NO football player has ever phoned a newspaper to complain about their mark out of 10 being too high.

Too low – well, that’s another matter. All of us in this business have had an angry call from someone who believed their performance deserved more than a “six: did the ugly work well”.

I once got dragged into an office to be reprimanded about a three out of 10 I awarded to a player who was a “good contact” for the particular paper I was working for at the time. His team were 3-0 down at half-time and he was hooked at the break. I think he’d enjoyed three touches of the ball. He got a mark for every touch, which I thought was fair.

Likewise, in all my time, not once has a manager contacted any newspaper I worked for to ask if we could tone down the praise for himself. Of course, a negative headline or critical piece on many occasions prompted a big wig to have a go – many times in person.

It’s part of the gig. Every one of us has found ourselves explaining to Angry of Bothwell or Frustrated from Thorntonhall why that day they were not held up as some kind of god in print.

Paul Lambert, the former Borussia Dortmund and Celtic midfielder, had a go at me once for a low mark I’d given him. He joked about it but I got the feeling he was serious at the same time. All I could think to say was: “You’ve won the Champions League; why would you care what an idiot like me thinks?”

A football star might be famous, rich and successful, but they can be awfy touchy when it comes to such matters. I’m of the opinion that you haven’t been doing this job properly if you haven’t been banned by at least one club.

For me, its been Ross County, Dundee, the Kazakhstan FA and Newcastle United. Rangers tried once but the ban lasted less than a day as I wasn’t well known enough to bother about.

Ach, it’s fun and games. And here’s a thing: as we look to come out of lockdown, as life, and football, begin to prepare for normality, the relationship between newspapers and clubs would do well to change from now on in. Football clubs and the media, and in particular the ink trade, need to work together for the benefit of both industries.

Clubs need good PR more than ever in a bid to attract punters back to the game – it is easy to fall out of the habit of going to matches – and while newspapers don’t sell what they used to, they do reach more football fans than most other mediums.

This doesn’t mean we will be all cosy from now on in. However, would it not make sense if both had their eyes on what is important: keeping Scottish football alive. If you’re not convinced, here’s something to mull over.

Hull City have banned the local paper, The Hull Daily Mail, for “negative coverage”. Hull sit third bottom of the English championship staring relegation in the face.

I read three articles which the club put up as evidence of negativity. They were critical in nature but extremely even handed and fair. Hull haven’t won a game since January 3 – find a positive in that!

What the football club should be doing is working with the local paper to get out positive messages by allowing access to the manager and players, not banning them.

If Hull do go down, they will need help to shift season tickets and get some much-needed PR out there. With the best will in the world, it’s only the local press who are going to do that for a League One club.

I’m not talking about puff pieces; more that it would be a wise move not to alienate the one newspaper that reports on the club.

In Scotland, a ridiculous amount of coverage is afforded to the game in comparison with other countries of our size. As a wiser man than myself once noted: Scottish football can be a hard watch but it’s a great read.

In a broader sense, and God knows how to fix this, we need to get the anger and suspicion out of the game. Whether it’s the press, clubs or supporters, for too long there has been a culture of mistrust.

Nobody is out to get anyone, especially at a time when clubs from the Premiership down are in serious financial bother. They need help and one of the ways to move forward is to be more open with their support.

Arguments will continue and that’s a good thing. No hack wants to be a cheerleader but neither do they see themselves as the enemy.

We all want our game to get through this. We want to see success, not wage cuts and administration. We don’t all need to be on the same page to have the same objectives when it comes to our national obsession.

We are all in this together. Honest.