud rather than magic in our boots, folk adjust their lifestyle according to income.
Not so on Planet Football where even if revenue streams run dry, it’s regarded as a mark of complacency or, heaven forbid, even a lack of ambition if you don’t spend, spend, spend.
Need a new centre-half? Get the bloody cheque book out.
Don’t like the coffee in the training ground canteen? Do exactly the same.
Forget that fact that failure to comply with new measures could result in a transfer embargo or, even worse, the de-registration of players.
New financial legislation, particularly the Salary Cost Management Protocol, has not only changed the footballing landscape but also the dynamics of the debate about how our lower league institutions are run.
Or has it?
Some of Bramall Lane’s staunchest critics - and those elsewhere - don’t seem to have grasped the fact that, even if they wanted to, directors can no longer gamble.
Rummage around in the pockets of their sharp suits for a few spare quid to fund a signing.
Relax the manager’s budgetary constraints or quietly loosen the purse strings and hope no one is watching.
Rules limiting league members to spending a prescribed portion of their total turnover on player wages have removed huge swathes of the decision making process out of the boardroom and spirited them to FL HQ instead.
They’ve also placed greater pressure on coaching staff to make fewer mistakes when it comes to transfers.
Recruitment is not an exact science. Clangers will always be dropped.
But, just as one of UEFA’s more worthwhile campaigns should hopefully encourage owners and custodians to be more responsible, if they promote similar virtues in the bootroom then surely that is also no bad thing?
There have been some wonderful examples of where a little imagination and inventive thinking has proven to be just as valuable as millions in the bank.
Compliance with the governing bodies’ new measures is likely, not least in the red and white half of the Steel City, to mean short-term pain.
It could also, again at United, bring long-term gain.
Trouble is, no one in this game is used to hearing the word ‘no.’
Supporters and members of the media who discuss five, six and even seven figure deals as if they’re worth a few pence.
Those managers still refusing to accept they must follow the laws of the market as well as the beautiful game.
Directors who deny their previous displays of largesse have contributed to its poor image and parlous state.
Arguments about whether United have used their money wisely in the past are, for the purposes of this argument, irrelevant.
This is all about dealing with the here and now.
Wising-up and getting real.