Craig Gordon went from Celtic to Hearts.

Kevin Nisbet and Alex Gogic have gone to Hibs. Jonny Hayes left Parkhead to head back up to Aberdeen.

The latter will defer his salary at Pittodrie for a year but even so, at some point he will be owed a sum of money and will expect – rightly – to be paid for his services. The differentiation between a wage deferral and a salary sacrifice is worth bearing in mind.

Dave Cormack has been clear in just how deeply the economic impact of Covid-19 cut at Pittodrie with the Aberdeen club haemorrhaging eye-watering amounts of cash every month. At one stage, Cormack suggested that he would be as well setting fire to £1m in the car park every month such was the money that the club was disappearing out of the club. The most recent estimate would suggest a loss of £10m that Aberdeen have had to cope with.

At the very beginning of this public health crisis, Hearts threatened to suspend players who did not agree to wage cuts as they sought to stay afloat. They went so far as posting their account details online in order than their support could appreciate the financial complexities of surviving during what has been an unprecedented time.

Hibs, too, asked players to sign up to a long-term wage deferral scheme with the cuts going far deeper than the dressing room. Coaches were made redundant and the club’s Academy system is the subject of persistent rumours regarding its immediate future.

Players all over the country were furloughed.

It is not just in Scotland, either. South of the border Arsenal players agreed to wage cuts – similar talks at Chelsea stalled because the club wouldn’t save enough money with the sums that players would agree to – yet there have been big money signings and contract renewals; German striker Timo Werner cost the London club a cool £40m.

Such figures are as well being quoted in monopoly money for all the relevance it has to the Scottish environment but the ultimately the message behind it is the same; clubs seem to have no moral quandary about publicly pleading poverty – and urging supporters to dig deep to pay up for season tickets for games they have no idea when they will have access to - and requesting players take salary cuts while also then going out to spend money on players.

Hearts agreed compensation to Dundee United to get Robbie Nielson into the club, have signed up Gordon and are still believed to be on the hunt for a director of football. Last night they attempted to pip Hibs to the signing of Nisbet with an offer that is believed to be have been financially more lucrative than their city rivals.

On the other side of Edinburgh, Leith owner Ron Gordon told Hibs TV on June 22nd that the Easter Road club would need to “rightsize its operation to the reality” and went on to praise the players for the “spirit” that saw them buy into wage cuts at the club. It came on the back of the previous week in which Gordon spoke of the ‘unsustainable’ financial strain on the club as they navigated their way through the ramifications of the Coronavirus.

If the players contributed to sustaining the financial health of the club in times of severe uncertainty, one does wonder how they react to news of signings coming in. There is always a certain fragility to the politics inside a dressing room. And publicly saying one thing while spending money will only be tolerated for so long without someone questioning why their salary has been sacrificed while money exists for other signings.

It is wrong to make the assumption that there would be resentment among players about new arrivals; players are smart enough to know that better players enhance the squad and enhance the prospect of higher league positions and cup runs and the win bonuses that can go alongside an elevation in quality. Ditto supporters who spend these months scanning social media and newspaper feeds for any gossip of prospective new signings into their club.

But the contrariness of appealing for backing while also spending money will surely fester among those in the real underbelly of the club, the ones who largely go unseen and unnoticed as they wash kits and stock canteen cupboards but for whom the likes of a 20% wage cut is keenly felt at the end of every month.


Cricket is more popular on these shores than coverage would suggest, but I cannot count myself among the sport’s admirers.

However, it was difficult not to be moved by the interview that West Indies cricketing icon Michael Holding gave to Sky Sports this week. It was an eloquent, intelligent and deeply personnel as he broke down while considering the racial prejudices his parents were subjected to, as he delivered a powerful message about the everyday undercurrents of racism that exist.

If there has been suspicion in some quarters that the Black Lives Matter movement is something that has been paid lip-service to by those in prominent posts, Holding’s articulate commentary offered real pause for thought.

It did more to further the cause than any flags or pins or badges could do. And for those who doubt the validity of such experiences, the stories are everywhere and all carry substantial shock value.

Kevin Harper and Christian Nade spoke eloquently this week about their experiences in Scotland and what the reality of being a black footballer has been. It most certainly does not make for comfortable listening but it is vital for ears to be open, no matter how long the words may take to sink in.