Gambling is an epidemic that has infected football.
I make no apology if that sounds melodramatic, because I really fear for the future of our game if we fail to address a disease that has spread to all levels of our profession.
To read, during the week, of pounds would have shocked many.
But it wouldn’t have come as a surprise to those inside the game, who have recognised for a while now that gambling is a disease that has become increasingly virulent.
Gambling has always gone hand in glove with sport.
And, while I don’t have a bet even when I have a day out at the races, I don’t have a problem with people who like to try to beat the odds.
But footballers possess the two things that make them easy prey for bookies, who have made placing a bet as easy as pressing a button on a smartphone: plenty of money and lots of spare time.
It is a match made in hell.
Footballers have always looked for ways to help them cope with the pressures that fame and fortune brings.
And, while I understand why most people find it hard to be sympathetic to young men who earn £100,000 a week when there are families out there struggling to put food on the table, these fellas need help.
Their lives are about competing. Every day, in training, they are up against their team-mates for a place in the manager’s team.
And, every weekend, they put themselves on the line in front of 50,000 fans in the stadium and millions more watching on television around the world.
Believe me, it is a stressful existence.
Some players used to use alcohol as a crutch to help them cope.
But the levels of fitness that footballers need to achieve these days makes it impossible for them to spend their mornings on the training pitch and the afternoon down the pub.
So, we shouldn’t be surprised if some now find their escapism by taking on the bookies.
The temptations have become even greater in recent years, as gambling has become such an interactive experience.
If you are watching a Premier League game live on TV these days, the first advert that is screened at half-time urges you to place a bet on the next goal or the final score.
The game is awash with money at the moment.
And, while clubs do have programmes that are designed to educate young players about the dangers of evils like drink and drugs, I am not sure we are doing enough to address the problem of gambling.
PFA chairman Clarke Carlisle has had his own battles with alcoholism and gambling and anyone who saw his brilliant BBC documentary Football’s Suicide Secret, could not have failed to be moved.
Clarke does a sterling job in his role with the players’ union, but his experience and expertise makes him the ideal man to put into place safeguards for future generations of players.
Clarke has walked the walk.
Now let’s help him talk the talk by putting into place the kind of finance required to develop proper education initiatives.
What’s the alternative?
All I will say is that we are being naive if we believe English football can be immune from the match-fixing problems that have plagued the game in other countries.