Mason Greenwood versus Manchester United affair puts football's morals in the spotlight - Stuart Rayner comment
A few weeks into the new campaign, Newcastle Vipers would have sussed out which new signings were not up to the job, sack them, and in most cases, send them home.
It was brutal, but in the low-budget world of British ice hockey, not uncommon.
More than a decade on, it still happens, just less frequently.
The players know the score and sign up to it.
Sackings for football players - especially the best-paid ones - are very rare, and unlike for managers, performance-related sackings, as they were in ice hockey, almost unheard of.
If a football club decides a player is worth a lucrative long-term contract only to realise it has made a mistake, tough.
One might question why Maguire wants to stay where he is clearly not wanted but if he really believes he can get back into the first XI, just clings to the fact he played in all 11 of England's matches last season and decides it is worth hanging around, and/or cannot find anything better, then that is his right.
Where it becomes more difficult is sacking players for gross misconduct.
Because we all know that when the time comes to pass judgement on that, money becomes a huge factor, if not the biggest one - especially the higher up football’s food chain you go.
Money would never have been far from Manchester United’s mind when deciding the fate of Mason Greenwood but they would have known had they sacked him, they would be writing off a transfer fee for one of the most exciting young attacking talents in European football.
That should never come into it, but is the reality, sadly.
To be clear, Manchester United decided the Bradfordian was not guilty of the horrible sexual crimes he was initially accused of - quite a bold claim to make without a proper trial after the legal case collapsed due to key witnesses withdrawing their cooperation - but it has been "mutually agreed" according to the club that he misbehaved enough that it is better he plays his football elsewhere.
Whether that means he is loaned out, still on the club's payroll, sold or paid off will depend on the tectonic plates of football’s billion-dollar transfer market, not morals.
The drawn-out, cack-handed, leakier-than-a-sieve, faux-sympathetic pantomime surrounding United’s handling of the Greenwood case has brought football's morals into the wider consciousness again and as is usually the case when that happens, they smell a bit off.
Leeds United face a similar, if far less serious dilemma, with Willy Gnonto, whose offence has been to make himself unavailable for the last three games.
It goes without saying it is a million miles away from what Greenwood is alleged to have done but the Whites view it seriously enough to have launched an internal disciplinary process. It is not, though, seen as a sacking offence, as refusing to work would be for you or I.
Having very successfully faced down similar situations with Emi Buendia and Todd Cantwell at Norwich City, Leeds manager Daniel Farke might be hoping he can begin rehabilitating Gnonto when the transfer window closes on 11pm on September 1, and the whole thing blows over.
Even if he accomplishes that, winning back the fans will be a tall order for Gnonto. Certainly if it was up to many of them, the striker would simply be shown the door but on Tuesday it emerged Gnonto is being "reintegrated" into a squad he had been ostracised from.
When a player is worth tens of millions of pounds, Leeds would be mad just to sack him.
Maybe it is time for that mentality needs to change.
Maybe we need a system where when a player is sacked for gross misconduct - as decided by some independent Football Association panel, not clubs with vested interests - the next club to pick up his or her registration - because there invariably is one - has to pay some sort of transfer fee based not on the player's full value, but a part of it (they are, after all, damaged goods).
That way clubs who owned the player would still take a hit, but less of a hit.
Even then there will be compromises and dubious judgements. It could be argued that a few of our leading football clubs are, after all, PR vehicles for some of the most morally reprehensible regimes on the planet.
But football needs to try to get away from the situation where taking a moral stand against what is not right is not a monumental act of self-harm.