We have been here before in times of crisis and, by heavens, did the Premier League step up then. A rich man was leaving the organisation not quite rich enough! At short notice, the funds were found. Phew. Panic over.

This is what it should come down to, now the game is on the shelf and small clubs across the land are looking anxiously at their balance sheets. If the big boys could find a few extra bob for Richard Scudamore, by way of a £5m golden handshake in 2018, they can surely put aside a little for the good of the game, the pyramid.

The suspension of matches, the forced rescheduling of the sport due to coronavirus, is a considerable challenge to the game, clubs and people at every level. One thing will, though, surely survive the outbreak: the fact that football, at its highest, is swimming in money. Three weeks (at least, for who knows when things will truly resume) without matchday and commercial income will, by contrast, take a punishing toll on a number of those down the divisions and in non-league.

If ever there was a time for the elite to dig not all that deep to protect the foundations of the game – the platform for its gilded rise – it may well be coming, fast.

This isn’t a begging-bowl scenario set up to bail out the badly-run or the dubiously mismanaged. It is not a debate on how best to save a Bury or a Macclesfield. It will be a loss of earnings on a universal scale and not the fault of any owner.

A contingency fund, centrally administered and managed, might be a way some small clubs can limp through this uncertain period. In Carlisle United’s case, for all the credible recent questions over Edinburgh Woollen Mill’s silence, this may be one of those moments when you are glad to have a quiet billionaire and his firm in your corner.

If that doesn’t provide a basis of comfort in this strange time, nothing will. If the Blues prove better equipped to cope than some, there will be reason to be grateful for the source of that relief.

That does not mean, though, that it will be a doddle, far from it, and the same goes for many more who live even closer to the breadline and will already be wondering what this means for their viability, for jobs, for the future.

So those who can help, must.

It is, surely, the right decision to suspend games across the land, as the authorities did yesterday. Football is the national distraction, not to be sidelined lightly, but it would have been irresponsible to carry on and meddle so riskily with matters of public health.

Other sports joined the shutdown – except, of course, the Cheltenham Festival, since nothing, not even life and death, is more important than the basic human right to gather in large numbers and guess with money if a horse can run faster than other horses.

History, and in fact the present, may not judge that event’s continuation kindly. It is otherwise a serious and deeply unusual situation for the sporting nation, which is hard to predict – other than the fact it is going to be incredibly hard for many.

It will, one imagines, bring a little more into the light how precarious certain foundations are. The costs of staging games will not be felt but money pours out of clubs in many other directions, and one fears for the humble, the little community operations which make few headlines but without which the game is morally weaker.

It is not the job of the Premier League to subsidise everything, but considering the game is now financially imbalanced to an obscene degree, it must surely take its share of responsibility now. Mark Palios, the Tranmere chairman, this week said that playing games behind closed doors (an option so far rejected) would cost clubs £400,000 to £500,000.

Rochdale's chief executive says the immediate shortfall will be about £250,000 and it was, if you remember, that amount that was asked of each member of the glitterati when Scudamore was toddling off. In the same way that governments have the ability to find hitherto hidden pots of money when it is politically convenient, football’s capacity to locate its largesse at times stuns. It was demonstrated too, don't forget, when the top-flight suddenly wanted to buy its way into the EFL Trophy. All that cash, suddenly.

Yes, those at the very highest in football will have their own problems to negotiate. Even for the tycoons and their people it will be tricky and in some cases legally awkward. Say the season, if and when it resumes, extends beyond the natural summer end of players’ contracts. What then?

How to make the calendar work, how to manage fitness and training, how to gauge matters of promotion and relegation which, set against a viral pandemic, seem incredibly trite concerns, but still impact on livelihoods? What, in this period of loss, is insured and what is not? How do things recover organisationally, as well as health-wise? What about the vast demands and deals connected to broadcasters, the biggest source of the game’s great bubble?

There are, right now, more questions than answers. Instead of matches on pitches, football will now become a weird, temporary scene of emails, video-conferences, fag-packet maths and, one also hopes, a few reflections that there are, now and again, bigger things in this world.

There should also, in due course, be a conclusion that no club should stagger towards the wall without a sincere attempt to help. As football finance expert Kieran Maguire pointed out, the Premier League had £1.5bn in its bank account at last check. So charity should begin at home.