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Old Firm departure would be ruinous

Chick Young | 11:51 UK time, Tuesday, 21 April 2009

They are, I see, attempting a remake of the Great Escape.

The Old Firm are poised to attempt to tunnel out again but it will all end in tears, as grisly a mess as poor Steve McQueen on his motorbike.

It is a weary debate, but if they go they will have the blood of the Scottish professional game on their hands. Not that, I suspect, huge swathes of their support - blinded as they are with a love of Ireland and England and a loathing of the Tartan Army - will care.

mcgeadybroadfoot446.jpgWhat a divided little nation we are. And we are about; it seems, to be sliced once again.

Rangers and Celtic have been flaunting themselves to the English Premier League for some time now, like two old tarts promenading a beach in Blackpool or Benidorm.

But the truth is that they have had more knock-backs from the neighbours than Derek Riordan has had from bouncers in Edinburgh.

But I'll tell you this; the get-on-your-way-it-will-be-a-better-place-without-you brigade has no idea of how serious the situation really is.

Celtic and Rangers' departure to the south would leave the Scottish game with its throat cut... because in the real sense it is not a departure at all.

God isn't going to reach down from heaven and transport the pair of them to new homes in Milton Keynes and Chelmsford. They will still be right here soaking up the media attention and the television money.

And the game they left behind won't just be a backwater: it will be a puddle.

A more competitive championship, I'll grant you, but pub dominoes can be that.

I wish it were different. Too true I do. But too many have been brainwashed.

I attended a voting lunch this week to decide on the Clydesdale Bank manager, player and young player of the year and there were people sat round the table who clearly had a problem with a non-Old Firm player winning the award.

There is without a shadow of doubt an agenda in this country which warms to Celtic and Rangers. It is not a level playing field, it never has been.

The Old Firm got rich on reasons that had nothing to do with football and for decades the two of them milked the great divide.

The current custodians at Parkhead and Ibrox have done much to drag sections of their support kicking and screaming into the 21st century, but they still have a baggage about which our English friends may be gloriously naïve.

Here's the truth. It is not always joyous with the Old Firm about the place but life would be much worse without them.

Do we seriously believe that the clubs they left behind - with no television interest or newspaper coverage worth the description - would raise enough of the folding stuff to attract players capable of giving us the moments Rangers and Celtic have brought us in European competition?

It's Saturday. St Mirren are playing Kilmarnock. Eight miles up the road Rangers are at home to Manchester United while in London Celtic are visiting Chelsea. So the spotlight is where?

It's Buckingham Palace versus a Wendy House and there is not a media organisation worth its salt which won't recognise where the audience is.

John Boyle, who should be too busy planting grass seed to comment, nevertheless made a fair point when he said this is a bigger threat to Scottish football than Team GB for the London Olympics.

The Motherwell chairman is right. But if the Old Firm move and we give in to the Government about 2012 then everything that Scottish football has stood for in a century and more is flushed right down the pan.

It is murder and self-interest is the motive.

And I know on whose hands the blood will dry.


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  • 1. At 12:16pm on 21 Apr 2009, ....and surely that's great news for the rest of scottish football. wrote:


    I've no idea what the correct smiley or webspeak or whatever it is for the emotion that I'm trying to put across but I believe it can be summed up with:

    *standing ovation*

    This is, without a shadow of a doubt, the best blog you have ever written. It sums up exactly how I feel about the situation. All those that are going on about how we don't need the Old Firm seem to think that it'll all carry on as present, just without the Rangers and Celtic matches. It'll kill our game if they leave. I doubt it would even have the standing of The League of Ireland - In fact, the Welsh League is probably a better comparison, because at least Ireland don't have anyone playing on their territory, but not involved in their national league.

    On the other hand, whilst money might be easier to come by for the Old Firm, their standing will disolve. I think we know that a lot of fans are with either side because of what they represent in the Scottish context. That will be diluted because their won't be the regular rivalry, both teams won't be challenging so regularly for honours, and the glory hunting element will tail off as well.

    But still, as long as the coffers are full, that won't matter. More 'product', anyone?

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  • 2. At 12:25pm on 21 Apr 2009, DonsCan wrote:

    After figuring out exactly what you meant, and getting the picture of my old English teacher lambasting the grammar of "there were people sat round the table", I thought some souls might want another view. Life goes on. You can't stop history, and if the OF join an English of European league so be it. If Scotland develops a youth policy, new pitches, training centres like Denmark and Holland, then our kids will reach the highest levels whether it be here or in Istanbul. Who's to say the OF are Scottish anyway? Nice goals for Celtic's Scottish lads against my team at the weekend, eh? Football is about money, pure and simple. The departure of the OF will not kill our game. It will change it. If Man U came to Govan, we'd not have a Saints v Killie game at the same time. But, when we did arrange that fixture, it might be for two teams with young talented Scots playing great football and pushing for a Europa league place. It might be that the 'other' teams in this great land would get together with Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, France, Portugal (all places where you can just about bet your lunch on the league winners - except for the grace of God, AZ this year) and who knows where else, to organize a more exciting competition that is exclusive. Imagine, the OF fighting relegation to the league where Leicester and Oldham play, while Chic's beloved Saints host PSV in a Euro semi. Guess where most of Scotland would be?

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  • 3. At 12:26pm on 21 Apr 2009, tj wrote:

    We dont want Rangers or Celtic in the English League, and if even if they did come what right do they have to sart in the top tier? If they come they should either have to start in the lower leagues or have to pay a lot of money to share out to the teams in lower tiers of English football.

    The whole thing is quite funny as it seems everyone in Scottland is against a GB football team as it could risk Scottland losing its status as seperate FA to the English but Fifa have said this wont happen but if Scottland lose their to big clubs to the English league then I think Fifa will look at Scottlands status then.

    At the end of the day the Scottish league needs Rangers and Celtic and we English dont want them! Not everything is about money is it? Right I'm off to buy my Lottery ticket! lol

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  • 4. At 12:26pm on 21 Apr 2009, Adam wrote:

    Football is selling out without even attempting to cover it up any more. If this happens the Scottish leagues will become Sunday league football. Personally I don't want them here. They are mid to high end Championship teams at best. It's the equivalent of changing teams when you're losing. The reputations and futures of these two will be based on what they can build, not what they can ruin.

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  • 5. At 12:27pm on 21 Apr 2009, U13356670 wrote:

    I disagree. When they finally depart for FINANCIAL reasons, the rest of Scottish football can return to being a SPORT.

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  • 6. At 12:29pm on 21 Apr 2009, Matthew wrote:

    I don't think it will ever happen

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  • 7. At 12:29pm on 21 Apr 2009, trueblue wrote:

    This is typical!

    All old firm fans hear is how they ruin the Scottish game and how the rest of the SPL suffers because of them.

    Now all of a sudden they are worried we might actually leave? Make your mind up!

    Have the rest of the SPL finally realised its the old firm that keep their clubs alive?

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  • 8. At 12:31pm on 21 Apr 2009, Trojansmotorcar wrote:

    No one down south outside of a few self serving chairmen in the lower echelons of the premiership cares about Rangers and Celtic and do we really need all the small minded bigotry they will bring...stay put.

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  • 9. At 12:35pm on 21 Apr 2009, dannyg wrote:

    The game in this country is already on its knees. Television money will be withdrawn regards of whether the old firm are present. Year upon year the standard of the SPL is falling and this season the title will be won be the side who are slight less incompentant than the other (its a close call). It seems that whenever one side gets in front they slip in their next game. It is appauling to watch so why to we cherish it so much? Of course there is history and tradition, but if it isn't worth watching then what is the point?

    Yes the old firm would struggle to compete initially but in the long term it is obvious that they would be strong contenders. Thay have the setup required to break the top four in England, just not the personnel. If they recieved the investment they crave, and arguably merit, these teams could be massive. They need to be released from the stagnant mess that is the SPL. I understand that this is a pragmatic approach but who actually enjoys or rates the SPL at the moment? No one outisde Scotland cares. There is no quality in it whatsoever, inside or outside the SPL. This isn't going to change anytime soon. Why not deal with the reality and make the decision that makes sense. That is what it all boils down to. Common sense.

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  • 10. At 12:36pm on 21 Apr 2009, boomshakalak wrote:

    Chick - i usually slate you - but this is possibly the best blog i have ever read on the BBC....

    I am English and i do think the EPL will benefit from having Rangers and Celtic in it - but it will leave Scottish football in a huge hole.

    That said - i doubt Celtic or Rangers will care - and neither will i to be honest... i hope they join the EPL for my sake...

    Just another often overlooked thought - what if one of them then got relegated - which is a possibility - just look at where "big team" Newcastle, and until recently Spurs ar e in the table... look at Man City?.. then look at Leeds, Nottingham Forest, and others who don't have a right to stay in the premier league because they are big clubs.

    Both clubs would hugely need to strengthen to compete (and possibly even stay up).... and if they took a deal like Simon Jordan is proposing (i.e. they "pay" to join) - or even took a deal where they had a reduced amount of TV revenue - tot try and get the "smaller" EPL clubs to vote for them to join - then funding that long term could be financial suicide....

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  • 11. At 12:39pm on 21 Apr 2009, onimo wrote:

    While Chic makes some good points about how this would affect those left behind, the bottom line as that this article is as much of a waste of space as every other one written in the annual "Will they go to England?" media frenzy. It's not going to happen.

    Take a look at the aftermath of last year's UEFA Cup Final in Manchester and convince me anyone in England wants that lot travelling South 16 times a year.

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  • 12. At 12:39pm on 21 Apr 2009, linchpyn63 wrote:

    As a Rangers fan I can truely and honestly say that if the the Old Firm join up with the english league I will start looking for another scottish team to support. I have no longing to be English I am Scottish and proud of it, I am a Rangers fan for no religous or glory chasing reasons; Simply Ibrox was my first experience of a football match. Scottish football is my love and what Chic says is right there are far to few fans like me who would turn there back on the juggernauts of Scottish football if the left for the English league. Without them Scottish football really does become a puddle.

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  • 13. At 12:39pm on 21 Apr 2009, rossco1973 wrote:

    Excellent blog Chic, bang on the money. Much as I'd like to see them go I think anyone who suggests those left behind would flourish is living in cloud cuckoo land.

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  • 14. At 12:40pm on 21 Apr 2009, shoehorn wrote:

    You can't compare a relagation battle :St Mirren v Kilmarnock with Rangers v Man U. If this wasn't such a baised and blog would have compare it with maybe Hearts v Hibs or Aberdeen v Dundee United.

    Also the Tartan Army are hated because they make Scottish a joke, not because anyone loves another country. I support Scotland but I am embarrassed by the Tartan Army.

    The Tartan Army are not Scotland just small people who like to make themselfs a joke and our nation.
    You can support Scotland without looking like a Stereotype.

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  • 15. At 12:41pm on 21 Apr 2009, Craig wrote:

    I've always wondered at the idea of folding the Scottish leagues into the English.

    Get Kilmarnock playing against Derby et al.

    Again, it'd still lead to a lessening of funds for everyone, but more games would increase gate takings.

    Have to lead to more games for cups too though.

    I dunno, what'd ya think

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  • 16. At 12:42pm on 21 Apr 2009, noregret wrote:

    I think it's more likely that Rangers will be entertaining Scunthorpe and Celtic will be visting Hartlepool. I'm sure they will be a tremendous asset to the Coca Cola League.

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  • 17. At 12:45pm on 21 Apr 2009, DannyF wrote:

    Bad for Scottish Football and of no real benefit for English Premier League.
    This is just Scudamore want to drain the coffers of other peoples pockets now he's just about milked the English public for all they are worth. Just because his 39th game idea fell on it's knees.
    Hope it doesn't change and I agree with the Scottish FA stance on 'No to Team GB'.

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  • 18. At 12:46pm on 21 Apr 2009, aconlon wrote:

    2nd #1

    (Standing Ovation)

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  • 19. At 12:47pm on 21 Apr 2009, Andy wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 20. At 12:48pm on 21 Apr 2009, banks_881984 wrote:


    I accept your views on the likely drop in 'overall' media coverage in the SPL without the Old Firm present. However, the coverage at the moment is Old Firm dominated anyway(plus whatever teams are playing them)and for those of us who do not support either of the Big 2, I don't think many will be bothered if the match report now reads Celtic v Man C rather than Celtic v Kilmarnock.

    The same goes for European football. I'll usually support any Scottish team (ie Celtic and Rangers) in Europe and likewise I'll usually support the British teams too. If Celtic and Rangers are in Europe through qualification from the Premiership then I'll still watch it in the same way I watch any of the other big clubs. However now there will be a chance that the Hibs, Hearts, and Dundee Utds of the world will get a piece of the cake, even if they get put out at the first round...

    I think there is enough interest in Scottish football outside of the Old Firm to be sustainable and in some case I think interest will grow. For example, I'm a St Mirren fan from Paisley which is a town overflowing in Old Firm fans. It may be the case that these fans, faced with the prospect of paying the money to go down to Manchester or London, or even the increased home ticket prices, may elect to stay local and watch St Mirren.

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  • 21. At 12:48pm on 21 Apr 2009, YoreLore wrote:

    I am very surprised as to how little a lot of English fans understand football. They actually believe the Old Firm are a mid to high championship team?! If the Old Firm were getting the same money as the Prem teams they would be 2 of the top teams in the country. They have bigger fan bases, better stadiums than almost all the teams in England, millions of trophies and I can promise that if a player had a chance to join Rangers or Blackburn Rovers in the Premier League they would always go to Rangers. Only Man Utd and Liverpool are actual BIGGER teams when you take away the millions from tv revenue. So many teams in the English league only get about 27000 a week in and have no chance of winning anything, just imagine having 50000 every week or even in the 60s. Some people really have no clue, if Rangers and Celtic could sign players with Premier League money they could sign major major players.

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  • 22. At 12:48pm on 21 Apr 2009, maroongary wrote:

    As financially problematic for the SPL as the OF leaving could well be, i amnt bothered...for 2 reasons.
    i'd like to see the league without them where more teams challenge for various awards, league title, the cups, european places, player awards etc.
    And the talk of them leaving doesn't bother me mainly, as i can't see it happening. It's been proposed before and will be again...yawn

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  • 23. At 12:49pm on 21 Apr 2009, JimmyJimmyOh wrote:

    Seems as if we're in a "can't live with them, can't live without them.." situation with the OF.

    As long as I can recall, the non-OF supporting part of the Scottish Game have been struggling with this dilemma. Whether we like it or not, success follows money which, in turn, follows supporter base.

    Like it or not, the OF supporters in Motherwell, Airdrie, Edinburgh and Aberdeen are not suddenly going to change alligence and support their local team. And, with the only decent TV/Paper/Internet coverage covering OF vs English premiership, neither are their kids. So, like it or not (and I don't), IF the OF enter the English Premiership, then you can count on even more kids wearing Celtic or Rangers tops down your local shopping centre.

    Much as it pains me, I have to agree with Chic on this subject. I'd dearly love to see Hibs winning the League (a guy can dream!). But, winning it without Celtic and Rangers in the mix would be a far diminished, if not hollow experience.

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  • 24. At 12:49pm on 21 Apr 2009, JAMESY1873 wrote:

    I can't believe the attention this gets time and time again. It's never going to happen. It's totally impractical- what happens if either club were relegated? Where do they go? They aren't an english club so the championship is out and since there is no promotion from the SPL to the EPL2 they can't go back there either. What if they qualify for europe in the future? Who's allocation do they take up? Scotland or England? Never gonna happen.

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  • 25. At 12:49pm on 21 Apr 2009, gmfc4me wrote:

    In my youth, I walked to Cappielow and would see scores of Rangers and Celtic fans' coaches heading for the M8. I don't really give a Stirling Moss about Rangers or Celtic, but if they joined the EPL I think Scottish football would benefit significantly. Currently, they each take thousands of fans to away matches. Their ticket allocation for away matches in the EPL would be far smaller, and the expense far greater, leaving a whole bunch of football fans with nothing to do on Saturday afternoons. They just might go and watch a local team instead, injecting cash into the coffers of hard-pressed provincial teams.

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  • 26. At 12:49pm on 21 Apr 2009, antisback wrote:

    it'd be a death sentence for rangers and celtic, they'd be in a relegation battle first season, and without the money from champions league football they'd struggle to keep up.

    Imo this idea of balancing out the league would be nonsense the extra income from champions league football would mean 2 teams would merely replace them.

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  • 27. At 12:50pm on 21 Apr 2009, Paco Chavez wrote:

    #3 - did you finish school? Scottland, well done mate.
    #4 - "They are mid to high end Championship teams at best" get a grip, Rangers and Celtic are known worldwide, we get more fans through the gates than the majority of EPL teams, the problem is money, if we got the same amount of money that EPL teams get we would hold our own against your Man u's and Chelsea's.
    your league is full of diddy teams just there to make up the numbers, Bolton, Middlesborough, Portsmouth, Wigan huge teams ha ha!

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  • 28. At 12:50pm on 21 Apr 2009, Nick wrote:

    I can't see why the English Premier League would want them. They might be expanding the league to two divisions of 18 but they would have to share the same amount of money and most of the top half of the division wouldn't want that to happen!! They wouldn't bring in any more pulling power for TV rights or sponsorship to the league either.

    The OF have a high opinion of themselves but the English game doesn't need them. The big clubs are full every week and the less well supported clubs get larger crowds when the top 4 or 6 visit them. Also the amount of money they would have to pay to join the top 2 divisions would be enormous.

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  • 29. At 12:50pm on 21 Apr 2009, sounesstablishment007 wrote:

    Well said Chick. The Scottish leagues would disolve if the Old Firm left. It would definately add a sense of equality to the remaining clubs fighting it out though - they would ALL be facing administration!

    I think if it was allowed the Old Firm would be at the top of the English league within 5 years. Only Man Utd have similar levels of support to the Old Firm, and when the BIG cash begins to filter through, the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and the rest would be well out the picture.

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  • 30. At 12:55pm on 21 Apr 2009, Bhoycie06 wrote:

    An undecided Celtic and Scotland supporter here...

