The haves and have nots. The rich and the poor. Leagues across the world have them and the Danske Bank Premiership is no different.
Money keeps the ball rolling, but the playing field isn't level and the million dollar question is will the current financial gulf become even greater?
It's one of the rules of football. The wealthy prosper more than the rest and while there's precious little fairness about it, this is a business we still cherish.
Our top Irish League clubs are embracing a full-time culture, with two of them, Glentoran and Larne, supported by wealthy owners Ali Pour and Kenny Bruce.
Linfield are adopting a full-time model and Crusaders have a three-quarters professional set-up. There's nothing wrong with that approach as long as the finances are there to sustain it. It's about raising standards which we all aspire to achieve.
Some players can pick up attractive wages and even a handsome signing on fee, even after clubs have been highlighting considerable losses during this pandemic.
And it would be wrong to criticise any player for chasing the dollar when most of us would switch jobs for a bigger salary somewhere else.
A footballer's career is short and this game can be ruthless, particularly at top clubs where the expectation levels are greater. A contract can be signed until 2023, but a manager or player will only be at the club in 2023 if his level of performance is good enough. The pertinent question is how much of a destabilising effect on the league will there be if a few clubs get richer while the rest aim merely to survive and dream of a rare day in the sun? For clubs like Ballymena United, Cliftonville, Coleraine, Glenavon, how can they remain competitive on the pitch and in the transfer market?
Despite the annual discussion of a wide-open title race, Linfield are the biggest animal in this jungle and only an extraordinary team can bring them down.
In the last 20 years the Blues have been placed outside the league's top two on only four occasions. That includes Portadown's triumph in 2002 and Glentoran in 2003.
The whole point of Linfield's five-year plan, incorporating full-time football, is to make them bigger and better. That's ominous for the rest of the league.
In one-off games the league's wealthier sides can be floored, but the bigger picture is that those clubs can attract top players and assemble bigger squads.
Through the shrewd management of Stephen Baxter, a talented group of ambitious players and the loyal support of fans, Crusaders showed that remarkable progress can be made without a wealthy benefactor.
And Cliftonville tasted title success in both 2013 and 2014 with a special group of players guided by the late Tommy Breslin, but the landscape has changed following significant investment at Larne and Glentoran.
The Irish FA will drive their Cup competitions, but the money that flows into the game comes from Uefa and the fight for European places is intense.
At the heart of that fight is the risk that some clubs might not have the financial power to dream big.
Will a few clubs mop up the European places and league titles? Can teams like Cliftonville, Coleraine, Ballymena United, Glenavon and Portadown challenge for the title?
An already uphill challenge has got a whole lot steeper.
And a penny for the thoughts of clubs outside the Premiership who feared this pandemic could kill them.
Coleraine striker Curtis Allen's career has been disrupted by injuries, but he did get a taste of the professional environment at Bournemouth and Inverness.
"I think life will get harder for the less wealthy clubs," said the former Linfield and Glentoran ace.
"With clubs going full time, it makes a difference in a league when there are a lot of games like we have experienced this season.
"Boys are working while other players are training and recovering in the right way.
"You want the league to be more professional and we didn't have these resources 10 years ago. From Coleraine's point of view, we have to work that bit harder because we are underdogs against full-time sides.
"At the moment clubs are transitioning into full time and you might not see the gap yet, but over the next few years teams who are normally in the bottom half of the table could be further behind. Clubs like Coleraine need to spend wisely. There will be players who don't want to go full time and perhaps clubs can mop up some good players who don't go for the full-time offer.
"I've heard talk of wages and signing on fees. There are good incentives for players and it's part of the game, but not for every club. The lure of full-time football is very real. You can't criticise a player for wanting financial security.
"I've been a professional footballer in England and Scotland and it's fantastic. In most leagues you see the bigger clubs offering bigger wages and how can you change it?"
Former Fifa vice-president and Irish FA president Jim Boyce says he has been surprised at some of the figures he has heard in relation to signing on fees and players' wages.
"Some of the signing on fees and salaries are unbelievable figures," said the former Cliftonville chairman. "The very good players are commanding, in my opinion, exceptional fees for Irish League football and some of the money I've heard bandied about is considerably more than what they would get if they were playing in Scotland or the lower leagues in England, if that's true.
"Let's be honest about it. It's becoming more difficult for clubs to win a league championship with the money that is being invested by owners in others.
"In the Irish League we never had people who owned football clubs. In my long time in this game clubs were run by supporters.
