DREAMERS, the delusional and the utterly daft. Those are the creatures who all-too-often populate and run the world of Scottish football.

And of course, these club owners, chairmen and managers have to contend with the consequences, which is the football club, the players, the ground are booted in the direction of insolvency.

That’s the theme of new football-based comedy play by former Herald journalist David Belcher and insolvency practitioner Bryan Jackson. And such is the appetite for the pie and Bovril game in Scotland, it seems certain The Pie Man Cometh will play to packed houses.

Belcher, who had a previous football theatre play success with 1993’s Partick Thistle Football Crazy, explains why he came to look at the game from the perspective of the club on the brink.

In recent years, he says the world of Scottish football has been ravaged by threats of closure to clubs. Fans have become all to familiar with terminology such as insolvency and administration.

“Large clubs such as Rangers and Hearts have come close to the edge,” says the writer. “Smaller clubs such as Gretna have gone down. And the idea was to take this notion of the end of a small club to create a dramatic narrative for a comedy play.”

Belcher’s central character in the play is an insolvency practitioner. “The play is based on the real-life experiences of Bryan Jackson and the central character Alan Ledger is loosely based on Bryan. He adds; “I say ‘loosely’ because Bryan really knows what he is doing. In his time he has saved seven clubs from extinction including Dundee, Dunfermline, Motherwell, Clydebank and most recently, Hearts.”

Alan Ledger is parachuted in to save football club Dunweary FC, who play at Midden Park. They are hours away from closure unless Ledger can work his financial magic and make the club bosses face up to reality.”

Belcher adds, grinning; “This may not seem the most likely basis for a comedy play, but it’s fair to say Bryan has come across some strange situations in his club-saving career.”

Bryan Jackson underlined how the problems of saving a football club can be underlined by the importance given to a meat and pastry treat.

“You go in and try to save and club but come up against people who want to talk about the person who supplies the pies,” he says, with a wry smile. “And this sums up the insanity of Scottish football. The pies really should be irrelevant but of course they are not.”

The comedy in the play emerges from drama. And what could be more dramatic than a club with an immense tradition, being part of a community, about to have the air let out of its ball for good?

“Yes, that’s true,” says Belcher, smiling. “And when you add to that some of the characters who run the club you realise it’s a world all too often linked with self-delusion, misplaced notions of grandeur and often irresponsible behaviour.

“The recurring theme in clubs who find themselves in financial trouble is to spend more money in the hope they can buy themselves out of trouble. But that of course is madness. And this comedy features the type of people who find themselves running a football club.”

He adds; “Just because someone runs a taxi business they think that’s the ideal experience to bring to a club. But it doesn’t work out that way. In fact, it all goes horribly wrong.”

The play doesn’t simply focus - or blame - any one figure at the club. It brings in the assorted media figures, the manager, the chairman, the backroom staff, the loyal club servant and a couple of players.

Featuring Callum Cuthbertson, Gavin Jon Wright, (who plays practitioner Alan Ledger) and Julie Coombe, it offers the opportunity to explore several themes; when a club goes to wall, those who have depended upon the team, such as local businesses, lose money. The affection directed towards Scottish football, this innate belief that clubs should continue even when laughing in the face of the telling bank statement, is misplaced. Darwinism doesn’t apply to soccer.

“Which is good in a way,” says the writer, “because you don’t really want a town’s name to be knocked off the Saturday results round-up on the telly. Clubs play a huge part in a community.

“However, there’s another message in the play. The only real asset any club has is the fans’ love. Clubs tend to forget that. But it’s been shown, for example, that Hearts and Rangers fans still packed the stadia even when their clubs were in financial despair.”

Bryan Jackson agrees, but adds; “Fans don’t organise plans to save a club until a crises comes. There is a certain romance attached to the idea (of rescue) but the reality can be different. At Motherwell, for example, we had to let 19 players go. And it was seen as inhumane. It was insane. Yet people had to be made to understand they had to have a slim-down club – or no club.”

Manchester-born Belcher is perfectly placed to write a play about a small club’s determination and drive to succeed, to survive.

“I was a Manchester City fan, growing up,” he says. “And I’ve been a Partick Thistle since the end of the Eighties. City back then were a struggling club in the English second division and when I came to Glasgow I lived in the West End and came to support Thistle, another struggling club.”

Belcher began his career in journalism as a football reporter with the Sunday Post. “I was sent more often than not to Thistle games, and I later went on to report on football for the Herald.” He adds, grinning; “My writing style was such if I had been let loose on Celtic or Rangers games there would have been hell to pay.”

He still has a Thistle season ticket. “And I still go to away games,” he says, beaming. “The pain and the suffering is part of it all.”

There’s a nice symmetry in director Frank Miller’s casting. Callum Cuthbertson and Miller himself both featured in his first football play. But why has Belcher so long to come up with a football follow-up?

“Well, I have written four other plays but they’ve yet to go into production,” he says, smiling, in hopeful voice. “Sometimes you have to produce plays yourself and we’ve done this, with the backing of insolvency firm Gerber, Landa and Gee.” He adds, grinning; “We’re calling ourselves Insolvent Productions, which tickles Bryan greatly.”

Belcher’s hope is the play will run at the Edinburgh Festival. “I hope to make fortunes and then buy Partick Thistle and turn them into the Manchester City of Scotland,” he says.

Yes, and why not. Football is all too often about dreams.

The Pieman Cometh: A Cautionary Football Tale, Oran Mor, March 18 - 21.