    I agree with Chicks point that Scottish football WOULD suffer an awful amount without the OF, of course it would, how often do you see a player come to the SPL from League 1 or 2 and they actually state that playing the OF was one of, if not, the biggest factor in their decision to come North, and of course how would SPL clubs afford League 1 or 2 players without the OF and the TV revenue they bring? Yes youth football would become the key... but how can these players develop if they are only playing against players at the same level and stage of their careers? They need to be playing at a higher level to test themselves if they are to improve which the OF bring with not only their teams but the finance they bring the other clubs.
    However, as much as people are talking about money being the driving force, there is no doubt watching Celtic v Arsenal and Rangers v Liverpool would be colossal sporting occassions! The fact the English doubt how big they would be also makes me want it to happen, these clubs are HUGE, worldwide supports that are only rivalled by Liverpool and Man Utd in England. Their histories are illustrious, put the EPL tv money behind the OF and believe me they could attract some of the finest in Europe no doubts and really challenge down there.

    Can't see it happening though. I wouldnt want Scottish football to die, but its also not the OF's fault that other SPL clubs dont have investors or didnt in the past, the competition is non existent. The OF in EPL would be incredible but the dire situation that Scottish football would be left in would be hard to take also.

    Afte that rant I am still as unsure as to what I would want to happen than ever!!

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  • 31. At 12:57pm on 21 Apr 2009, Craig_B_1 wrote:

    The only solution for the Old Firm would some form of European League, there are just to many obstacles to them playing in England. Some English clubs might relish the additional TV & Marketing revenue that both clubs would bring but overall they would realise that if Rangers & Celtic had access to the kind of money available in the Premiership that in only a few years time they would probably be second only to Man Utd in terms of their financial clout. Too few people in England are aware of just how huge the support is for the OF. 60,000 will watch Celtic playing St Mirren...not sure the likes of Everton, Newcastle, Aston Villa or for that matter Arsenal and Chelsea could drum up the same level of support if they were playing the likes of St Mirren!! If they were playing in the best league in the world with access to the richest prize funds then it would remove the current obstacles they face in signing truely world class players.

    As for the Scottish game it would leave behind. It would be a backwater, yes, but almost every supporter outside the OF would welcome it. When the Premiership & SPL broke away from their respective leagues there were funding agreements in place. If Celtic & Rangers went to England then there should be a similar compensation involved. That might just compensate for the loss of OF revenue.

    Its a sad state of affairs, but thanks to the Premiership football is about little else other than money these days. The Premiership has ruined football across Europe not just in Scotland, so quite frankly I`d like to see the OF leave and join them, leaving us in peace to enjoy pure football. But it won`t happen.

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  • 32. At 12:58pm on 21 Apr 2009, gftChris wrote:

    We all know that the old firm fans are devoted and among the most passionate in football, but how would they feel about an 800-mile round trip from glasgow to london every other weekend? or portsmouth? there's no doubting the commitment, for sure, but how would the fans come up with the extra travel costs? Not to mention, i dare say ticket prices in the new league would be a lot higher than SPL.

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  • 33. At 12:59pm on 21 Apr 2009, Wooly Hat wrote:

    At least every time the OF played down south our country would be short of a few thousand bigoted morons for a while.

    I can almost picture the bemused look on the fans of, say, Stoke City, when they are being told that they "only sing in the chapel" and all that other embarrassing keech that non-OF fans have had to put up with for so long.

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  • 34. At 1:00pm on 21 Apr 2009, pars11 wrote:

    It all starts to make sense now!! old Firm putting in second teams into lower scottish league, so they could have their slice of english cake and through time still have a team in the highest scottish league also. Would Uefa allow this? whatever we all think the Old Firm will never be allowed, by allowed i mean why would teams such as Stoke etc vote for a team to more or less take their place, it wont happen, now or ever

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  • 35. At 1:05pm on 21 Apr 2009, PUP657 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 36. At 1:05pm on 21 Apr 2009, greennewtothis wrote:

    How about allowing the Old Firm to join the EPL but on the condition that their reserve teams must stay in the SPL or division 1. Celtic already spoke this year about entering their reserve team in one of the lower scottish divisions. If the Old Firm leaving the SPL really does spell the death of Scottish football does it not illustrate that they have both outgrown the league. It seems the league needs them more than they need it. In any other league in the world loaing one or two of the top teams would never have such a disastrous effect.

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  • 37. At 1:05pm on 21 Apr 2009, DaveyBoySABFC wrote:

    'Not that, I suspect, huge swathes of their support - blinded as they are with a love of Ireland and England and a loathing of the Tartan Army - will care.'

    Put plainly, this isn't true. Huge swathes of the Rangers support love England? What you mean is they wave the Union Jack at a match? And as much as Ireland may be held a lot dearer to Celtic's support than England is to Rangers', I'm sure there are plenty of proud Scottish Celtic supporters who read your blog that would also disagree. And as for a 'loathing' of Tartan Army....utter nonsense.

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  • 38. At 1:06pm on 21 Apr 2009, kujawak wrote:

    See, this is what annoys me about Scottish Football. On the one hand, if Celtic and Rangers go then they'll be accused of destroying Scottish Football as it won't survive without them. If they stay, they'll be accused of sweeping up in Scottish Football and it's just boring and the other teams don't stand a chance.

    Maybe the key point is simple. If Scottish Football really is just Celtic, Rangers and the rest now, what's the point in having it in the first place?

    The real enemy to Scottish Football is, and always has been, money. The big two get most of it in Scotland, but it's still a minuscule amount when compared with the the money in England. Given their respective fan bases, Celtic and Rangers have every right to feel hard done by when comparing themselves with the big English teams. And given their relative fan base in Scotland compared with the other Scottish teams, they probably don't even get their fair share where they are now. But then if they did we'd be back to them being accused of killing Scottish Football again.

    So given that money is an unfortunate evil in the game of football, I'm back to the same point - what is the point in Scottish Football?

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  • 39. At 1:07pm on 21 Apr 2009, tmcbhoy wrote:

    Perhaps some media journalists and non old firm fans will stop bleating on about how bad the old firm fans are and how bad we are for the game here..especially Jim Trainor..! there's a chance old firm could be away everyone wants them to stay..

    moaning about having the old firm games shown around the world and the sponsorship that comes with it..I dont think St Mirren v Hamilton Accies is going to be sought by tv companies around the being a celtic fan..i hope we get into the english league..just to be able to stick 2 fingers upto the people that said they would be better off without the old firm..lets see how they get on with no away subsidies from the big two now..!..

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  • 40. At 1:08pm on 21 Apr 2009, Beaniegoor Of Hesselink wrote:

    well said trueblue99123

    Chick enough of the cringeworthy cliches please! Just do your blog and leave it that!!
    You could be a semi decent journalist if you werent attempting to be a comedian!

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  • 41. At 1:09pm on 21 Apr 2009, Danny Edon wrote:

    #2, sumthinfortheblunted - Did you go to school?

    Its Middlesbrough not Middlesborough

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  • 42. At 1:09pm on 21 Apr 2009, TommyO wrote:

    Don't need them. Don't want them. They can keep their horrid bigotry to themselves.

    A quick glance at how Rangers fans conducted themselves in Manchester last summer tells you all you need to know. Anyone fancy some of that coming to a city near you anytime soon?

    No thanks.

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  • 43. At 1:10pm on 21 Apr 2009, Pease Pudding wrote:


    I'd happily see a British League and British national side if that's what it took to see my side Celtic play the best in British opposition week in, week out. To hell with Scotland- it's never done anything for my side.

    Personally I think not only Celtic and Rangers should join the English set up- but other teams like Hearts, Aberdeen, Hibs and Dundee Utd also. ]

    In fact, there should be a widespread British set up running the entire width and breadth of the land.

    Who cares about Scotland and it's parochial little agendas?

    Hail Hail

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  • 44. At 1:13pm on 21 Apr 2009, clovisguy wrote:

    Time the SFA/SPL were telling the Old Firm that they are Scottish teams, whether they like it or not, and they remain Scottish. Time to get back to two leagues of 18, there is too much football as it is, esp on TV.

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  • 45. At 1:14pm on 21 Apr 2009, seagullsfly wrote:

    I can’t see how Rangers & Celtic think they will be better off south of the border. At the moment they have a stroll to get their Champions League places. Quite apart from the other teams in the EPL who they have got to get above there is the big four, two of which would have to be toppled to get into the CL. If they can’t do that regularly the best they can hope for is to be a Spurs or Villa & have the odd season challenging for a top four slot. It’s one idiot from an unimportant club stirring it up, why should the EPL want these two?

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  • 46. At 1:16pm on 21 Apr 2009, Starfire_99 wrote:

    @ #27

    Ok we'll look at all the times The Old Firm have crossed swords with English teams in Europe then. Hardly an impressive record you have against them is it?

    Middlesboro and Portsmouth in spite of their present troubles have won silverware in recent history and gone to Europe. Bolton too have ventured abroad not so long ago, and Wigan are in the mix for the last place for the Europa league this year.
    Not bad for 'diddy teams just there to make up the numbers'.

    And teams like Stoke are busy proving you can go toe to toe with the richest clubs and survive on a shoe string in the Prem.

    If you're the sort of calibre the Old Firm are going to bring on the road as fans then you can stay put.

    I like the Prem as it is thanks.

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  • 47. At 1:16pm on 21 Apr 2009, freescottishfootball wrote:

    Lord, it really is a horrible mess isn't it? Support is dwindling, kids hardly play anymore, clubs are drowning in debt- we're also in a recession to make matters even worse. And of course lets not lose sight of the fact that the quality of football is very poor for the most part and occasionally down right embarrassing, both league and national team.

    Surely now, when there is talk of the two undoubtedly biggest clubs jumping ship- for that is what they would be doing- it is time that we (Scottish football fans, and hence the people who can make a difference)have to embrace some serous truths- Our leagues are in terminal decline, particularly the lower leagues to the determent of the quality of football and the death of a football tradition being passed on the young of the country.

    Is it not time that we consider whole sale changes? smaller leagues, less teams, public investment in football and sporting facilities, rather than a system of constant 'we have, so your not having' system. We have to work together. Our teams have been around since the nineteenth century, but surely to ensure survival we must decide to combine (caley-thistle esque) the smaller teams and create two solid national leagues, with transparent youth systems. In short, similar to the French method of how they run their leagues- smaller teams get first dibs on youth players etc. I'm a Rangers fan- so I don't adopt the French way readily ;).

    The problem, i feel, is extreme, therefore extreme measures have to be taken to ensure that Scottish football actually changes, and changes for the better. The SFA, SPL, SFL etc have not a clue what they are doing. Its bureaucracy, not sport. Last time i checked I was a Scottish football fan, not a Scottish bureaucracy fan.

    If the Old Firm leave it is simply more evidence that our leagues have to change and not live off the big two as much. there will always be stronger teams, but the situation in Scotland is becoming (ha!) totally shaming. Change has to happen.

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  • 48. At 1:16pm on 21 Apr 2009, pcurrie56 wrote:

    So let me get this straight....The rest of the SPhelL don't want celtic and Rangers in it, but they don't want us to leave because it would mean the rest of the league would simply go bust...seems pretty selfish! as to your commments about celtic fans loving ireland and rangers fans loving that not a wee bit typecast Chic....I'm a celtic fan, living in London but I am 100% SCOTTISH with no desire to be considered Irish or English or jedi for that matter. I think you are pandering to a lot of cliches there chic! (Plus Celtic are a club founded by Irish immigrants...i think they have a right to hold onto some of their heritage).

    As for the clubs down heer that don't want the old firm....Are you soo narrow minded that you cannot see the bigger picture....the money, suppport and interest that Celtic and Rangers would bring to england would far outweigh what we would receive from it...which would in turn be passed to the lower clubs through tv deals, fa cup ties, gate see where im going with this....?

    Besides, the way the english clubs are being run these days, another 5 years or so and you'll be lucky if there are enough teams to fill 2 leagues.

    And on the clows that tore up manchester, do you not think they would maybe consider that, and draw up policies and procedures to make sure it doesn't happen do remember that 30 years ago england was the hooliganism capital of the world....the managed to sort that out!

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  • 49. At 1:22pm on 21 Apr 2009, Garfy wrote:

    I think the presence of the Old Firm duo is just papering over the cracks. Scottish football is in dire straits with or without the involvement of Celtic and Rangers. If clubs can only attract a handful of fans to a visit of one of the 'Big 2' then surely there is something fundamentally wrong? It is easy to blame them for wanting out and then claiming that they are the downfall of Scottish Football, but I think that the demise of many clubs in Scotland is more than inevitable whether Rangers and Celtic are involved or not...

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  • 50. At 1:22pm on 21 Apr 2009, Charlie wrote:


    what about the old firm doing both, staying in the SPL and going into the English System.

    The old firm need to grow in whatever direction as they are currently being stiffled by the financial constraints that come with Scotland. I'm sure (most) old firm fans would rather keep the roots in Scotland but still need to compete within the market place of Europe. Personally I would rather they went with the Euro league where we teamed up with the likes of Holland, Sweden etc and took the top two teams from each rather than 'going down south'.

    Celtic and Rangers have the resources and the support base to operate two teams - a Scottish one (to bring through the young Scottish talent) and a Euro/English one to compete with the best and bring in the revenue.

    Scotland and the old firm would win with this arrangement.

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  • 51. At 1:23pm on 21 Apr 2009, Ming wrote:

    I agree that Celtic and Rangers leaving the SPL would be a major issue for the teams left behind and Scottish football more generally. However, moaning about the OF is surely missing the point as my perception is that the SPL is made up of largely mediocre teams (OF excepted), playing mediocre football with one of the OF invariably winning the title. Whilst the OF are far from perfect, you can’t blame them for wanting to get access to more money and better opposition. Their recent performances in Europe suggest they need to improve their squads significantly in order to compete on a level playing field. The main point should surely be how to improve the standard of Scottish football at all levels (and the quality of the product delivered to fans) with or without the OF.

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  • 52. At 1:23pm on 21 Apr 2009, BoroNorthStander wrote:

    Its strange how the scots, and celtic fans in particular spend their days telling anyone who will listen, how they dislike all thing english yet they want to come and play with our ball because it suits them. Well my message is stay up north and stick to your own league, you need us, we dont need you.

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  • 53. At 1:25pm on 21 Apr 2009, markadoi84 wrote:

    Rangers and Celtic should stick to their own league, although I suspect by the end of my lifetime they will be playing in the British Premier League. The fact should be however, that if they wish to enter English football, they should start from the bottom. I don't mean League 2, I mean the conference. Within 4 years they could be in the Premiership and any lost earnings will quickly be made up. There just seems something wrong with this to me though, and I feel it's time somebody tried to encourage a more level playing field in Scotland. Surely a team from Edinburgh could be challenging?

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  • 54. At 1:25pm on 21 Apr 2009, sportszombie wrote:

    sorry but Scottish football is ruined anyway. You have an awful league with poor quality of football, dominated by same 2 teams for last 2 decades. Playing in this awful league means even Rangers & Celtic are now severely handicapped against quality opposition. The departure of the 2(I doubt if it will ever happen) will actually make your league interesting or small Scottish clubs could join League 1

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  • 55. At 1:26pm on 21 Apr 2009, gunpaul82 wrote:

    why is it not possible to merge the scottish and english leagues?? in the longterm it would surely benefit scottish football??its clear that the 2 old firm teams need to be playing a higher standard, they are 2 huge clubs, bigger than most english teams, i really think they would add a lot to the premiership

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  • 56. At 1:28pm on 21 Apr 2009, rjaggar wrote:

    I can't comment totally, but it's already the case that Celtic and Rangers have no real competition. The only way they could do that is if Hearts and Hibernian merged to create one club in Edinburgh with enough support to compete. Then you're Portugal not Scotland.......with the big three not the big two.......

    You're a small country Mr Young with one dominant city. Is it surprising that football in Scotland reflects that?

    But if you look at the English leagues, you'll see that despite the increasing wealth of the Premier League, actually the Championship is now one of the most healthy leagues in Europe. You've got a myriad of clubs getting crowds between the high teens and low thirties and the odd over-achiever like Blackpool, Doncaster or Scunthorpe trying to match them with less........they've got good stadia and clubs with tradition: Ipswich, Notts Forest, Derby, Coventry, Crystal Palace, Bristol City, Preston: none will get promoted this year........I don't think.......

    Of course, they've got the lure of promotion to the Premier League right now..........

    I'm still of the view that the Scottish game would have been best served by having 6 clubs in a 'little European countries' league: Portugal, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland. Two in Glasgow, two Edinburgh, one Dundee and one Aberdeen. Keeps some national rivalry whilst increasing standards. Why it didn't happen I don't know.......

    I'd be interested on your views as to why AZ Alkmaar and Twente Entschede can do it in Holland but Aberdeen, Hearts and Hibs can't in Scotland?

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  • 57. At 1:28pm on 21 Apr 2009, jm5617 wrote:

    I'm not sure about the Old Firm going south, I mean second class clubs from a third class division would not be able to cut it in the premier League.

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  • 58. At 1:29pm on 21 Apr 2009, MrT wrote:

    I do not want to see the OF in English football. W

    hy would English football want them?? What would they bring? Money - er the premiership is already the richest league in the world.

    Can't see english clubs voting for it as it would be extra competition for trophies and top flight football.

    Why should rangers and celtic get what they want and be transported into the english top flight?

    A few people mention the death to scottish club football, but what would be the impact on the national team? With no restrictions on the numbers of domestic players allowed rangers and celtic would probably have few scottish players and there would be a downturn in quality of players of scottish descent.

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  • 59. At 1:29pm on 21 Apr 2009, Social Ambulator wrote:

    Just suppose that one of the OF got promoted to EPL1 while the other languished in EPL2. No Old Firm games! Well, at least the Glasgow Constabulary would vote for that.

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  • 60. At 1:30pm on 21 Apr 2009, diegoarmandosloan wrote:

    What a backward little country we live in. You love us, you hate us, we'd be better rid of them, please stay.....