"Wealthy people are now buying into clubs and I have to say Kenny Bruce has done a magnificent job because he has invested in the facilities as well as the team and both are equally as important. Glentoran seem to be investing heavily on the playing squad and while money doesn't guarantee success, it can help. But you can't run an Irish League with three or four clubs, you need a competitive league.
"Clubs, to their huge credit, are still competing while living within their means.
"If the full-time clubs continue to invest and qualify for Europe then the financial gulf will widen, but I can't criticise the Larne project because I like to see investment in facilities as well as players."
Coleraine chairman Colin McKendry says the Bannsiders have mastered the art of remaining competitive without going full-time.
"You can get freak outcomes like Leicester City winning the Premier League, but teams that usually win league titles are those with the biggest budgets," he said.
"That's been the case in Northern Ireland too. Coleraine are still competitive, but we are a million miles away from being full-time. We don't have the structures in place or the financial resources to do it.
"It takes years to put that in place. Players and coaches have two jobs. Going full-time is a completely different set up. We are close neighbours of Derry City and for many players they found it a better financial option to be a part-time player and have another job rather than go full time. That may sound defeatist, but we would require massive amounts of money and sustained European funding to change our structure. Should we put the club at risk by gambling on European football?
"Larne missed out on Conor McMenamin and I respect their decision to stick to their business model. Other clubs like ourselves are a bigger distance away financially and I would have fears in the long term. If the financial gulf widens you don't want to see a league of two or three tiers.
"I take my hat off to clubs that are raising the bar, but I don't want to see clubs left behind.
"We have seen clubs over extend themselves to compete with others and that can lead to trouble. We don't want history to repeat itself.
"We do have financial regulations and these issues can be revisited. We have to be very careful about how we control competitive wages within the game.
"There could always be better controls and that's not me being disrespectful to anyone. It's like anything in life, there is scope to tighten procedures and make sure things are done correctly."
The Premiership Management Committee made the decision before the start of the season to remove the Salary Cost Protocol.
The Northern Ireland Football League's current financial regulations are embedded within their league rules and regulations.
Financial regulation is supported through criteria laid out in club licensing.
Glenavon defender Sean Ward, who won league titles and Irish Cups at Linfield, Glentoran and Crusaders says the full-time models reflect a desire for success and he cannot criticise it.
"There is a financial gulf but I can't be critical of full-time moves because clubs will invest and however they spend their money is up to that club," said Ward.
"Money doesn't guarantee success. In my opinion some clubs have signed better than others.
"It's about standards and opportunities for young people who want to further their career in the game. I'm glad I'm 37 and this is happening now because I've been a school teacher for 14 years and I don't have a choice to make. Success costs money. If a few clubs are regularly pocketing the European money the gap will become wider, but as harsh as it seems this is men's football and it's survival of the fittest.
"All that matters in this game, at a certain level, is winning and that's why clubs are going full-time. I can't knock that ambition. I love that, but the potential downfall is that those clubs will dominate our game. Either the infrastructure within the game changes or clubs just have to find a way of competing.
"The way Larne have developed their full-time programme is very impressive, I'm a big fan of it and they are giving young players opportunities while also investing in the community. Kenny Bruce is creating opportunities for people and I think that's great."
Carrick boss Niall Currie must feel like he's the poor man looking through the window of a posh restaurant while wealthy rivals tuck into a lavish meal.
"The reality is that there is a financial gulf which is only going to get wider," said Currie. "All we can do is the best we can with what resources we have and our players are not found wanting when it comes to spirit, hunger and desire.
"There are leagues within our league and the challenge for clubs such as ourselves is to win those mini-leagues by performing well against your nearest challengers, but over a full season, the full-time clubs are at a different level."
Glenavon have lost many players to the full-time game, with one of their former heroes Rhys Marshall now at the Glens.
Chairman Adrian Teer says: "Provincial clubs, with Larne being the obvious exception, face a difficult challenge. Having said that, the performances and results indicate the less wealthy clubs can provide a strong challenge. Our league is no different than those throughout the world where money dominates.
"I don't think you can criticise an Irish League footballer who wants to try full-time football.
"But not too many clubs can afford to spend big money on just one player."
Clubs are businesses and still have to balance their books but the flow of money from commercial operations and gate receipts is uncertain, particularly post Covid.
Those who live in the shadow of financial giants have their work cut out, on and off the pitch.
Our most successful club's motto is 'fortune favours the brave'.
A much more noble thought than 'fortune favours the rich.'