So Charles Green is to challenge the right of Rangers to play in English football through the courts. He ascertains that the current restructuring of Scottish football does not act in the best interests of his club. I ascertain that it is not meant to. Agree or disagree with what the SPL and SFL are currently proposing, it is their belief that it is for the good of ALL of Scottish football. It is not designed to be to the benefit of a single club and nor should it be.
An equal playing field that promotes sportsmanship and fair competition is what all should be aspiring towards. Green only wants money and feels Scotland is not the best playing ground for his entrepreneurial skills.
Of course, this is not the first time we have heard rumblings from one side of the Old firm (a discussion on the merits of the old firm still existing is for another article). Both Celtic and Rangers have constantly been trying to find their way into the English league structure over the last few years. Citing Cardiff, Swansea and Wrexham’s existence as a precedent they can use to this end. I shall dispel this right here, as there was no Welsh league at the time they entered and thus it is a Football League for England and Wales, not Scotland. Now, Green wishes to challenge this and has the backing of Eoghainn Maclean, an expert on competition and commercial law with the Ampers and stable of Advocates in Edinburgh. MacLean states that Rangers could claim a Bosman style ruling that can see an exodus of Scottish clubs into the leagues of our southern neighbours.
Rangers and Celtic feel they cannot grow in the SPL, doomed to play as the big fish in a little pond and then find themselves all at sea as they swim into the vastness of the Champions League. Unable to compete against the big clubs of Europe, their plan is to seek a more lucrative arena to play their weekly on field trade. Rather than work with the “diddy” teams they currently share the pond with in order to enlarge their surroundings and find ways for the domestic game to prosper, their intent is to pimp themselves to each tier of the English pyramid system. With Green’s current eyes set upon the Blue Square Premier.
My first thought? Let them go. How many times have you heard someone affiliated with Celtic or Rangers say that the league would not be what it is without them? Well, they would not even have a league without the rest of us. I’m sick to the bone of them belittling our game and condemning it as poor quality that damages their chances of success in Europe. Their constant childlike griping is derisory to the rest of us and is born out of greed. The views of Green and Lawell are not built around what is best for our game, whether it be in Scotland or elsewhere but purely on what will make their clubs more money. Can you blame them? I guess not, football is a business like it or not and thus doing what’s good for their business is their job. Would the loss of their revenue and TV pulling power hurt us? Yes, financially at least. However, from a business point of view, the condemning of our national league must hurt sponsorship deals or discussion on TV rights. Not to mention that the effort they put into finding ways of jumping ship, should it have been used in bettering our game from grassroots up, would mean we would never have reached the dysfunctional miss we currently lie in.
So, what would life without the ‘Old Firm’ mean for the rest of us? Less TV money, smaller sponsorship deals and… well that’s about it really. Clubs would in the short term have to cut costs no doubt but in the long run they can prosper. Investment in youth is already paying dividends for the rest. Debts are being reduced for the most part yet crowds are abysmal. Many reasons can be attributed to this, high cost of attending a game, the increase in the number of people working regularly on a Saturday among others. However, for me the biggest problem is the lack of competition. Celtic and Rangers moving south would certainly change this. Currently 8 points separate 2nd from 2nd bottom. With that level of competition and the chance of European football, surely crowds would flock back and offset the loss of income from Old Firm sell-out crowds. Without their self-interest dealings in keeping the status quo – just in case they don’t fly the nest and without the rest pandering to these cash cow teams – they could look to create a game worthy of the fans who shell out hundreds of pounds every year. It’d be hard work, but the rewards could be more than anyone had imagined.
We don’t need vast amounts of money to have a game; there will always be more profitable leagues. Yet, starting from scratch with a truly level playing field we can create a buzz and build from the grassroots up. As always England will be the destination our better players dream of heading to, but with the transfer fees befitting their talent we can use the money to make the game even better. Personally, I’d prefer them to stay and for everyone to work together and give the fans the game they deserve. If they do depart our little pond then it does not need to evaporate into the heavens but rather have a shining light shone upon it turning it into the beautiful game it was always meant to be.
Dundee United "supporter" who is tired and grows restless, wishes he had stormed the Bastille. Ranting is a sport I can get behind.