    The Old Firm sustain the game in Scotland yet are vilified at every turn. Hell let's be honest - the Old Firm ARE the game in Scotland. But are we really wanted by our own countryfolk? Laughed at when we exit Europe, our punters are charged higher admission fees at every ground, chastised for ruining the image of friendly wee Scotland (well the other mob are), 'sectarian scum'......I could go on at length over the shots which are fired at both clubs on a regular basis.

    But when there is a remote prospect of us upping sticks and taking the cash, media coverage, attendances et al which WE generate then we are murdering the game here? Could it be Chico is a bit worried at having to cover the dross which is churned out week on week by the teams outside of Glasgow?

    The simple truth is that the Old Firm have far outgrown the domestic game. I for one would gladly have Celtic placed in the Blue Square league next season if that was our only route to England. And I say that genuinely. I pay in excess of £500 a season for my Parkhead season ticket but cannot muster the energy or will to jump on a bus to Parkhead most weeks, such is the boredom and inevitability of SPL fixtures.

    Moving away from my mini-rant at the start of this post, I genuinely would hope that such a break could be the making of our national game. Youth set-ups MUST improve. No more think-tanks and SFA muppets sitting about pontificating about how to change the game for the better. We need to look at other smaller countries who regularly outperform us and produce world class talent with similar resources. It cant all be down to 'oh the kids dont play in the street any more coz they have their playstations and xbox's'. Times change, cultures change. We need to act and the OF upping sticks might well be the kick up the jacksy the country needs.

    OK I have gone off on a tangent here.....but my points are thus; the Old Firm are the country's biggest and best and have outgrown the SPL. That is a plain and simple fact. They will still be Scottish clubs even if they are playing in an English league. And those who cite all OF fans as being patriotic only to Ireland and England shall not care anyway. This change must come for the good of all parties and the way in which football clubs in this country are run and the development of youth must adapt to the change in climate. Some may say that this move would break our game. I for one hope that it could be the making of it.

    That's the most work I've done all day.....

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  • 61. At 1:30pm on 21 Apr 2009, Lanky-ffc wrote:

    For people to be suggesting that Rangers and Celtic play in the EPL and have their reserves in the SPL is an absoulute insult!

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  • 62. At 1:31pm on 21 Apr 2009, collie21 wrote:

    I have two requests please,
    "The Old Firm got rich on reasons that had nothing to do with football and for decades the two of them milked the great divide."

    For those of us unlightened and clearly not of the Tartan wearing brigade, please enlighten us.

    The second one is this, exactly how worse off are the rest of teams when You compare Celtic playing in London, and Man Utd at Rangers, you ask where the focus would be. Where would it ever be? Always at Celtic and Rangers......I mean really who are queen of the south anyway?

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  • 63. At 1:32pm on 21 Apr 2009, campnoubarca72 wrote:

    I just wanted to make reference to your "blinded by their love of England" comment about Rangers fans Chick. Since when was displaying a pride sense of Britishness showing blind love for our neighbours?

    Rangers and our support have never hidden our pride at being Scottish as you would have noticed at the recent Burns Anniversary displays and indeed at any Rangers game where the Saltire and Lion Rampant fly proudly alongside the Union Flag. Indeed I can't even recall at St. George's cross at a Rangers game so where you are getting this impression from I don't know.

    I'm not sure what your image of a Scottish football fan is Chick but if you are referring to drunks in 'See You Jimmy' hats who don't go to matches week-in week-out, have very little knowledge of the game and spend their time at Hampden singing anti-English drivel, The Proclaimers and a tune from The Sound of Music then I can see why you hold your beloved Tartan Army in such high esteem.

    Frankly I find them an embarrassment but like many of my fellow Rangers fans, people who support the game in this country week-in week-out, I still go to every game at Hampden and follow my national team with immense pride. The fact that many of us are also proud to be British and believe in the Union is irrelevant. They are not mutually exclusive.

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  • 64. At 1:32pm on 21 Apr 2009, Jim Vasey wrote:

    Looking at things from the OF perspective, the bottom line (and that’s what this is all about) is that a move to the EPL represents the only realistic way they are ever going to make the money to buy the quality players they would need to get anywhere in Europe. The catch 22 here is that it is likely to take them some time in the EPL to become competitive enough to reach the CL positions – and during that time, they run the risk of spending many mid-table years, or (and this is by no means improbable!) fighting to stay out of the relegation zone. If they stay in the SPL, one of them will get into the CL every year while the other one has to play one or more qualifying ties, but still has a good chance of getting into the CL proper. Tricky call, and I don’t envy them their choice.

    From the EPL perspective, I can’t see anything attractive in having the OF join their number. They get plenty of money already, and they can certainly do without the baggage which would come along with them.

    It also raises an interesting question – would the OF play in the FA Cup or the Scottish Cup?

    What would it do for Scottish football? First and foremost, there would be a certain drop in gate income for the other SPL clubs. On the other hand, we would have a situation where any one of four or five clubs have a real chance of winning the league and qualifying for the CL – that’s something that will NEVER happen if the OF stay put. This competitiveness is the hallmark of the First Division – ask any club which has been relegated from the SPL how hard it is to get back up again - and would, I believe, result in better quality football for the supporters.

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  • 65. At 1:34pm on 21 Apr 2009, AndyKing_7 wrote:

    If the Old Firm join the English Premier League with the teams that they have currently it will be a relegation struggle. They would have to go into huge amounts debt, as the PL and TV money is decided upon final places and the number of appearances on Sky/Setanta. It is a juggling act by the clubs that are new to the premier league between spending enough to stay in the division and not overstretching in case they go back down. As has been proven every year it is difficult to come up and stay in the EPL, why would the Old Firm be any different?
    And as for these clowns claiming that they would be top 4 every year because they have so many fans around the world, then why do you need to join the premier league? Surely you must be loaded with such a huge fanbase. Maybe it is because having 100 people packed into an Irish bar in Boston supporting Celtic means nothing to the club, the only financial benefit is to the bar owner.

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  • 66. At 1:37pm on 21 Apr 2009, Scott Walker wrote:

    Chick... I admire your passion and if I was Scottish then I would share your fear. I have to agree with some of the bloggers on a few points though..

    OF in the Prem.. why should they be allowed to just jump straight in when we have seen teams struggling for years to make it from the CCC. They also will struggle, all of a sudden their opponents are world beaters and going from quite frankly a lower half of the CCC league into the best league in europe is quite a void.

    Then there are the issues with our 'friends' from the north coming down and the trouble that comes with the not so friendly divide we have. Imagine if they got to wembley, bobby's statue would be in bits on its way up the M1.

    If it means PFC get pedro mendes back then I am open haahahaa, seriously though. It will destroy scottish football and anyone who thinks this is a good idea needs to read this excellent blog.

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  • 67. At 1:38pm on 21 Apr 2009, TommyO wrote:

    48. At 1:16pm on 21 Apr 2009, pcurrie56 wrote:

    "And on the clows that tore up manchester, do you not think they would maybe consider that, and draw up policies and procedures to make sure it doesn't happen again"

    yes, like not letting Celtic & Rangers into our leagues - sorted!

    " do remember that 30 years ago england was the hooliganism capital of the world....the managed to sort that out!"

    yes, they did (stopping Scotland v England games was part of that, btw)

    so how about you guys North of the border sorting out the sectarian bigotry that's been pervading your game for the last 100 odd years ?

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  • 68. At 1:39pm on 21 Apr 2009, Jimmy_083 wrote:

    What wuould happen if the OF enter the Premier League is simple. The first couple of seasons would be tough - possibly even relegation battles. However, there can be no doubt that once these teams have settled in, they've bought new players (better players who will come to them because they play in England), it will surely only be a matter of time before they reach the top four given their financial clout and absolutely huge fan bases.

    Once they have money coming in from the champions league and can attract even better players then they will both be serious contenders. I think the biggest obstacles to this happening will be current top 6 sides who would be rightly worried about losing their income from european football.

    To be honest I can't see them ever joining, unless UEFA award England another 2 champions legaue places, which is unlikely.

    I don't necessarily think it would kill off Scottish football though. I think it would rekindle interest

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  • 69. At 1:39pm on 21 Apr 2009, KenF10 wrote:

    A good post Chic.

    I don't see this happening, but I don't want it to in any event.

    As a Celtic fan, I've heard all the nonsense about growing out of Scottish football or the Scottish game holding us back from doing anything in europe more recently. Celtic & Rangers have always been too big for their boots in Scotland & loads of other teams in Europe won't do a great deal in the Champions League or UEFA Cup despite more TV money or a rich owner. As monotonous as it is at times, it is how it is.

    I also go to all the Scotland games home & away. Celtic & Rangers would simply resort to buying players from abroad & would have no interest in playing home grown players. The SPL is bad enough just now, but the quality would go downhill without them (anyone saying otherwise is off the wall) & how could the Scottish players left behind be expected to show at international level playing in the league Celtic & Rangers left behind every week? You also have the whole Team GB issue. Still, I don't expect many Celtic or Rangers fans to consider the international team (or any other teams for that matter).

    Hopefully the EPL sides don't want us & we can lay this idea to rest once & for all.

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  • 70. At 1:39pm on 21 Apr 2009, tmcman wrote:

    I resent, and always have, that celtic and rangers are constantly refered to together. I dream of a future where they are simply regarded as teams in their own right, like Man U or Liverpool. (note the absence of man city or Everton) Ultimate individual success for one of these clubs would come from wrenching themselves free and above this "double act" label.

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  • 71. At 1:40pm on 21 Apr 2009, boabmcdafty wrote:

    I am fed up hearing that Rangers and Celtic have outgrown the scottish league and are fed up thumping teams each week.

    Is this not the same as the Spanish (Real Madrid, Barcelona), English (Man U, Chelsea and Italian (Milan, Inter)Leagues?

    The majority of leagues have a couple of conquering teams.

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  • 72. At 1:40pm on 21 Apr 2009, collie21 wrote:

    As to where Rangers or Celtic would go When they get relegated. Ask Swansea, they used to be in the old division 1 and they aren't an English team.
    As as for the twaddle of if the OF had the money of Chelsea Liverpool and Man U, then they would be in the top of the premiership? I would reckon Notts Forest Derby Co. Leeds United and Acrington Stanley would the New top four......IF they had the money. Get over yourselves....
    Invest in Scottish football, force the OLD FIRM to put money back into the grass roots game, get a socialist model going and you will find lots of great players coming to play because then the league would be awash with cash.

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  • 73. At 1:40pm on 21 Apr 2009, cparsonstrucking wrote:

    I remember when Wimbledon where playing with the idea of moving to Milton Keynes and everyone freeked out and said it would be the end of the club, and football in general would suffer and Bosman would be the end of football if he won his court case. How many thousands of Man Utd fans threatened to boycott the club if the sold out to the Glazers?. Yes, some did and formed FC United Of Manchester but Old Trafford is still full every week isn't it?. Ask some Dundee Utd or Kilmarnock supporters if they would rather be playing with 5 games left and have a chance of grabbing a Europa League place, or even making the split at all....or playing for a chance to close the gap on the team at the top to 1, 2 or 3 points, instead of the usual 35. A chance to play in the Champions League, win one of the cups instead of hoping the OF have a bad day and you can maybe sneak a win and knock ONE of them out and so denying the public the 'pleasure' of another OF cup final. My point is that, yes, there will be an initial slump in Scottish football but eventually it will prosper. The way it is today most Scottish clubs can't attract the foreign talent that the OF can attract and on the face of it, if you're honest, the talent they do attract isn't gonna set the Premiership on fire. Offer Christian Dailly, Beasley, Boyd, Samaras or Maloney to Premiership managers and see how many takers you get. Of course, Maloney and Samaras have already tried their luck in the Premiership haven't they and lets not forget the other Mr. Ferguson, who was such a raving success at Blackburn. With the OF gone the remaining clubs won't have to rely on foreign talent in an effort to keep with the OF and the result will be young Scottish talent getting games in the league AND in top European games, which can only benefit the game as a whole in Scotland. Cast your mind back to November 1984 and England are beating Turkey 8-0 in Turkey and they beat them 8-0 again in October, 1986. Turkey resolved to develop their own talent, which then saw that talent move abroad and make way for fresh talent and season after season they improved and in 2002 they played in the World Cup Semi-Finals. Imagine the looks you would get if you said that San Marino will play in the 2026 World Cup Semis. You would have gotten that same look in Turkey in 1984. For me, Scottish football changed forever the day Rangers appointed Souness as manager because he looked at the Scottish league and realised that with the dominance that they already shared with Celtic and the money Rangers had he could make Rangers dominant for a decade if he flooded the team with foreign journeymen. Which is what he did and Scottish football in general and the national team in particular have never recovered. It even took Celtic ten years to catch up. Scottish teams WILL recover if they leave and Scottish teams WILL play big champions League games if they leave. Here's a sight I'd rather see if I was a non-OF supporter.

    Scottish Champions.

    2006-07 Celtic
    2007-08 Celtic
    2008-09 Celtic
    2009-10 Rangers
    2010-11 Rangers
    2011-12 Hearts
    2012-13 Dundee United
    2013-14 Aberdeen
    2014-15 Aberdeen
    2015-16 St Mirren
    2016-17 Hearts
    2017-18 Hamilton.

    Be nice huh?

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  • 74. At 1:43pm on 21 Apr 2009, onimo wrote:

    #46 "Ok we'll look at all the times The Old Firm have crossed swords with English teams in Europe then. Hardly an impressive record you have against them is it?"

    In the last 6 years Celtic have played Blackburn, Liverpool and Manchester United and beaten them all. Liverpool haven't beaten Celtic in a competitive match since England last won a world cup. Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest is the only English team to ever win a competitive game at Celtic Park. What was your point again?

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  • 75. At 1:44pm on 21 Apr 2009, LouSDavis wrote:





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  • 76. At 1:44pm on 21 Apr 2009, David wrote:


    The situation is already serious. Scottish football is already rubbish. The TV companies already don't want to know (Apart from the dafties at Setanta who'll be going bust soon due to their daft business ventures).

    The Scottish media already donate nearly all their attention to the Old Firm. I don't buy Scottish papers anymore. They are rubbish. The Daily Record is one of the worst, it's basically an Old Firm/Labour party pamphlet. Utter Garbage.

    I will still support my club come what may, as will fans of other non-OF clubs. The premier league will hopefully be more competitive (they can get rid of that stupid split too) which will create bigger crowds, which will create media interest.

    Good riddance to the Old Firm, if they behave, i'll maybe make one of them my English team.

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  • 77. At 1:46pm on 21 Apr 2009, soccerinteg wrote:

    You Tweet (in asort of endearing term),

    Scottish Football will be better off. IMHO the 'Great Divide' or rivalry will still be there where both teams meet.

    When either one of the OF teams meet other EPL teams, most if not all Scots will root against them. No?

    At the same time will catapault other Scottish teams to a higher level of competition. Add another dimension for other SPL teams to strive for with the potential influx of lucrative funds as a result of the exposure. No?

    Won't surprise me if OF will be in one of the top six BPL teams then

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  • 78. At 1:46pm on 21 Apr 2009, leicsteve wrote:

    the idea of the EPL2 is one made up by the Bolton chairman, so that his team, who year on year flirt with relegation, cannot slip out of where the money lies. This whole idea seems drastically unfair on english teams outside the top flight currently, and to add the Old Firm as well just plain ridiculous.

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  • 79. At 1:46pm on 21 Apr 2009, Nick wrote:

    The SPL already has trouble attracting TV revenue with Setanta trying to renegotiate the new 125 million deal they have for the future.

    To #31. Most English teams consistently have large attendances and are full. Newcastle that are a big team in support with over 50,000 a week watching who aren't doing too well. You seem to think that in a few years time the OF would dominate the EPL. You said Arsenal fans couldn't get a big crowd playing a small team!! Just look at the sides they have played in the Carling Cup over the past few years. Arsenal were playing their youngsters aged 16-19 mostly. The ones that are very fringe players and consistently got over 55,000 for home matches.

    Most EPL teams do not have stadiums that large but are in the process of trying to build new and better ones which they will fill without too many problems.

    Yes the OF are big clubs with a large support but it is the same for most of the EPL. Someone went go on about the OF history being illustrious but that's mainly because their is only 2 teams fighting for the title. I know in the past a few others have come and gone like Aberdeen and Hearts but that's the only reason you have history.

    They also mentioned that Celtic v Arsenal or other matches like that would be massive but they would not necessarily be the case. We have plenty of rivalry down here. Arsenal v Man U, Liverpool, Spurs, Chelsea all have history of playing against each other. Celtic V Arsenal would just be the same as any other big club playing each other in Europe. Yes it would be of interest but it wouldn't generate any more money in TV or marketing revenue.

    Also don't forget about the expense the fans would have to incur travelling so far week in and out. If the SFA won't go for a British Olympic football team how on earth do people think they will let their 2 prized assets leave to join a foreign league. If this does happen then in a few more years you will then see a complete break away in Europe as it would have created a precedent with the top clubs. Even though UEFA and FIFA have said it's down to the own individual associations they would have to put a block on it.

    Just look at the Welsh League and how much coverage that gets and with the OF gone you will be in the same place a few years later.

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  • 80. At 1:50pm on 21 Apr 2009, sunderpitt wrote:

    Not sure what the EPL gets from having the 'old firm' included. I can see what the 'ol firm 'might get i.e. bad not to come first or second, good more money from Rupertvision?. I suppose it might suit them and the sky 4? Not sure if it is going to happen. As conerning the GB soccer team which is giving the one in five red hair ones such consternation, I'm not sure if currently any Scottish player would get in the side. Giggs might make an appearance as a left winger?

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  • 81. At 1:53pm on 21 Apr 2009, furiousStGeorge wrote:

    Can't beleive this has come up again.
    Normally, when the Scots talk about the English, at best all we hear is woe and grief for how we have kept the Scottish down for centuries and at worst it's just down right abuse and bigotry. 'We are not British, we are Scottish', 'leave us be to get on our own', 'Give us independance' blah blah blah. They even go to the trouble to buy an Argintinian shirt if they are playing England in a big match, or as was the case just recently, Maradona turns up for a friendly they treat him like a god. And yet when it comes to football, they see how succesful our EPL is and you want a piece of it? personally, i'd tell you to go forth.....

