While the darker side of human nature might lead some in the Championship to view Plymouth Albion’s financial troubles as offering a potential reprieve from a tortuous relegation battle, it would take a pretty twisted individual to wish ill on such a proud oval-ball institution.
If the Brickfields outfit lapse into administration they could be hit with a 30-point penalty, 20 in the regular season and ten in the play-offs, and that would effectively be an Advance to Go card for the other sides in the bottom four.
That fate will hopefully be avoided. They have raised £130,000 of the £250,000 they need to make it through to the end of the season and the local newspaper, The Herald, has backed a campaign to find the rest.
The effort is being spearheaded by Plymouth chairman, Dr Graham Stirling, someone I have not met but who is always well spoken of by other Championship clubs.
However, while I wish Plymouth all the best in their work, I cannot support Dr Stirling’s call for the RFU to increase its funding of the Championship from around £320,000 per club to £1 million.
To me that would be financial madness. First of all, it is a hugely debatable point whether the RFU have a moral right to hand any of their member clubs’ money to other, already better-resourced outfits.
All across the country there are committee men who rightfully ask why they should pay their subscriptions and memberships only to see them passed to the very same Premiership and Championship clubs who have lured their promising young players away.
But that is merely a theoretical argument, let us deal in practicalities.
Surely the end-game in professional rugby is to have the maximum number of self-sufficient businesses, capable of generating income streams and using these to pump funds into the playing side.
If that brings Juan-Martin Hernandez to your club, then fantastic, if it brings a lower-profile fly-half, so be it. Spend only what you have.
Raising the current funding level would only perpetuate the culture of dependency that exists in the upper echelons of the sport. The baby must be weaned off the breast, not suckled even more, otherwise we will end up in Little Britain territory where Harvey is still being fed by his mother despite being a fully-grown man.
Increasing the funding would be a ludicrous approach and start a financial arms race in which agents demand and clubs offer more for the players they already employ.
This is the last thing Plymouth need.