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  • 82. At 1:53pm on 21 Apr 2009, Alberto wrote:

    For years and years it's been a battle between Rangers and Celtic for the Scottish Title.
    It even got to the stage at one point where 4 games a season would have been enough!
    As much as every other team in Scotland hates us and our dominance, it does raise the question of "would Scottish football survive without us"?
    I think yes, it would - with the Old Firm out of the equation, it would be a free for all to win the first league + cup titles for all the top clubs for years, not to mention the likes of Hearts, Aberdeen, Hibs, Dundee utd etc getting into the Champions League!
    The money from European gates would seem like a lottery win to these clubs, they could attract the types of players that the Old Firm can at the moment and it wouldnt be long before we were forgotten.

    On the flip side, I can see how the English teams would be aggrieved at seeing us "walk into" the top tier...however, they are proposing 2 new Top divisions, with Rangers AND Celtic both going into the 2nd one.
    2 divisions of 18 teams is hardly us "walking into" the Premiership, and for pure quality and standards of football, I think the neutral would rather see 2 big names join the league than say, promoting teams at top of division 1?
    Rangers and Celtic could compete with about 60% of the current premiership which is more than the rest of the English League can say. For these little teams to get promoted it would be an embarrassment to them to go to the Bridge, Old Trafford etc every week!!!

    And for those who say the Old Firm are only being invited because of a profit making idea...then tell me what the Premiership is if it's not the biggest money making idea in World Sport?!

    Personally, I think the English are just afraid of us taking over and beating them in their own backyard!

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  • 83. At 1:54pm on 21 Apr 2009, jod wrote:

    Reading the comments there seems to be an assumption that the level of support for English clubs can be measured by their average gates. However many clubs simply have small stadiums. Arsenal's average gate soared once they built the Emirates. No one knows what Spurs support actually is as we sell out our pitifully small 36,000 seats almost regardless of the opposition (despite high ticket prices) and have 20,000 waiting for season tickets - hence the push to build a new stadium. Whenever a club sells every ticket for a match it means some fans haven't got in and the average gate becomes misleadingly low if this happens regularly.

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  • 84. At 1:54pm on 21 Apr 2009, qpr_premchamps2014 wrote:


    You having a laugh? EPL full of diddy teams to make up the numbers? The remaining SPL teams outside of the old firm 2 range from mid-table Championship teams to League 2 in some cases. Teams like Kilmarnock, Hibs and Hearts regularly play our Championship teams in pre-season friendlies and get trounced!

    Celtic and Rangers would need to consolidate for a good number of years before they could compete in the premiership, and that statement assumes that their current fans will continue to support them and pay 45 quid a ticket to travel to Portsmouth on a Tuesday night in November just to finish 15th for 5 or 6 years until they could compete. Secondly, your fans pale in insignificance compared to many EPL teams, Newcastle will still sell 40,000 home tickets every week if they get relegated to the Championship, could you say the same if Rangers or Celtic even slipped outside of the top two in Sctoland, let alone fall a division?!

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  • 85. At 1:54pm on 21 Apr 2009, wildman606 wrote:

    I couldn't disagree more. As a Scot by birth but having lived overseas most of my life, I believe that it would be far better for the game to see the old firm go into the premier league. For the better part of the decade, Scotland has failed to produce even one truly international class player. By making the SPL more competitive, and giving other clubs a chance to win something, perhaps new quality scottish born players will also emerge. Fans of the old firm will be able to continue support one of the old firm, but also then, one of the other local teams as well. It will be more difficult to get a seat to see old firm clubs against the Premier League 'TOP 4', but there will be more than 8 additional games a season worth really seeing. In no time at all the old firm will be knocking on the door of that Top 4 and this can only enhance the status of the clubs and the pride of the supporters.
    In the existing format, the SPL is killing scottish football.

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  • 86. At 1:55pm on 21 Apr 2009, markrp wrote:

    I can't see enough English clubs voting for it, but as a Celtic fan I would love to see us playing in England, purely for the level of competition and glamour we would get most weeks.

    We'd both do well. It always, always comes back to the level of your support. Yes, Leeds are suffering at the moment as some posters have correctly pointed out, but they'll be back. If Fulham, West Ham and Wigan can get into the top half of the table I don't think we should worry too much.

    Of course, this is my selfish view, and I would feel guilty if the Scottish club game withered as a result. But we've been getting so much grief for so long about how every problem in the Scottish game is our fault, that I can see why Celtic and Rangers are both tempted to wash their hands of it.

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  • 87. At 1:55pm on 21 Apr 2009, Hans Gilhaus wrote:

    £100 million to enter the English Premier League... but will it be League one or two? Will they play in the English FA Cup? I doubt they'll be allowed!!

    I have no doubt Celtic and Rangers will do well down south but when you look at the debt the current EPL clubs have... Man Utd are in the region of £650million in debt.

    Could Celtic or Rangers handdle this kind of debt in the chase for Glory? Wage demands will go up, Policing/security for the stars that would come to Glasgow...

    Europe for the Old Firm would be the equivalent of St Mirren or Dunfermline trying to reach europe with cup success their best bet!

    What about the fans?? London, Birmingham, Portsmouth, Liverpool are much further away than Aberdeen or Inverness!.. Traveling cost go up!.. Women will moan... "Their other halves are away all day/weekend!"

    Scottish Football may not be as once a TV / Advert pull without the Old Firm, but Transfer prices will rise between them and US (the rest of Scottish Football), the same way it happened with Chelsea and Man City when they came into a little money!!

    Scottish football may be worse off for the two ugly sisters departure, but I would imagine the other teams, Aberdeen, Hearts, Hibs, Motherwell, Kilmarnock would rise from the ashes the same way Ferguson and McGregor have(will) done from the SFA drink/v signs fiasco!

    Long Live Scottish Football!

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  • 88. At 1:56pm on 21 Apr 2009, Establishing a bigger gap at the top every week wrote:

    "They are mid to high end Championship teams at best" - this comment shows the ignorance of whoever wrote it. Sure with the current (relatively poor) Old Firm teams both would be probably be scrapping around mid-table in the Premiership, but with the income that even the bottom club in the EPL gets it's likely that both would be fighting at least the Evertons and Aston Villas in the short-term.

    To claim that teams who have been in the UEFA cup final in recent years are at the level of Coventry or Doncaster Rovers shows a real lack of footballing knowledge

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  • 89. At 1:58pm on 21 Apr 2009, GrumpyJoeWalsh wrote:

    Let the OF do what they feel they have to do.........
    They have financial decisions to make.
    Scottish football will sink or swim........ ho hum.
    Who actually cares anyway?
    It's not like it is worth saving, is it?
    It would also save the embarrassment of enduring another World Cup Campaign Qualification.
    Cos let's face it, youngsters don't play the game any more (the evidence is plain to see on the park every Saturday)......... let it die as nature intended.
    Go Andy Murray!!!!!

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  • 90. At 1:58pm on 21 Apr 2009, karl_baxter wrote:

    The Premiership is dying on its feet. Arsenal are fading, and while Chelsea are still contenders, they too will start to fade now that Abramovich has tightened the purse strings. Aston Villa and Everton are making brave challenges but that'll only last as long as Moyes and O'Neill aren't headhunted.

    So, it's really between Man U and Liverpool, England's own version of the Old Firm. The Premiership today is where the old Scottish Division One was about 80 years ago, on the verge of a dull duopoly.

    The only way to stop this is to reintroduce a bit of competition. Bringing in the Old Firm would revive the Premiership because both Rangers and Celtic can match Man U and Liverpool's dedicated fan bases, which is the underlying fundamental for any club. Combined with the much bigger TV revenues available down South, the Old firm would soon be challenging and thus stopping the Premiership becoming the duopoly that the SPL has.

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  • 91. At 1:58pm on 21 Apr 2009, TheJags wrote:

    Totally agree Chick, well done.

    The fact of the matter is; no matter how much everyone in Scotland outside of the Old Firm hates them, they are the lifeblood of our game. Look at the Irish leagues - they're terrible, that's what will happen to us if we allow this.

    And anyway, why are Rangers and Celtic so certain they'll be major contenders down South? They've got a lot of fans, fair enough, but so do Newcastle, Sunderland, Leeds and Nottingham Forest, and they're hardly setting the world alight. Of course they have the potential to do well, but it will take a long time for any outsider to break the stranglehold of the big four, never mind two new kids with initially limited funds and a severe placement handicap (the Second Division). Factor in the lack of any European football for a number of seasons and further away trips you'll see fan numbers begin to dwindle. Why should they grow that quickly? If they were in the Premiership now they'd struggle to remain there, and we all know how difficult it is to go up and stick around in England.

    I want to say good riddance to the bigotry and idiocy that these two clubs bring (can't see England wanting that), but unfortunately we need them both up here.

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  • 92. At 2:01pm on 21 Apr 2009, saintgunni wrote:

    re: No.3. Given your grammar and spelling I suggest you require a Scottish education rather than two football teams, do you have this declaration from FIFA about the olympic team on paper signed by Mr Blatter? Nope didn't think so because it does not exist. The fact is that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own Associations and have operated them for over a century, we'd like to keep it that way, Welsh teams already feature in the English league and this does not interfere with the Welsh national team, so why would the O.F be treated any differently, I for one hope that they do go, if your borderline xenophobia is anything to go by then they will fit right in

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  • 93. At 2:03pm on 21 Apr 2009, Magical-Trevor22 wrote:

    Rangers and Celtic joining the Premier League is bad news for everyone. The moronic behaviour of some on both sides of Glasgow has long since vanished from the English game. Both Teams enjoy a revenue stream from European games each year, which will almost certainly disappear - I cant see either Rangers or Celtic getting into the Champions League for at least 4 years and would probobly struggle to get into the UEFA Cup. This loss of revenue would make them weaker, not stronger and god forbid should they get relegated to the Championship, then as others have said, they would go the same way as Nottingham Forrest or Charlton. Scotland has become the early retirement home of has been stars and they would struggle over a season in a league which is considerably faster paced than the one they play in now.

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  • 94. At 2:07pm on 21 Apr 2009, Kris wrote:

    i can see the point but look at cardiff swansea and wrexham

    both play in the english pyramid and it has given more strength to wales on a whole

    yes the welsh league system has struggled it always has though people in wales support the the clubs that left for english leagues

    and there is this reoccurring debate about the big three putting reserve teams in the welsh system, not a bad idea i think, i think it would generate money, ad i think if the old firm left and put there reserve teams in the scottish system not as much is lost

    the other teams in the spl will have a better chance to grow as a result of this with both Cl spots and the uefa cup spot all up for grabs, if your in european cups your going to get more money we all know this

    so far as i can see scottish football may decline, but i do think it is unlikely and as regards to independent nations, wales have kept theirs with their 3 best clubs playing in england and i cant see the situation changing if old firm head south

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  • 95. At 2:08pm on 21 Apr 2009, velkyal wrote:

    "The fact that many of us are also proud to be British and believe in the Union is irrelevant. They are not mutually exclusive."

    Thank God there are some sensible fellow Scots out there - even if they do support Rangers! Surely the question for the other sides in the SPL is not how do we deal with Rangers and Celtic, but how do we emulate and beat them?

    Oh and why is there only an option to "complain about this comment"? As if all us Scots can do is bitch and moan at each other...oh wait.

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  • 96. At 2:09pm on 21 Apr 2009, maverick_9 wrote:

    "At 12:16pm on 21 Apr 2009, ....and surely that's great news for the rest of scottish football. wrote:

    I doubt it would even have the standing of The League of Ireland - In fact, the Welsh League is probably a better comparison, because at least Ireland don't have anyone playing on their territory, but not involved in their national league."


    Isn't that what Linfield et al are doing? ;)

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  • 97. At 2:09pm on 21 Apr 2009, happycockneyjock wrote:

    great news for rangers and the other lot, but bad news for scottish football, its a double edge sword this one , no other scottish team or fan wants the old firm , but boy will they miss there cash, scottish football will die with out the old firm,
    but heres one to ponder will the old firm fans pay premier league prices ? i am a cockney jock have been all my life , always chelsea /rangers and scotland , even though i live in london. but its now cheaper for me to fly in for a rangers game than go to a chelsea game, and there not even the dearest team in the premier league,but this current day dream looks a little closer as eufa have said tey will not stand in the way of the old firm, this is one debate thats going to run and run, nice blog chick.

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  • 98. At 2:11pm on 21 Apr 2009, duncarron wrote:

    I would just like applaud linchpyn63 who said @ 12:39pm he would turn his back on Rangers should they move to the English leagues!! I too would do this! My father was a Third Lanark fan who couldn't bring himself to support another Scottish club after they went bust. However he was in the Merchant Navy for a while ans spent a lot of time in London. He came to follow Tottenham Hotspur and i was raised as a Tottenham supporter. I similarly became a Rangers fan through a chance happening, i.e. in Primary 1 a classmate asked me who i supported - i knew Tottenham wasn't the answer he was looking for so i said i don't know...who do you support, he replied Rangers, i said me too! Thats it, if he'd said Celtic i would be a Celtic fan (although im eternally grateful he didnt - that said it couldve been worse he could've said St Mirren :)

    The point is, i am a supporter of both, and for good reason (not just to 'have' an English team) If Rangers turned their back on Scotland i will turn my back on them, end of! They would be an English team in all but location...i already support Tottenham in England!

    If all OF supporters were to do the same, we could throw our weight behind Partick Thistle, or Queen's Park - wouldn't that be awesome...Hampden Park, full, for Queen's Park matches!! Sounds great to me! Of course this wouldn't happen and most would keep their loyalties where they are! It would be a loss to the Scottish game and one from which i hope it would be able to recover - who knows!

    To pcurrie56 who said @ 1:16pm Celtic were founded by Irish immigrants and so the fans 'have a right' to keep some of their heritage! I agree, in the same way that my friend Rizwan has the right to maintain his Pakistani heritage....BUT RIZWAN WOULD PLAY FOR SCOTLAND BEFORE PAKISTAN! Not one Rangers supporter with a grandpa from Ulster would play for Northern Ireland over Scotland! Aiden McGeady....hello!

    Dont say what you did and ignore the depth of the problem amongst Celtic supporters supporting Ireland over Scotland! And Chick's right, too many Rangers supporters have some kind of affinity with England (although it is no where near as bad - most cling to the idea of GB which in turn i suppose confises some into thinking they should support England, or parade around in England strips...its idiotic to say the least!) But the whole Ireland thing at Celtic is so much more than that and whilst maintaining one's heritage is important, so is accepting a new nationality should you emigrate! And as none of the Celtic supporters today are from the generation that emigrated from Ireland but were in fact born be more pro Ireland than you are pro Scotland is wrong!

    Going back to the original point to Chick for a good blog, but let them go if its what they want! Is it important to Scotland to have a great football league? No, its just important having a football league - its been mince for years but people still go to watch do they not? They do, and would continue to do so if or when the OF leave!

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  • 99. At 2:12pm on 21 Apr 2009, joculardeek wrote:

    Ah Scotland slating the old firm again, will we still be crying if the much needed extra revenue brings one or the other a CL final or cup, I doubt it.
    For right or for wrong Celtic and Rangers have brought the SPL to the world with brief flurries for Dundee Utd and Aberdeen. Because of them many more people know about our second string league than otherwise would. They provide the driving force, history and romance of the SPL, they always have done, even before money became such a defining factor in football.
    Not so very unusual, always it's three or four teams who set the standard in any league.

    In Scotalnd we're a bit deficient, in that historically it's largely been two teams who've been consistant winners over the years.
    You can point the finger and shout foul but I think the clubs should be congratulated for adhereing to standards other Scottish teams just can't seem to muster. They set the bar and keep raising it, as a Celt I'm not concerned that other team rarely make a challange, that upsets that status quo. Sorry guys but football is about playing to win. It's simply churlish to expect the OF to worry about the success of other clubs, that is the resposibilty of other clubs not Rangers and Celtic.
    History proves they are not unassailable, yet they are constantly criticised for being out front.

    Here in The Netherlands, Aalkmaar have just upset the big three by taking the title, though hard work, training and dogged determination.
    I feel Scottish football has for too long blamed her ills on the existance of a Old Firm, that actually bring the shine to the SPL.
    it's a bit like blaming the English for all our mdern day ills.
    Total rubbish, I invite the detractors to come to Holland and see how you should develop the game at grass root level, great facilities, concentration on technique rather than a kick around in the rain, business and family supporting all the amateur clubs, clubs fielding three or four team in different level of competition, so the carrot of playing at a higher standard next season is there for the many, rather than the few.
    Well organised football associations certainly help (listening SFA)
    Now go and count the number of players from Holland playing at big clubs abroad, it's no acciden,t it begins when their are 9-10 years old, being being taught technique and how to play with both feet, (how many Scottish stars are proficient with both feet)

    I'm doubtful that Rangers and Celtic will go to to the EPL, as it seems to me we've all been here many times before.
    But If they do, I relish the chance for two Scottish based clubs to go down there and play against the best, fail or win it will be a great spectacle and a golden opportunity to silence the rediculous claims by English supporters that we'd be relagated in the firsat season. Chic you're a Scot doesnt that get on YOU'R goat.
    It's pure fantsy, unfortunately football is about financing these days, if the OF were to realise theie financial potential then we could compete down there, in 5 -10 years maybe even be contenders (think Chealsea & Blackburn)
    I doubt any of the English teams would relish the visits to Celtic Park or Ibrox.

    So IF it happens, Scottish football has to move on, reinvent itself and bring back some of grass root passion, this sport used to command in Scotland, money needs to be be spent wisely and the magic brought back to the game of football in Scotland, the passion, pride and ambition is what's lacking in Scottish football from grass root level onwards.
    Properly managed there's no reason Scotland can't emulate Holland with or without the Old Firm playng in SPL.

    In all this, if they depart, you could say the excuse the football public loves to bring to the argument, on the poor showing of Scottish football will be gone, what then???

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  • 100. At 2:13pm on 21 Apr 2009, Ben Donnelly wrote:

    In addition to what it'll do to the Scottish League that's left behind. It's not going to help Rangers and Celtic fans either. Can you imagine being a fan of one of the Old Firm teams and then finding out all of a sudden that away games are going to be 3 times as far away all of a sudden. Even the relatively short journeys to the likes of Sunderland are going to be long and expensive. Travelling as far as Wigan would put most people off. Going to Aston Villa would mean a huge expense and probably an early start and late return. Going to London or Portsmouth would mean air travel and overnight stay. That on top of a Premiership season ticket will be too much for most fans to deal with. And that's if they can actually put the time aside to travel. So they'll be replaced with English fans and armchair followers who might take it in turns to go to one or two away games per season.

    If all things were equal, Rangers and Celtic would have no trouble competing in the Premiership. They are a good deal stronger than most Championship sides - the evidence is in their results when they play English teams in pre-season. However all things are not equal. The teams will have no real backing away from home in England and would consequently struggle. In ANY English division. Of course at home they'd be almost unbeatable for the same reason.

    Cardiff and Swansea manage it because getting in and out of England and back is nowhere near as difficult.

    Add to that that the Old Firm teams won't be able to play in Europe because they can't represent England in Europe and more than Cardiff can, and of course not being in the Scottish League they'll be turning their backs on that route to it. Unless they're content with playing in the Scottish cups still and getting into the Europa league through those.

    Of course they will get one positive effect out of this, which will be getting suspensions revoked for them by the Scottish FA, just as Cardiff always seem to manage whenever they've had players sent off.

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  • 101. At 2:13pm on 21 Apr 2009, L-M-R FC wrote:

    for everyone who says rangers and celtic would fail in the english leagues, couldnt compete with PL teams, would be a mid-table championship side etc, i feel obliged to point out that in the CL this season, celtic were 6 minutes away from beating man utd at home. how many PL teams can say that this season? why would celtic and rangers fail just because english people love to believe it?

    i dont know if they would or wouldnt, but in trying to think of a way to compare the OF to PL teams i remembered the match i watched back in late 2008 in which celtic went out in front of their fans with a job to do and were organized and spirited enough to very nearly beat the best club in the world at the time.

    organisation, spirit and fight, sound familiar to mid/lower PL teams?

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  • 102. At 2:17pm on 21 Apr 2009, VenomPD wrote:

    It's a valid argument but it's missing another side that says the other 10 teams in the SPL would have a better chance to win. We're a small country, which has two massive football teams in relation to big clubs in other comparable nations. As it stands Celtic & Rangers already have the blood of Scottish football on their hands as no other team has won our league for 25 years. I don't believe that losing Celtic or Rangers would harm the league in the long-term, it may cause a loss in TV revenue at first but surely attendances would rise if there were to be more competition for the championship. And if Celtic & Rangers can move to English football, why couldn't there be a British cup in place of the League Cups, this would surely be a money spinner for ALL smaller clubs in Britain. The possibility that there could be four Scottish teams in the Champions League, at any stage, is mouth-watering.

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  • 103. At 2:18pm on 21 Apr 2009, simatespurs wrote:

    As an Englishman I want the old firm to stay where they are. My view isn't to do with money or where they would be placed - I simply think that English supporters would be shocked by the level of bigotry and racism that is allowed to pass by in Scottish grounds.

    Having been exposed to quite a lot of this while working in Scotland, I think the whole country still has a chip on its shoulder, and what gets excused as friendly banter is often deep seated racism and not just from Glasgow supporters.

    England is a long way from perfect but we are light years ahead of the huge numbers of bigots, and I don't want them down here.

    Watch the premier league darts on Thursday, I think it's in Aberdeen. At first you will smile at the friendly booing of every English player. Then as it goes on and on and on through the evening you'll come to realise that there is no friendship and then you wonder at the mentality of people paying to come to an event in which 8 of the 12 players are English just to boo them.

    I think it's time to stop making excuses for Scottish racism and make them face up to the levels of behaviour that any civilised society should expect of itself.

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  • 104. At 2:19pm on 21 Apr 2009, Srsweenie wrote:

    "Not that, I suspect, huge swathes of their support - blinded as they are with a love of Ireland and England and a loathing of the Tartan Army - will care"

    I lost interest at this point. I know many OF supporters (I myself am one) and not a single one loaths the Tartan Army, or supports England. A completely biased and childish view Chic.

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  • 105. At 2:19pm on 21 Apr 2009, goggyturk wrote:

    "What a divided little nation we are. And we are about; it seems, to be sliced once again."

    Hate to point this out, but Scotland isn't divided. Glasgow is. In the part of the world I and most Scots come from, nobody cares a jot whether you're Protestant, Catholic, Rastafarian or a Witch Doctor.

    Would it really be such a great tragedy if the professional game in Scotland went down the pan? The SPL must be the most boring league in Europe and for the last 20 years only two teams have ever looked like winning it.

    Meanwhile, in the real world, I actually get more enjoyment from going to see the semi-pro football in the local area than going to see my local SPL team. Better entertainment, less poisonous atmosphere, more genuine people.

    So let it die I say. Maybe something interesting will come after that, and at least there will only be the SFA left to run things.

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  • 106. At 2:19pm on 21 Apr 2009, Davyboy wrote:

    Let them come but let them start at the bottom of the pyramid which in their cace would I believe be the Northern Alliance Division 1 I' sure their grounds will be up to the required standard lol

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  • 107. At 2:22pm on 21 Apr 2009, Mike D wrote:

    We don't want the Old Firm in the Premier League. Full stop, can't see the point of it. Why would we dilute the quality of the most exciting league in the world with two very ordinary sides. I watched the recent scottish league cup final and was dismayed, I have seen more technical ability at a championship game.

    Celtic will be mid-table and average reliant on their home form, much like their Champions League performances, Rangers will struggle as they seriously lack quality.

    With regard to the rest of Scotland, the standard of football is shocking. I went to see Aberdeen vs Hamilton at Pittodrie (oh the glamour) and I think that there are better teams in League 2, the pies were good though.

    I don't know what the absence of the Old Firm will have on the other teams, but as a Scotsman living in England I can't help but think that less money in the game will reduce the number of average foreigners, meaning more born and bred local players = better national team in the future.

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  • 108. At 2:29pm on 21 Apr 2009, pooliecraig wrote:

    All the comments seem to be about what the OF and SPL will gain and lose if the OF came to England.
    The Question should be, what will English football gain from having Rangers and Celtic in it?
    The answer is not a lot.... Which two english teams will suffer relegation in there places?
    If they do a Leeds, Forest or Man city, three big teams who have all been relegated to the third tear of the English game, will they still be keen to be down here? And don't say they wont go down as they will be able to attract top class players and will sell over 50,000 tickets each match and have fanatical support, just look at Newcastle this season.
    In short, the grass is not greener. Stay were you are. Your not wanted. your not needed. you will be missed and one day you'll want to go back home!

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  • 109. At 2:30pm on 21 Apr 2009, deejamo wrote:

    The United Kingdom Football League (UKFL)... Has a nice ring to it!

    It is not as if we would need a passport to any of the away games!
    Elland Road would look forward to hosting Kilmarnock in the Championship next season...

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  • 110. At 2:31pm on 21 Apr 2009, Colin wrote:

    your league is full of diddy teams just there to make up the numbers, Bolton, Middlesborough, Portsmouth, Wigan huge teams ha ha!

    Oh yes...and thats the criteria for you joining is it ? your bigger than us, so your in and we are out.

    Diddy teams they may be, but they got to the EPL on merit, they didnt buy themselves in. I suppose Wolves, currently a championship team but next season Premiership are also Diddy ? I suppose all the so called big teams with massive support contest one league and the rest of us can go and whistle....what next...Ban English teams from the FA cup to accomodate You lot ? SORRY Forest Green have battled through all the qualifying rounds to reach the first round....but Celtic and Rangers fancy the honourable things old chaps and sod off !

    And its might need to learn that.

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  • 111. At 2:33pm on 21 Apr 2009, glesgabhoy wrote:

    I wouldn't expect any of the teams in england to want Celtic in their league, especially the 'big 4'. It would take a while but with our support and the money we would get from TV, Celtic would run amock down there. Couldn't care less about rangers.

    P.S. I don't want Celtic to leave Scotland as it makes it all the sweeter when we tan youse english boys but I'd have no fear about team joining the english league.

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  • 112. At 2:34pm on 21 Apr 2009, DoverAthleticLad wrote:

    Why would the non 'big 4' teams spurs, west ham, everton, aston villa, etc, etc want Rangers and Celtic in the Premier League?
    Surely their chances of getting into the UEFA cup (Europa League) would be reduced and they wouldn't want that.

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  • 113. At 2:35pm on 21 Apr 2009, Nessy wrote:

    A lot of people seem to have missed the point that the OF wouldn't be simply dropped into the Premier League as it is, they would instead be drafted into a new Premier League second division, from which only one club a season would be relegated.

    While there still remains the question of what might happen should one of the Old Firm be the team to face the drop, anyone suggesting they'd be likely to go down (making them the 36th best team in the set-up) is delusional. The spot in question is currenly occupied by Doncaster. No offence to them, but...

    I think the idea of the clubs putting second teams into the Scottish league makes a lot of sense. For that matter, what if Liverpool and Man United were to also put reserve teams into the Scottish league? Or, for that matter, the Coca Cola Football League, which would otherwise be left with an inconvenient 58 teams to organise.

    And if people are going to argue about winning promotion to the top flight, I hope you all also demand to see Arsenal forcibly relegated, since they never won their place there either! ;P

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  • 114. At 2:36pm on 21 Apr 2009, the-old-castle-rock wrote:

    Best blog by Mr Young that I have read. Sober and factual in a pithy concise style, mostly free from the cliche that has been a distracting feature of his writing in the past.

    Maybe the a-grade journalism comes out when the topic is big enough. His argument is correct and unanswerable. Bravo.

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  • 115. At 2:37pm on 21 Apr 2009, dcrulesok wrote:

    John Boyle is never right.

    About anything.

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  • 116. At 2:40pm on 21 Apr 2009, goggyturk wrote:

    #103 - what planet are you on? If you go to a pre-season friendly between English and Scots teams (which I've done on many occasions) you'll never hear of players being booed for being English.

    Most of the English folk I know where I come from (and I know a lot) enjoy living in Scotland and don't see any of this 'bigotry' you speak of.

    Maybe it's you that's got the chip on your shoulder. Try growing some thicker skin for the next time someone tries to wind you up.

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  • 117. At 2:42pm on 21 Apr 2009, RubberNutz wrote:

    # 105 "Hate to point this out, but Scotland isn't divided. Glasgow is. In the part of the world I and most Scots come from, nobody cares a jot whether you're Protestant, Catholic, Rastafarian or a Witch Doctor."

    Bang on the money - One of my best mates is a Motherwell supporter and they know a fair range of anti-catholic and anti-protestant songs. They're not particularly passionate about them either way, but they know it will just wind up whichever side of the old firm they are playing!

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  • 118. At 2:43pm on 21 Apr 2009, Nick wrote:

    #90 surely knows nothing about English football. Surely calling the EPL as a duopoly is bonkers!! Liverpool haven't won a title for 19 years. Yes Arsenal have slipped up a bit but once the property ventures are finished and most of the stadium is paid they could well buy bigger players. AT least they are bringing a lot of English youngsters through the ranks and into the first team squad and also loaning them out to other clubs to gain experience. Chelsea have also slipped up a bit as well this year.

    For some reason you think Celtic and Rangers have bigger fan bases than most of the EPL. I think a reality check is needed. Arsenal still have a 40,000 waiting list for a season ticket. Spurs have over 20,000. Lets see how well the OF would do when they aren't in contention for any trophy and can't get to Europe either.

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  • 119. At 2:44pm on 21 Apr 2009, saintgunni wrote:

    Reading some of these posts from fans in England the concensus appears to be that they don't want Rangers or Celtic, fair enough, they are our problem and we have dealt with it for 100 years so nothing will change. To suggest, however that they would struggle in England is a joke, in fanbase and merchandising they are already the 2nd and 3rd biggest clubs in the UK, only Man U can compare, given the amounts of money the would receive from T.V it would not be long before they could out purchase everyone bar Chelsea, Man utd, and Man City in the transfer market. To suggest that they could go the same way as Nottingham Forrest or Charlton is rediculous, if the O.F. were to be admitted to the E.P.L they would become far more viable options to purchase for the Arab millionaires than most other clubs in England.

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  • 120. At 2:52pm on 21 Apr 2009, simatespurs wrote:

    #116 watch the darts on Sky on Thursday then come back and tell me how proud of your country you are.

    I loved living in Scotland (Edinburgh that is). It's wrong to generalise about a whole country so I won't, but on balance I would simply say there are far too many bigots per head of population

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  • 121. At 2:57pm on 21 Apr 2009, KingRussV wrote:

    I would like to see Celtic (and Rangers so we could take 6 points off them) in the English league mainly because i want Celtic to prove that they can be one of the best teams in the world (and believe me, it would happen!)

    It's ok all the English supporters saying 'you're a championship team at most' blah blah blah, but take a serious look at the situation and you'll see that in fact we'd probably be a top 6 club within 6 years.

    I can understand the impact it would have on the Scottish league and i really can't give an opinion on that. My opinion comes from me wanting Celtic to compete at the highest level possible.

    Maybe I'm shallow, but i'm sure Cardiff and Swansea supporters are happy that they play in the English league over the Welsh league (No need to regurgitate and facts here, it's just to get a point across).

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  • 122. At 2:57pm on 21 Apr 2009, RobJonesgoodknee wrote:

    Something the SFA would have to look at is Champions League and Europa League (what a stupid new name for the UEFA cup) qualification.

    If Celtic and Rangers leave your league, you'd be worse off then the majority of other UEFA recognised countries in terms of the standard of football in the top tier of the domestic league. That would mean less European places given to you, and the winners of the league would more than likely have to play at least 3 qualification matches, just to try and get into the Champions League. Look at Belgium - Standard Liege had to play Liverpool in their qualification match. Liverpool were 4th in their league, Standard won their league. Not fair is it. And Liege went out. The Belgian league is just the same (if not slightly better) in standard as the Scottish, so it doesn't take a genius to see that you'd be worse off.

    The standard of player attracted to your league would also be worse, so those teams playing european qualification matches would have even less chance of getting into the tournaments 'proper' than they do now. I know Celtic and Rangers don't do amazingly in the Champions league, but at least they get in it fairly often, or do OK in the UEFA cup. Hearts have even had a go. But if Celtic and Rangers leave, it would be extremely rare to see a Scottish team in either of those competitions.

    And for those saying it would mean young Scottish players get a better chance of playing and developing at Scottish clubs, I think you're dreaming there. Sadly, in today's world, talented young players prefer to go to a big club and sit on the bench or in the reserves rather than play regularly in a weaker team. They take money over playing time almost 100% of the time. Put Scottish clubs in a weaker position with less TV money and less support on the whole, and they will have to pay players less. Then the 'big' English clubs will scout those players, offer them big wages, snap them up and let them rot in the reserves if they're no good. The Scottish clubs won't be able to say no this as they'll need the transfer money, as they'd have less income.

    Chick Young can be a bit sensationalist with some of his comments and wording, but he is spot on when he says that letting Celtic and Rangers leave you league will kill the game north of the border.

    And for those English fans who say Celtic and Rangers won't be any good in our league, you watch - if they get more TV revenue, and will be playing regularly against top English teams, players will be more attracted to playing for them. They have large enough supports to rival any team in England and with some more money they would be a real threat.

    Still, they should never be allowed to just waltz in - as has been stated numerous times before - make them start at the bottom. Otherwise the whole thing would be grossly unfair!

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  • 123. At 3:01pm on 21 Apr 2009, Alex McGeorge wrote:

    The bottom line about all this is simply money.Some big English clubs will not want another 2 huge clubs to join in the hunt for the pot of gold. I believe that in the near future UEFA will bring in a rule to curb the power of the Top Four in England due to their dominance in the transfer market and thereby the Champions League. Make no mistake Celtic and Rangers will easily compete in a Premiership 2 and with the increase in revenues ,not least from having parity with English clubs Sky TV money, would soon be in the top division.
    Football is all about money and if Sky TV want to add interest to the competition and decide the Old Firm will be a big draw, it will be a done deal.The other Scottish clubs will have no say in the matter cos when given the choice the Old Firm will have to step up or step off!Most of the English clubs will vote for it ,too ,because it will (a)minimise the threat of relegation and(b) reduce the size of the parachute payment to relegated clubs each year.
    So forget all the sentimental arguments and face the fact that professional football is a big business which is driven ultimately by the satellite media.

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  • 124. At 3:02pm on 21 Apr 2009, Ruarai wrote:

    Look Chick, I hate to break the news to you, but what Scottish football stood for for a century was for the duration of that time reflective of that time: A pre-globalised world where people lived locally and rarely thought beyond national borders.

    That time has passed. Either the entire Scottish game realises that, including Celtic and Rangers, or they die.

    Your argument that a home fixture between St Mirren and Kilmarnock would be starved of coverage were Celtic to play Chelsea is evidence not of an injustice but of where the people choose to focus their interest. Trying to preserve the grandeur of St Mirren's home fixtures in the age of the Champions League, the internet, cheap air travel and holidays in Antigua is akin to trying to preserve a highly paid low skilled manufacturing workforce. It's over.

    Looking in on "top flight" football from the US makes your argument even stranger. Crowds of 100,000 plus are mandatory for NFL games. How many games do St Mirren need to play in order to get 100,000? Not the same thing, you say? Damn right it's not and that's the point. The so-called top flight in England and Scotland and most of Europe is in reality some big clubs and the rest panting to keep. It's boring and uncompetitive. Here Washington play New York play LA play Arizona, etc. There Dundee play Dundee Utd! And you think the problem is lack of coverage?! The problem is that there is nothing to cover worth covering!

    As for complaining about how Celtic and Rangers became big clubs, get over it. The point is we are big clubs. Very big clubs. And we're playing in a very small league. You suggest that we carry it. No. That implies it's surviving. It's dead already! It is a competition with no competition, a spectacle with few spectators, a Scottish showcase with for the world's most popular sport with no one interested in seeing the show outside of Scotland. The GAA is more popular worldwide and it's amature!

    The Old Firm leaving would indeed reduce the ever decreasing stature of the Scottish Premier League but not artificially. It would simply expose St Mirren home games for what they are. Low interest, low quality parochial affairs that ought to attract little money or interest outside of their local parish. What right do they have to more? The Old Firm leaving should be just the start. Across Europe, the giant clubs should be competing directly. The smaller clubs should be doing likewise. Aberdeen, Linfield, Cardiff and Shamrock Rovers would be far better off, more interesting and more newsworthy if they were in a league paying each other. It's not about the giants leaving and the coat-trailers dying. It's about everyone operating in the market that suits them. Welcome to Globalisation. Grow or die.

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  • 125. At 3:04pm on 21 Apr 2009, CharltonKing wrote:

    I am totally agreeing with Nick_Hove_Actually regarding comment 90
    The Premiership is hardly dieing on it's feet with more and more mid table teams creeping into the big four (Everton and Aston Villa), sides with better infrastructure are gaining promotion to the Premiership and staying there (Stoke City), the big four are constantly grappling with eachother for domestic glory with the odd win from a lesser side (Tottenham or Middlesborough) and the relegation battles always seem to go right down to the wire! No one else has "done a derby". All this adds greater competition to the premiership which would increase fan bases, money and would attract a better quality of football. Quite frankly the last thing we need is the insertion of two B-rate sides who fail to match the class of the top four let alone the mid table sides (where have Rangers and Celtic been in European competitions over the past few years!) Although scottish football is passionate and to the point, it is still 10 years behind the the Premiership in infrastructure and quality whichever way you look at it.

    Great blog Chick

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  • 126. At 3:04pm on 21 Apr 2009, Glasgow's own Tyrone Bhoy wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 127. At 3:06pm on 21 Apr 2009, lairdish wrote:

    Starfire_99 wrote:
    @ #27
    Ok we'll look at all the times The Old Firm have crossed swords with English teams in Europe then. Hardly an impressive record you have against them is it?

    Perhaps you should look at the record then...........

    Old Firm v. English teams in European competitions
    P24 W10 D6 L8

    Looks like it is the English with the least impressive record!

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  • 128. At 3:06pm on 21 Apr 2009, Highbury84 wrote:

    Hi Chick, good blog as ever.

    Its hard to know what to feel about this really. Firstly I feel for anyone in scotland who doesnt follow the old Firm because it seems such an uncompetitive league, with titles being won or lost on a handful of dropped points over the whole season. It is true that England has a "big 4" but there are plenty of other strong teams such as Villa/Everton/(and even)Spurs who have a pedigree of trophies and always give the big four a hard game. Then there are teams like Bolton and Blackburn (and, this season, hull) who can hold their own against more technical and successful sides. Removing Celtic and Rangers from Scotland might give the other teams a chance by this logic.

    On the other hand, its hard not to feel that the Old Firm have no god-given right to stroll into the most successful and welathy league in the world, and I think they would quickly be in relegation trouble. The fans wont want to travel the distances and the resentment of clubs denied promotion that year would be intense. Celtic and Rangers might be big clubs north of the border but its hard to see them coping with the pace and quality of the premiership, and once they were rooted at Championship level what would have been the point?

    There is also the ugly sectarian side of their supporters which is not welcome down here where - barring a few idiotic morons - hooliganism has been stamped out. We all know the things Rangers fans got up to in Villareal and Manchester in recent years and why should this poison be injected into our leagues?

    Finally, if the old firm were to come into English football why not just pack up the entire apparatus of Scottish football? You are right Chick to note that to allow the two most successful Scottish clubs to come south would send a devastating message to the world about the paucity of the game in Scotland. A friend once described the SPL to me as "the Championship, but you always know who is going to win", and while this situation is not ideal, to allow two small fish from a smaller pond to flounder around in lower league English football hardly seems the solution.

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  • 129. At 3:11pm on 21 Apr 2009, brooklynbrawler wrote:

    IMO, the problem is not with the lack of money in our game, it is with the ridiculous excess of money in the English game, all caused by Sky TV and the blatant bias the restructuring of the European Cup to the "Champions League" with a focus on more and more teams of the bigger leagues getting the extra cash it brings by throwing them all in the top 2 seed pots.
    Not only are they getting the excessive league money, they are then collecting the excessive CL money and noone can compete.
    What's happening when the Italian champions and German Champions and French champions are not even coming close?
    It becomes a boring league.

    Just 10 years ago, while we were actually bringing in LESS money, we were able to attract stars along the calibre of Ronald De Boer, Brian Laudrup and Paul Gascoigme.
    When Robbie Keane is now "worth" (or not) £20m, then we can't even compete for the scraps. Never mind the wages being paid to very mediocre players in the EPL.

    The EPL is everything that is wrong with football, and despite the riches on offer, being a Rangers fan, I would advise to stay clear!
    The bubble has to burst and we shouild be nowhere near it when it does.
    If they cannot sustain their wages without a billionaire owner or over-inflated TV money, then many clubs will go the Gretna or Leeds way.

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  • 130. At 3:13pm on 21 Apr 2009, Rabster wrote:

    The proposal for an 'EPL2' is a non-starter, dreamed up because the less successful EPL sides have seen the writing on the wall. Luton, I understand were in the first ever Premier a Conference side.
    Charlton, a once proud, steady Premier side relegated to League One.
    More than half of the EPL can now see that fate befalling them. They want a safety net. The proposal (as I read it) meant the two "unspecified" arf, Scottish clubs would join EPL2. So no Europe for Rangers and Celtic, but a bit of added spice for the likes of Bolton, Hull et al to garner support.
    The idea of spreading the money from the (current) cash-cow that is the Premier League may be an appealing one, but there are easier ways of doing it. Btw, the consequences of this proposal would not only affect Scottish football, what about the current Football League in England?
    Three automatic promotions become only one, so the once mighty Leeds Utd. (and others) would have yet more roadblocks back to the big time.

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  • 131. At 3:16pm on 21 Apr 2009, Hairybaz wrote:

    being a rangers fan, scottish football is such poor quality and just generally bad to watch, Rangers and celtic should go into england!! better money and television. Rangers vs Kilmarnock or Rangers vs Newcastle etc etc easy decision??? chick young doesnt have a clue!!!!

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  • 132. At 3:16pm on 21 Apr 2009, Robert Jones wrote:

    'This is typical!

    All old firm fans hear is how they ruin the Scottish game and how the rest of the SPL suffers because of them.

    Now all of a sudden they are worried we might actually leave? Make your mind up!

    Have the rest of the SPL finally realised its the old firm that keep their clubs alive?'

    Grow up you idiot. Do you think that because you're lucky enough to support one of the big teams in Scotland that it gives you the right to be so selfish. The Old Firm (blinded by money) needs to recognize that it has a responsibility to the Scottish Premier League, indeed to Scottish football.

    Yes, the SPL is comparatively speaking a goldfish bowl (I won't win friend with this comment), but you two hold the majority of the best Scottish players, and older players like David Weir have seen a new lease of life (which has benefited the Scottish national side). Unfortunately, Rangers ruined selling Alan Hutton by sending him to Spurs.

    What happens when all the best players move on and ply their trade at mediocre teams in the English league - and be honest, that is all Rangers and Celtic will ever be if you moved down under the banner of the FA. If you win the cup competitions, it's doubtful you'd receive European football, since you're taking places which rightly belong to English clubs.

    It will reduce the SPL to something like the Welsh Premier (and trust me, I'm Welsh and I've lived here all my life) is not something you want. If the Old Firm do move, lose standing and fall down a division, will you come crawling back to Scotland, wanting a piece of the action (hahaha, imagine the SPL being action-packed)?

    By the way, I recognize that the fan whose comment I picked out was one person, but it does seem to make up a majority of your kind.

    The SPL is uncompetitive, and most of everything ends up in the hands of the Old Firm - but leaving will not even the share out, it will simply leave the SPL with nothing, rather than a small amount unfairly divided.

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  • 133. At 3:18pm on 21 Apr 2009, Pease Pudding wrote:

    If Chick was really concerned about his 'beloved' St Mirren and all the other poor wee teams Celtic and Rangers would leave behind, he'd spend less time at Ibrox than he currently does.

    Really. Who cares about Scotland and the SPL? I can't speak for Rangers, but it's been dragging Celtic down for decades. Critics are quick to criticise us as 'plastic paddys', an 'Irish team', some even ask 'why don't we go home' on a weekly basis, because the 'famine is over'.

    But as soon as there is a peep about us leaving this sorry mess of a country to better ourselves, then out come the tears and tantrums about the 'death of Scottish football'.

    You can't have it both ways.

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  • 134. At 3:20pm on 21 Apr 2009, Glasgow's own Tyrone Bhoy wrote:

    Not that, I suspect, huge swathes of their support - blinded as they are with a love of Ireland and England and a loathing of the Tartan Army - will care.

    who do you think you are Chick? how dare you come away with that comment it does not reflect all of the old firm supporters i will have you know. I follow Celtic all over Scotland and yes i see the idiots who sing songs of Ireland and that but I am NOT one of them. I am dedicated follower of SCOTLAND aswell i am at Hampden whenever i can get a hold of a ticket so dont you dare say i loathe the Tartan Army. Get your facts right Chick.

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  • 135. At 3:20pm on 21 Apr 2009, uncletinny wrote:

    What is evryone going on about? Rangers and Celtic are so far away from the Championship clubs it is untrue! They have fanatical support now, heaven knows what it would be like once they were in the top level English League. They would have the same TV money as the rest of the Premier and therefore would be on a financial level playing field. Once this happens they will be as big as our cirrent top four. The Sky (or whoever) TV money would be even higher because of their involvement. The down side for the two Scottish Clubs would be that they could not bank on European competition but that would be well compensated by the fact they would be playing all year in a much higher level of competition with the posibility of losing every weekend if they are not on their metal.
    It is a good idea for the English league and for the two scottish clubs but not for Scottish football. This is however something they will have to get over and with the increased parity somehow develop a more competitive league. Why not combine the two league cups at the change allowing all the Scottish teams to compete with the English teams. This might enable there to be some serious income for the Scottish teams. Also get the Premier League to have one 'phantom' club as a payment for getting the prize assets of the two olde firm teams and that be Scottish football. If the Prem paid £35M a year to the Scottish league they would have a decent standard and be competitive too!

    Uncle Tinny

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  • 136. At 3:21pm on 21 Apr 2009, HarryHert wrote:

    Hi Chic. My first time comment.
    I agree with your Blog 100%. I just wonder how the other teams in the Championship and League1 will feel about The Big 2 in Scotland jumping
    over them into Premier, after all it's big money for these clubs to give up potentialy. At first I thought a pox on their Houses but it would be shortsighted.

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  • 137. At 3:21pm on 21 Apr 2009, goggyturk wrote:

    #120 - I don't need to because I will be a proud Scotsman until the day I die and the *alleged* behaviour of a few beer-fuelled morons will never change that.

    I don't understand how you loved living in Edinburgh if it was so full of bigots, but unfortunately every country has them. But it's wrong to generalise, as you do, about the attitude of the majority from a small minority.

    If I had a pound for every English person that called me 'Jock' or tried to wind me up about being Scottish I'd be a rich man, but I've certainly never held it against any of them because it's just talk. Banter. A joke.

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  • 138. At 3:22pm on 21 Apr 2009, SeanieGilbo wrote:

    It's a very valid point and well made too...... north of the border.

    For the vast majority south of the border, it isn't even a debate. We neither want nor require Rangers or Celtic in our league(s). Thank you very much. Simples.

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  • 139. At 3:22pm on 21 Apr 2009, bitpick wrote:

    Am I not correct in saying that Cardiff and Swansea play in the English Leagues? Because of this I dont see any nationalistic arguement to be made here. The OF should of course leave the SPL - it is like a anchor slowing down the OF's progress and has been for too many years.

    I am from NI and most supporters here follow and attend OF games and EPL matches as the NI league is pathetic. If we can travel to matches across the Irish Sea the OF fans will travel to Portsmouth.

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  • 140. At 3:24pm on 21 Apr 2009, leeds_the_way wrote:

    The arguments for the Old Firm being competitive are ridiculous, so what if they have 50-60k every game? So do Newcastle and they're in serious danger of dropping to the Championship. The TV money, and particularly Champions League money, is what permits the buying of big players. If the Old Firm moved they would seriously struggle to break into the top four (if not even six against Villa and Everton).

    As Man City have shown, you cannot attract any player you desire purely with cold hard cash. Many still have other considerations, in particular european competition in order to achieve fame and career success. The Old Firm would be unable to offer this if they moved south.

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  • 141. At 3:25pm on 21 Apr 2009, U13927156 wrote:


    I personally have to agree with posting #21 on one simple topic--"The Old Firm would compete with the Big Four. Who ever that is. Everyone may differ on this to some degree. In London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, and Newcastle there are many, many Celtic and Rangers supporters. I must say it seems Celtic have a bigger following in my mind. My mates and I see many of the Hoops faithful every week at the local pubs. When I was in the States(Chicago) a few weeks ago I personally witnessed two different Celtic supporter chapters as well as one Gers chapter. I'd also like to point out this was at two different pubs that were largely (Manc)Utd and Gooner spots. I do agree with the many that have posted on this site that for a certain amount of time the SPL will suffer. But, only for a time. Anyway, Celtic and Gers already manopolize the newspapers and nightly TV sports news. So, nothing would change. The 21st posting was spot on about the lads both Celtic and Gers would be able to sign. The OF would be able to have the same caliber of player that any Villa, WHUFC, Spurs, Newcastle, etc sized club could get. The reason why Celtic and Gers cannot get that type of player currently is simply because the SPL is a two horse race each and every year. And, honestly all smart players know that whilst one can play in the Champions league on either Cletic or Gers the reality is they rarely get to the knock out stages. The two OF clubs have no depth to hang consistantly with the EPL clubs in such Europeon competitions. If the two OF clubs were given the same money as the Big four in the EPL now there would be a change. At least one of the OF clubs would either be in the "big four" or finish in the top six. They may well not come down south for years to come but one day it will happen. Those two clubs are far too big to play in the SPL forever. Every few years we talk about the OF departing. It is a topic that is not going to go away. Remember, a few years back? There was talk of a Phoenix league with the OF playing the like of Ajax.

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  • 142. At 3:25pm on 21 Apr 2009, theohiohammer wrote:

    Truly without the Old Firm the SPL would fall to the levels of the Irish league in terms of media coverage. Nobody would care anymore. The English Premier League wants to expand and split for reasons that only benefit the richer clubs. This is about teams like Man Utd and Liverpool have 8 fewer league games to play to give them more time off for Europe. The fewer games wouldn't hurt their pockets nearly as much as the West Hams and Blackburns of the world who would have even more trouble keeping up with the Haves. To make their plan even better they're willing to bring over the Haves from the SPL to complete their upper tier of Rich British football clubs into one Billionaire's league where they can sit atop and not be bothered with the poor folk. They're willing to kill the Championship and the SPL to do it too. What do Celtic and Rangers really get out of this? More television and media exposure? Not by much. They've already got a huge fanbase in every major city in the world. Every game is televised they play. Pubs are full every Sunday morning to watch. What will be lost is their spots in European football. They can't outspend the top English clubs. Nobody can save Real or Milan. So now your two top Scottish clubs don't make Europe and the SPL will be lucky to get one spot in the new Europa league without them. So now you have zero Scottish teams in the Champions League and maybe one or two a year in Europa.

    The fans of Scottish football will suffer and you'll never be the same if this happens.

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  • 143. At 3:26pm on 21 Apr 2009, AlexFergusonsNose wrote:

    A reasonable blog Chic. The whole debate over the old firm going south detracts from the biggest issue in Scottish football. It's a poor quality product and those who run and manage the associations in Scotland are utterly clueless about how we change it.

    We have a farcical top league setup that splits near the end of the season and can't guarentee an equal number of home/away games with each team. We have a poor cultural attitude from our home grown footballers when the night clubs and drinking culture seems to take priorty over personal conduct and player fitness and we have a dreadful media that cannot get out of Glasgow often enough to focus on other teams.

    Instead of letting Rangers and Celtic go, isn't it about high time the powers that be asked the fans how football in the country should look?

    Let's get rid of the closed shop. Let's get some structure about the leagues and youth set up. Let's get serious about the quality of the product if it's something that's to be sold to the highest bidder.

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  • 144. At 3:31pm on 21 Apr 2009, thedirtymac wrote:

    Both Rangers and Celtic crave European football every year for two very big reasons:
    1) TV money (given the fact that SPL, even with OF teams, is not exactly box office...)
    2) It gives the players a chance to line up against some of the World's top players, and also gives the fans something to get excited about (even if it is only until Christmas the majority of the time)

    Yes, we would miss European football (at least in the short-term, because both teams would be competing in the top 6 within 5 years), but there would be plenty of exciting games domestically compared to what is currently on offer. Also, it doesn't matter one bit that Arsenal have 40K waiting list etc etc, because unless they are thinking of massively expanding the Emirates these people are never going to get tickets anyway! Both OF teams have a massive and loyal support (forget the riots for a second and consider the number of fans in Manchester last year - Celtic also have the same if not more of a fan base, and that's just in Scotland), and would never have a half empty stadium in the EPL (Middlesborough/Sunderland/Blackburn et al)...

    I would love to see Rangers competing against the best teams in the UK regularly, and actually believe that Scottish football would benefit from OF leaving. There are plenty of teams from other European leagues, regarded as smaller than SPL, who have decent levels of success in Europe due to higher competition internally. Scottish football's future is, however wholly dependent on the "amazing non-OF Tartan Army fans" getting off their a*ses and going to support their local teams, as opposed to waiting for Scotland games to come around...

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  • 145. At 3:32pm on 21 Apr 2009, glesgabhoy wrote:

    Post #127 Cracking point!!

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  • 146. At 3:32pm on 21 Apr 2009, The setup determines the motion wrote:

    You lambast the Old Firm (for the use of a better word) when they are here. They win everything, can they no do that.....?

    Here is the chance if it ever comes to past, that the rest of Scottish Football can stand up & be counted. Not just moan, gonnae no do that....please don't leave, we love you really.

    Chic, you can't have your cake & eat it too.....sorry

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  • 147. At 3:34pm on 21 Apr 2009, redpirate wrote:

    When you read or write articles on subjects such as this it is very difficult to push past all the xenophobic and jingoistic claptrap that usually accompanies the England / Scotland debate.

    As a fan of a side that will probably get relegated from the PL this year I certainly do not want two more sides demanding another slice of the ever decreasing financial pie that is the premier league. Make no mistake, as has been said, Rangers and celtic are massive clubs and they will certainly demand balance with what they will bring to the League. SO the Middlesbroughs, Hulls, Wolves the lower end PL clubs will have their own awards cut to amke way for these two and the knock on effect will be less money lower down and as a result already struggling clubs will find themselves up the creek with no financial paddle.

    Personally, I do not want either side in the league. Football is just about ridding itself of the disease of hooliganism but introduce celtic and rangers to england and I believe we will go back to the bad old days of the 1970's/1980's with pitches being ripped up and "England" and "Scotland" fans fighting in the street.

    As for other points raised on here. Many of the Stadia in England are modern and clean and a match for Ibrox and Parkhead in terms of facilities if not in size and as Newcastle fans would tell you at the moment, large stadium and lots of fans may not guarantee that either Rangers or Celtic would stay in the Premier League.

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  • 148. At 3:34pm on 21 Apr 2009, RobJonesgoodknee wrote:


    Nothing worth covering?! You can come back and say that when American 'Football' is more popular than 'Soccer' outside of the USA! Proper football (you know, the one played with the feet!) is the most popular game in the world bar none. The global audience is massive, and is down to the fact that almost every country in the world has a decent league and has regular match coverage.

    Your statement of 100'000 'mandatory' attendances is a complete load of rubbish as well - Get your facts right before making major claims. The average attendances are not all that more than the major football teams in Europe, which considering there are hundreds of clubs in each European country is pretty amazing. How many NFL teams are there in total?! 32 I made it. Not many teams for the fans to watch, hence the large audiences per game. In the third tier of Football in this country (which has 24 teams on it's own!!), Leeds, Leicester, etc, still pull in big audiences.

    NFL isn't really marketed towards the same type of sporting audience either. Football fans go to watch games to see the game. End of. My experience of NFL is that it is more of a day out, an event for the family to go to, with the actual sport not the sole reason people go.

    I don't think you have any idea about what you're talking about!

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  • 149. At 3:36pm on 21 Apr 2009, Lanky-ffc wrote:

    For everyone saying the Old Firm should start at the bottom. Would this mean starting in the UniBond League Division One North? If so it would take 7 succesive promotions to reach the Premiership. Would there fans still want to watch that?

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  • 150. At 3:37pm on 21 Apr 2009, bearkeg wrote:

    As a Man City fan who has witnessed Rangers in Manchester last year and a group of a hundred or so Rangers supporting there brother Hanovarians (Their words not mine) in Manchester last week by sing anti catholic songs and other vile racist nonsense at the City vs Hamburg game, we just do not want to go back to that kind of foul behaviour in the EPL.
    The fact seems to be that the supporters of these clubs as chic suggest driven by their religous / political allegiance and whilst you can silence the songs you cannot hide the facts.
    However as to the question does thr spl need them, only time would tell. It may well be though that the removal of the "politcal" factor may well allow the game to flourish, chuck in a squad and wage cap with rules about homegrown players and you may well find yourselves with a stronger league and national side. We could well end up looking north with envy.
    I know a number of EPL fans look at our own championship with envy.

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  • 151. At 3:42pm on 21 Apr 2009, Darryl Matheson wrote:

    If this were to happen, The Football League could be looking for more teams and an opportunity could open up for more Scottish clubs. Which I believe they would decline but would be wrong to do so.

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  • 152. At 3:43pm on 21 Apr 2009, Eewires wrote:

    I am amused by the polar views of 'they will be playing Hartlepool' or 'with all that money they would break into the top 4'. It is clear that Celtic and Rangers would both be able to avoid Hartlepool, but far from clear whether either or both of them could break the top 4 monopoly. Man City, Spurs, Wolves, Newcastle (to name just 4) all have big support, and have at times had loads of money (especially Wolves) and have all failed to make any lasting effect on the top 4.

    I think it is a huge gamble for the OF teams to take, being the next Middlesborough or Bolton is probably not what they have in mind...

    I also must congratulate #12. It would be nice to think that all genuine Scots would feel the same way. As a proud Englishman I would certainly find another, English, team if mine joined the Scottish league, even if they won it (they wouldn't), and I don't mean Man U, it would have to be a team that I could go and watch on a regular basis, not one from the other end of the country!!

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  • 153. At 3:45pm on 21 Apr 2009, supershunsuke wrote:

    At comment #3: You need to check your spelling of Scotland

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  • 154. At 3:47pm on 21 Apr 2009, Paul wrote:

    I can't quite get over the arrogance of the Old Firm and their supporters. Glasgow is in Scotland, these clubs wouldn't be quite so big if that weren't the case. What made them big is their history and location. That's easily forgotten. So is the misconception that the Old Firm are bigger than Wolves, Birmingham, Aston Villa, Sheffield Utd, etc.
    That's it, put simply.
    I don't hear Ajax, Hibs, Hearts, Anderlecht, FC Copenhagen, etc. bleating about their lack of resources and money. All of whom could easily establish themselves as bigger and better clubs given access to the money available in England.
    You cut your cloth accordingly, 95% of clubs in Europe would love a slice of English pie, but only two clubs and supporters are arrogant enough to believe they will be welcomed with open arms or indeed wanted.
    If it did ever happen, but I doubt it will, they should be told to go, but take your stadiums, shops and build them somewhere south of Hadrian's wall.

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  • 155. At 3:48pm on 21 Apr 2009, Diego-Seba-Riquelme wrote:

    Liked the direct style in your writing....really holds the reader hostage until the end of the article.I've read a few of your previous pieces and they amble along at a snails pace with no real emotion.But this my friend is a fantastic blog....I implore you to write like this about future topics.

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  • 156. At 3:50pm on 21 Apr 2009, welshbluenose wrote:

    Nicely thought provoking, and re-opening an old debate. Well written :-)

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  • 157. At 3:50pm on 21 Apr 2009, McLaren MP4-4 wrote:

    "Scottish football has stood for in a century and more is flushed right down the pan."

    And why not?

    I am not a fan of any of the old Firm but it seems a shame to prevent them taking a place as one of the nations (united Kingdom) top teams. Would you rather have too mediocre teams that at best do well in the UEFA cup or second round Champions League.

    I would love to see a team from Scotland, not an independent country remember, challenge for the real prize; the champions league. For a century Scottish football has done Ok but nothing more. If only 2 players per team made the starting line up that’s 4 players playing EPL football every week. So, from the national team point of view a much better situation.

    What are the negatives, the potential death of the Scottish league? No not really it would still exist but just on a much smaller scale. And why should it be any good if they can’t attract the players then it does not deserve to be any better. A good number of players like Fletcher (hibs) would leave but at worst end up in EPL 2. another win win situation for the national team as EPL2 or the championship would provide a better training ground for young Scottish players than the current Scottish leagues. So even if less Scottish players overall played in a top league the ones that did would be playing at a much higher level. Even if 30 played in the EPL and EPL2 that’s not a bad pool for Scotland to pick from.

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  • 158. At 3:52pm on 21 Apr 2009, etienne123 wrote:

    i'm english and all i'd say is we don't want them. we don't want their bigoted fans singing about ireland and ulster and wars from 300 years ago or whatever. keep it in glasgow and it's a shame for the rest of scotland who have to suffer these bores.

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  • 159. At 3:59pm on 21 Apr 2009, minuend wrote:

    Welsh clubs play in English leagues.

    English club plays in the Scottish league.

    Northern Ireland club plays in Irish league.

    New Zealand club plays in Australian league.

    Liechtenstein clubs play in the Swiss league.

    ...and there are others

    There is no precedent being set here. Both FIFA and UEFA accept and endorse such instances of cross border participation without affecting the status of national organisations.

    Rangers and Celtic going to England will be the best thing to happen to Scottish football.

    More open competition - less Chick Young

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  • 160. At 3:59pm on 21 Apr 2009, seagull001 wrote:

    So what if the SPL and lower divisions suffer as a result of the Old Firm leaving? Leaving aside a few bigger clubs like Aberdeen the rest attract smaller crowds than us down is Brighton, playing in League One. The money the SPL has attracted from TV rights is all about the Old Firm, and so the rest of Scottish football should just get used to the fact that no-one apart from the fans that go to games would be interested in watching SPL-lite matches on telly. Wake up to our world in the English lower leagues! You've been on the Old Firm gravy train so long, maybe it's time to stand on your own feet.
    Why not fold the SPL entirely, stick the Old Firm in the Prem (until they get relagated in their first year) and the rest of the teams in the Coca Cola Championship. The Scottish League clubs will end up like the Conference, but the fan base doesn't exist for it to be bigger.

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  • 161. At 3:59pm on 21 Apr 2009, JamD111 wrote:

    I'm sure I'll be repeating what many have already stated but here's my two pence.

    I'm a Rangers fan, basically because since I was 5 or 6 most of my best friends have supported Celtic, and I enjoyed the banter and winding them up. I've watched club since then and never miss a game. If the old firm were to join the English league I would never want to watch them again. I'm Scottish, my team are from Glasgow, the city I'm from, which is in Scotland. I'm not English, and have no desire to win the English league or the English FA cup. The thought of my team pretending to be English makes me cringe.

    I love Scottish football, and would love for a club like Dundee Utd. or Hearts to win the league - Hearts came close a few seasons back. This would be for the benefit of Scottish football as a whole - and generate more interest in it. For another club to get into the champions league would help re-distribute some wealth and allow them to sign better players and make the whole division more competitive.

    Clearly the SPL is in a status quo and something drastic has to happen to rekindle the excitement of the league. Instead of banishing the dominant teams - why can't we focus on improving the challengers? Dundee Utd. have been unlucky not beat Rangers & Celtic almost every time they've played them in the last couple of seasons. The Edinburgh teams surely have a large enough fanbase and beautiful enough setting to attract decent footballers - they just need more ambition. More consistant UEFA cup football would also help to attracting such players.

    If Rangers & Celtic leave, Scotland will surely lose its national side, and the SPL will lose its champions league & the three UEFA cup spots that we currently have. The most exciting thing for a fan of Scottish fooball is when teams from our little league go head-to-head with best in Europe and for our size and wealth and do surprisingly well. This will not happen again if the Old Firm leave - they struggle in their first seasons and will be lucky to get UEFA cup football again, let alone break into the top four. This would be disastarous for Scottish footballers who will then have minimal chance to play European football for any club. And who's to say Scottish players would even get much league football with the old firm teams - who would now suddenly have bigger wallets & fears of relegation.

    One last thing: I said I would not want to see Rangers play again, one more reason for that is that I hate English football. I feel it is representative of everythings that's wrong with the sport at the moment. It's all about money: managers being sacked after half a season, no-one from the youth system getting to play in the first team, £34m for wingers, I don't even want to know the cost of a season ticket at these clubs... The big four teams have ruined England's league and the Champions leage for the last few seasons - with these silly sides who have more money than pride or love of the game. It kills the sport. European football should be just that: European - I don't want to see three semi-finalists from one league. That's dull. And I don't want my team to be part of it.

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  • 162. At 4:03pm on 21 Apr 2009, pidge1877 wrote:

    Let them leave if they want to. They see themselves as Irish and English anyways so let them have their cake.

    If you take this season in the SPL so far and take away any fixtures involving the OF, as if they didnt exist, we would have a pretty competitive league.

    1. Hearts 48pts
    2. Dundee Utd 44pts
    3. Aberdeen 43pts
    4. Hibs 39pts
    5. Motherwell 39pts
    6. Kilmarnock 34pts
    7. Hamilton 34pts
    8. St Mirren 31pts
    9. Falkirk 28pts
    10.Inverness 28pts

    Thats pretty tight at both ends of the table. Yes we will lose European places and yes there will be less money in the game. But most teams started to budget sensibly a while ago. All most fans in Scotland want is to have a competitive league. We cant have that with the OF.

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  • 163. At 4:03pm on 21 Apr 2009, NUFCBoGE wrote:

    Many of the OF fans commentating on the fact that their huge fanbase and 'world wide appeal' will translate into success in the Premier League are simply wrong.

    As a supporter of a club who have not won a domestic trophy since 1955, and who still have more fans attending their matches home and away than the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool Everton etc, having a large passionate support does not translate into success on the pitch.

    All those who believe that simply moving to the English Premier League and getting an increase in TV money and thus success, should remeber that (whilst i believe the OF could survive maybe one season with their current squads) their teams are probably inferior to those of Wolves and Birmigham, never mind Fulham, Wigan etc.

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  • 164. At 4:04pm on 21 Apr 2009, megaforest1 wrote:

    I must admit, having looked at the blogs so far my opinion is still clouded.
    I am English, however I seriously had my eyes opened to the power and passion of the OF from my time living in Glasgow for 4 years.

    I have no doubt that having witnessed many SPL and European Games in both Ibrox and Parkhead, seeing the passion and the sheer size of these two clubs leaves me in no doubt that they will become serious EPL contenders within 5 years of being allowed to join.

    However, how sad would it be for the clubs left behind? Will they survive? What about the passion of the fans from the remaining clubs. It is a hard dilemna, and I see both sides.
    On a personal note I would love to see the OF come out of Scotland and join the EPL. The EPL is becoming just like the SPL anyway. Only the who will win is between one of four not one of two. Why not make it one of six and make it more exiting?

    There is no simple win here, and as much as I personally would like to see it happen, I fear it never will. How many other gates would this example open? A european league would be sure to follow to allow teams like Basel in Switzerland who dominate their league, or FC Copenhagen in Denmark. And a European league is not a good idea in my opinion.

    It is strange, the EPL has ruined football due to the money it attracts, yet it spices up teams desires to acheive it.
    I am a Forest fan and I have (and continue to do so) experience pain since dropping from the EPL and into obscurity. However, to become a part of the EPL is the dream, without EPL money we cannot become any bigger.
    This is shared by any Championship club, and is partly what makes this league in my opinion the best in Britain. But only because of the allur of the EPL.

    In short, money is the name of the game. And going forward, I think this will never change and we have to accept, yes money has ruined the game, but all teams need it to progress.

    The OF are no different.
    In short, no easy answers and whatever decision is made, the advantages will be equalled with as many disadvantages. It will all come down to the MOST people involved who can make the MOST money.

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  • 165. At 4:09pm on 21 Apr 2009, Schlermie wrote:

    Most of the posts from EPL fans have been to do with the EPL not needing the Old Firm. Sky & other TV companies will ultimately decide the make-up of the league and, with their worldwide fanbases, both sides of the Old Firm will be invited in - and not into the lower of the leagues either.
    The Old Firm will generate massive revenues for the TV companies - it's all about cash.
    Thanks 'Boro, Wigan, Portsmouth et al, but you're just not a big enough attraction for worldwide TV audiences.

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  • 166. At 4:14pm on 21 Apr 2009, bitpick wrote:


    That looks like an exciting league! Further proof if it was needed that the SPL would revert to a puddle should the OF go. No TV company would be interested in showing one single match in your 'new league'.

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  • 167. At 4:15pm on 21 Apr 2009, cheezy20009 wrote:

    i totally disagree. im a rangers supporter and for since the first day i went to see my beloved rangers at ibrox, im afraid to say out of every match i have ever been to only 10% can be considered to have been competitive i.e europe and old firm games. except on the rare occasion wen a shock comes about. whats the point on being a football supporter and following your team if u know that more than likely the game ur going to see is goin to be the same old story 10 men at the back n rangers or celtic tryin to break them down?? absoltely no point at all. thats not really sport is it???

    if rangers n celtic did move it would increase there quality and also the quality of the teams left behind because they may finally find out what winning is all about!!! bring on the epl if the gers n celts were there with our fan bases throughout the world we would be huge. and that would give scotland something to be proud of!! not to mention the increase in quality which would surely arise in our national team if our young scots were given the chance in the epl rather than where they start out today

    as a country of only 5million is there much point in tryin to have a high profile league anyway?? we should be following ireland and wales who have an idea of what leagues their countrys are big enough to have. rather than the spl which is a nothing league but wonders why its not as big as big european countrys. common sense. theres a huge difference between st mirren and a team like derby!! lol

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  • 168. At 4:18pm on 21 Apr 2009, moconnor1888 wrote:

    The sad reality is that every year that passes, the difference in standard between the Scottish League and top European leagues gets greater.
    I'd love if there was some way Scottish football could become a force again in Europe but it is just not realistic.
    Let's face it, European nights for both Old Firm clubs are by far the most exciting and important games for the fans. Unfortunately these nights may be few and far between as the standard between the big European leagues and the Scottish league becomes even bigger. The frustrating thing is that both Celtic and Rangers are 2 of the biggest clubs in Europe, both have massive fan bases. If the Old Firm could get into a stronger European League then I have no doubt that they could become two of the most successful clubs in Europe. They both have the fans, they both have the stadiums, what's missing is the millions and millions that they lose from tv rights and other more lucrative sponsorship deals that the English clubs have.
    It's so disheartening to see teams like Man U, Chelsea and now even the likes of Man City splashing out 50-100 million on new players while Celtic and Rangers are limited to 10-15 million, if even. How can Celtic and Rangers compete? I fear that 2 of the biggest and most historic clubs in world football could become forgotten, washed up has-beens.

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  • 169. At 4:23pm on 21 Apr 2009, Pease Pudding wrote:

    # 163

    Good luck in the Championship next year.

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  • 170. At 4:28pm on 21 Apr 2009, bearkeg wrote:

    168 you may have noticed that all the clubs you mention have attracted significant business investment, do you seriously think whichever league you are in major business is going to jointly sponsors teams purely because of religous biggatory.
    You are what you are big fish in a little pond and would add little to the ENGLISH premier league!

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  • 171. At 4:30pm on 21 Apr 2009, Paul wrote:

    SchlermieBeckermann & bitpick, what complete rubbish. I don't see Sky tv falling over themselves to secure the rights to Old Firm games at the moment.
    Just remember, it wasn't that along ago - early 80s, that these huge Old Firm clubs, struggled with crowds in the 10's of thousands, when the fans voted with their feet when the product was cr*p.
    The only people convinced about the global appeal and size of their pulling power are the Old Firm themselves!

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  • 172. At 4:31pm on 21 Apr 2009, corinthianethiclives wrote:

    Did not think you had it in you Chick. Bravo for telling it like it is. This move has ugly mercenary self-interest at its heart and I sincerely hope that the Scottish game retains these vampire clubs. How on earth can UEFA allow this to happen? Have they no respect for the country from which the come, the clubs upon which their yearly dominion has given them the route to Europe or the groundhog day of the football experience that sees either of them win the trophies year in and year out. How they can ever hold their heads up in SCOTLAND again if this goes through is beyond comprehension. Football has lost its soul and these two clubs are soul-less.

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  • 173. At 4:36pm on 21 Apr 2009, Nick wrote:

    Why do the OF supporters keep about having the money of the EPL clubs!! OK maybe they can't afford the top players in the world but that's the same with a lot of teams throughout Europe and indeed the rest of the EPL. Why haven't the clubs searched high and low in and around Glasgow to search for the next superstar!!? Your own home grown players have the British disease!! They think they are better than the foreign players and instead of going home or staying in and not drinking they would prefer to be out with the lads getting drunk a few days before a big match! It just shows you how professional they really are!

    Find the stars make them proud to play for the team and yes if they move on you made a profit and then plough it back into more development and maybe buying better players. If your club are decent enough and have brains then you can make more money with a sell on clause as well just like Arsenal did to Blackburn when they sold Bentley to them.

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  • 174. At 4:38pm on 21 Apr 2009, Roberto_Mexicano wrote:


    First of all, good on you for writing a piece that doesn't kiss Rangers' backside, or avoid talking about them negatively. I'm actually starting to warm to you the more people have a go at you each week to be honest!

    Second of all, what a nonsense your blog is this week! I agree with everything you say about the media, and TV money etc, but you are totally wrong that the old firm leaving would kill Scottish football. It would be the best thing to ever happen to it!

    I'm English, and have zero interest in Scottish football so have no biase here.

    Are you totally blind, or have you not realised that there's not a single person outside of Scotland that gives two *#@! about Scottish football?!! And due to the lack of money in your game your days of doing anything in Europe are long gone.

    A competitive Scottish league would be the greatest thing that Scottish football, and indeed the national team could ever wish for. Teams not currently attracting attention, big and small would have more press coverage as teams competing for the title than they do now seeing who might be able to put enough consistency together to finish 4th!

    And because the majority of players are not good enough for the Premier League, the best Scottish players would end up moving to those clubs, improving the overall standard of the teams, rather than having all the best players only wanting to play for the only 2 teams that can win anything, or compete in Europe.

    Open your eyes, and stop thinking the big 2 in Scotland do anything but hold back the rest of your game you short sighted fool!

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  • 175. At 4:39pm on 21 Apr 2009, Pease Pudding wrote:

    # 172 you don't sound like you care much for Celtic or Rangers, so why the bleating? No doubt you're a fan of a provincial club like Hearts or Dunfermline; surely you would want us two big bad boys to leave and give you a shot at winning a title?

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  • 176. At 4:40pm on 21 Apr 2009, davser wrote:

    IF the OF join the EPL just watch the top 4 in England join a European league and leave the EPL behind.

    In fact, it's just a matter of time for that to happen anyway.

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  • 177. At 4:41pm on 21 Apr 2009, Oerthetop wrote:

    I have been very critical of Chic's comments in the pas but not this time.
    Chic, you are spot on. As said above, this is one of your most best blogs ever. It hits the nail right on the head. Well said.

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  • 178. At 4:41pm on 21 Apr 2009, Paul wrote:

    Somebody has even mentioned two of the most historic and biggest clubs in world football in reference to the Old Firm, who are they kidding?
    Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Man Utd, AC Milan, Inter, Flamenco errrrrrrrrrrr Rangers??? Jeeez, give me a break!
    Ask the average non-Scot to tell you who plays for Rangers or who plays for AC Milan, I bet you Kirk Broadfoot will trip right off the tongue with Ronaldinho, Maldini, Beckham and Pirlo.
    Oh, I haven't laughed so much in ages.

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  • 179. At 4:48pm on 21 Apr 2009, Mike Martin wrote:

    Old Firm in England? Don't need them, don't want them. Look at what happened in Manchester after the UEFA Cup final. Given the extra TV money, Celtic and Rangers could probably compete after a couple of seasons but that's not the point. I've no doubt that Standard Liège would be better off playing in the French league, or Vitesse Arnhem in the Bundesliga but that's not the point. Scottish teams should play in the Scottish league.

    And get Berwick Rangers in the Blue Square North, where they belong.

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  • 180. At 4:49pm on 21 Apr 2009, bitpick wrote:


    Perhaps you should read my comments before criticising - I agree with some of what you are saying the SPL holds very little allure with or without the OF. However the OF have massive support eclipsed only by 3 or 4 teams in the EPL.

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  • 181. At 4:55pm on 21 Apr 2009, jingscrivvens wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 182. At 4:58pm on 21 Apr 2009, Starfire_99 wrote:

    @ 74 & 127

    Evidently I stand corrected, though I must admit, my past statement was largely aimed at #27 for slating a few of the EPL's smaller clubs who have worked hard to get where they are and who would surely lose out should this proposal of lobbing the Old Firm into the EPL goes ahead.

    Struggling for survival and being relegated is one thing, but being unceremoniously told that your out on your ear and out of the EPL because some bigger teams from up north have decided to muscle in rather than earn the right to be there is not on.

    And then there's the problem of what to do with the old Firm if either of them should get themselves relegated.
    Do they duke it out with Reading, Derby et al. or do they go back cap in hand to Aberdeen and co?

    Change the SPL to suit the other teams that are there, give the smaller teams more money from the TV rights, make the SPL bigger, just don't ruin the EPL.

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  • 183. At 4:59pm on 21 Apr 2009, Pete wrote:

    I personally wouldn't object to Celtic and Rangers moving to the English leagues. After all there are the precedents of Cardiff and Swansea, for example, but I'd have a couple of questions:

    First, why assume that they'd jump straight into the Premier League? There must be many wannabes in the Championship who'd object to this, and with good reason.

    Second, how willing would they be to stay the course? For example, one of them finishes 10th in the Premiership and loses out on the European revenue (which they can both currently take for granted). Even worse, one of them gets relegated and has to play its football in the Championship or lower. I mean, surely in these scenarios there'd be the temptation to high-tail it back into the Scottish leagues where their dominance would be more assured? Which means more disruption for the English leagues.

    If this had happened 100 years ago I'm sure nobody would be batting an eyelid now. But in 2009 I think the issues are pretty substantial.

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  • 184. At 5:07pm on 21 Apr 2009, elephantstonejag wrote:

    Good blog Chick, I wish I had just stopped reading when it finished though and not continued into the minefield of stupid comments that followed.

    Scottish football would be a backwater without the Old Firm and every club would suffer without them there. That is certainly an objective comment. While the media coverage and consequent lower revenues would affect the quality of play I say so be it. What exactly would we be giving up on? Is the current league setup something we want to hold on to dearly?

    Ok, so Aberdeen, Hearts, United, Hibs all experience a minor dip in the quality of their players. It seems like a worthwhile sacrifice to me, because in the current climate they would need an oil billionaire or a Christmas miracle to sustain a title challenge against the Old Firm. I'm in my 20s and no one outside the big two has won the league in my lifetime, how ludicrous is that?

    What hope is there for every side in Scotland while they're still here? Third place? Top six? Hallelujah! This is the stuff you dreamed of winning as a boy isn't it?

    Being a fan of a team in the first division can be tough going, the fare isn't always great but it is a competitive and totally unpredictable league. Imagine in some bizarre parallel universe that the Old Firm have been kicked out of the SPL. I would be fizzing if the SFL considered inviting them into our league. Yes, we'd get more media coverage and more attendance revenue blah blah blah, but we'd have zero chance of winning anything and we'd be reduced to fighting it out for third with the rest of the small teams. It's the same situation in the top flight, what on earth is the point of it all for 98% of the teams in this country?

    They'd still soak up the media coverage, of course. It'd be totally different to the current situation then...

    Finally, the English for the most part have no idea what they're letting themselves in for. The two clubs are a blight on Scottish society nevermind Scottish football and the idea of their sectarian chanting being exposed to much bigger audiences on a regular basis would surely lead us closer to it being expelled for good.

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  • 185. At 5:07pm on 21 Apr 2009, chic wrote:

    nice work Chick.

    Funny weekend of media, Setanta look to modify the TV agreement for the SPL, followed by a radio interview with Gordon Strachan we he states that TV audiences should see big stadiums and packed crowds on good surfaces in the SPL followed by the 'Old Firm for England' line.

    Hmm. Old Firm want more money, Setanta can't offer more leads to another 'the Old Firm must play in the premiership' story.

    Funnily enough neither Glasgow team did that well in european competition this season. Y'know what's also strange:- 3 out of 4 sides still in the European Cup are English.

    As it stands currently neither of the Old Firm sides are realistically geared up to compete with Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea or Arsenal. In time in a two tier EPL set-up, (I wonder where the Bolton chairman got that idea from? SPL 2 anybody?)with the higher domestic TV income, they might be competitive, but after how many seasons and how much would they stand to lose from near automatic champions league entry season on season.

    The 'Old Firm to the premiership' won't happen, but both clubs are out to squeeze more money from 'staying' in Scotland. Watch out for a 'revised' SPL deal with setanta that panders to both clubs, watch out for Celtic and Rangers getting greater control of 'their' media rights to SPL games both within and outwith Scotland.

    We've had the Old Firm rip up the idea of shared gates in scotland in the 70's, In the 90's the Old Firm create the SPL to get a bigger cut of the cake, In the 00's, the TV deals are tweaked and the Old firm demand 5% of the gate reciepts when their fans travel. How much is enough for them?

    This is all despite both clubs having huge supports from all over scotland that buy whatever goods, products and DVDs that are released. Despite (it is reported) full house attendances at Ibrox and Parkhead in their every home game.

    Truth is that they are money hungry and always will be. Hopefully this time the Old Firm are told to go away by the English and their demands for more money are resisted in Scotland.

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  • 186. At 5:07pm on 21 Apr 2009, wozzelini wrote:

    great article. i've got a question on what would happen if rangers and celtic did join the premiership.

    i think i'm right in saying that cardiff and swansea can't play in europe even if they qualify. surely celtic and rangers wouldn't want to join the english leagues if they weren't allowed the chance to play in europe? or would the premierleague simply scrap that rule as soon as the increased money from the old firm came in?

    also, how would the european co-efficients work? i think i'm right in saying that they take the results of the national clubs over the last five-years into account (or something along those lines.) so if the old firm were technically no-longer scottish clubs would scotland instantly lose a champions league place and a uefa cup place? in which case there would be very little chance of improving the standard again after the initial drop.

    it seems to me that there are just far too many problems with this idea, for both celtic and rangers, and the remaining scottish teams. it would be so much simpler if two billionaires purchased hearts and hibs, built two new top of the range stadiums and actually put a bit of excitement back into the spl. probably not going to happen though.

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  • 187. At 5:14pm on 21 Apr 2009, pcm1979 wrote:

    #163 i find it staggering, truly staggering that people like you continue to throw up the argument that the current celtic and rangers teams would struggle in the premiership at present. do these people think we will still be in the market for the same calibre of player when we are handed tens of millions of pounds each season in TV money alone starting from the second we move (if we ever move)? Dermot Desmond is reluctant to spend vast amounts of money while still in the SPL but it is widely known that his attitude would change totally were celtic to move south. as for Newcastle, you make a very good point but if NUFC were to appoint a manager like martin oneill with long term stability, rather than lurch from one crisis to another, they would have the potential to not only break into the top 4 but to win the league. success breeds success over time.

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  • 188. At 5:18pm on 21 Apr 2009, SelhurstEagles17 wrote:

    im sorry, but surely this is out of the question. if it is allowed, we should simply just have a british league as all of our 'countries(england, wales scotland an NI)' are simply a part of GB. it would be like porto moving to spain. also, cardiff surely have a better team than celtic but there not automatically in the premiership(i know they used to be rubbish, but being wales' premier team dosent give them premiership status), if they come they should have to earn their premiership status by starting in minimum championship, if they are so good they will be promoted so it shouldnt be an issue.a look at samaras' scoring record in the premier and scots leagues shows how poor their quality is, he is terrible.

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  • 189. At 5:18pm on 21 Apr 2009, Tacalabala wrote:

    Two solution Chick:

    1) If UEFA have no problem with the Olf Firm moving to England's league, then it surely follows that they have no problem in principle with merging leagues. How about a 'Celtic League' of football? Basically, the best of SPL, Cardiff and Swansea, the best supported clubs in Ireland. Might not immediately strike as a great idea, but once the Welsh and Irish clubs, particularly in Dublin, then it would surely work. I should imagine that such a league would be able to generate better sponsorship and tv right opportunities.

    2) As for the Olympic problem, why is it seemingly beyond the wit of the home nations' FAs to organise a special 'Home Nations' tournament in summer 2011, with the winners going on to represent GB? None of that merging rubbish.

    Personally I think it's about time that the FAs, FIFA and UEFA signed a 999 year legally binding agreement to allow the FAs to be seperate.

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  • 190. At 5:19pm on 21 Apr 2009, Peter D wrote:

    The best thing for Scottish and English football would be to combine the leagues, in that way all the teams in the SPL would benefit...those with good managers could rise up like Stoke, Fulham and others have done.
    Ultimately, football is entertainment, if you want to be in films go to LA, if you want to be a major football nation join with the English leagues. The CL has 2 English teams in the semi-finals..., 4 in the quarters.. that where the SPl should be.

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  • 191. At 5:22pm on 21 Apr 2009, TommyO wrote:

    Why doesn't the OF invite Newcastle, Boro, Leeds & Sunderland to join them in the SPL?


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  • 192. At 5:24pm on 21 Apr 2009, Tony Torrance wrote:

    Little doubt in my mind that this will happen. T

    However, the Scottish Government and the Strathclyde Police should make it clear to both clubs that if they want to play in England they do with out the consent of both their organisations and also the vast majority of the Scottish public.

    If they want to play in England they should sell up and move lock, stock and barrell down south. NO HALFWAY HOUSE approach should be allowed, accepted or tolerated. Do English clubs really want the nasty nature of the Old Firm Fans to enter their grounds!!!!!

    Also the ramifications are huge. If the Old Firm do go then it means the UEFA and Fifa will have grounds to force football in the UK to come under one Federation and trust me it will not be the SFA, IFA or the WFA who will take the lead.

    So the question is for both old firm clubs and there respective fans do you want to abandon history, bearing in mind everything does come to an end eventually, or will you be content on staying the best of a limited crop. Losing the revenue from Europe will would mean that your finances would be further stretched by a move down south. Rangers are already struggling financially.

    Lets make no mistake this all about money nothing else. As for the Scottish game we will find our own level regardless if the Old Firm play in our league or not.

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  • 193. At 5:25pm on 21 Apr 2009, Hudds1 wrote:

    why don't anyone look at the welsh league to figure out what will happen if the old-firm join the EPL.It doesnt take a genius really.

    You have cardiff and Swansea in the English league and the rest of the Welsh league non-existent.

    The same will happen to the Scottish leagues.

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  • 194. At 5:26pm on 21 Apr 2009, mungobhoy wrote:

    Chic Young, that tired old cliché-mongering hack, is most worried that when Celtic (with the other lot hanging on to their coat tails) take their rightful place at the top table then he and the other joke journalists up here would be left high and dry up here with only the tiddlywinks to write about.

    Cheerio, Chico, and I hope you don't have to wait to long in the Buroo queue to get your Giro....

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  • 195. At 5:26pm on 21 Apr 2009, DoubleDragBack wrote:

    Good blog but I completely disagree. The SPL already IS a shambles. The removal of the big 2 would cause a reorganisation that would benefit the national game. Youth would be the only way forward as clubs would be even poorer

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  • 196. At 5:37pm on 21 Apr 2009, ....and surely that's great news for the rest of scottish football. wrote:

    I find it hilarious that you've got fans from down south coming on here and going 'Wolves and Newcastle - they're big clubs'. They really do not have a clue about the size of the Old Firm, do they? When wolves and Newcastle can sell merchandise in the sort of numbers world wide that perhaps only Man Utd and Real Madrid could outdo, then they'll be on the same footing as the Old Firm.

    And England does need the Old Firm. It's an open Secret that the Premiership's bubble is about to burst, and the income that having the Old Firm would generate would counteract that. That, and that alone, is the only reason why it's now being mooted.

    Having said that, I'm still dead against it!

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  • 197. At 5:47pm on 21 Apr 2009, Aldershot_Celt wrote:


    i find your comments insulting. I am not blinded with a love of Ireland, and I do not loathe the Tartan Army. I support Scotland, no other nations teams and would never consider myself anything else. Do not brand us all with the same brush.


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  • 198. At 5:56pm on 21 Apr 2009, Parish87 wrote:

    Didn't you do an article only last week saying the Old Firm dominance was boring?

    Make your mind up sunshine.

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  • 199. At 6:06pm on 21 Apr 2009, Neil wrote:

    Cant agree with your logic Chick, you say (rightly) "What a divided little nation we are" so how can you go on to contradict yourself by saying no other SPL clubs are capable of "giving us the moments Rangers and Celtic have brought us in European competition". They key here is you using the term "us", if were as divided as you rightly say then how can the Old Firms successes be refered to as sucesses for "us" as a whole or for St Mirren, Killie, Hibs etc?

    Actually the problem with the OF in Europe is that there success merely increases the gulf in wealth in Scottish football, one of the reasons they need to go.

    Your arguement is also flawed in that you present a despairing look at Scottish football but then suggest the OF walking awau would be murder for the game, but thats already happening, just slowly. If the other clubs could be competing for the SPL title on a regular basis then that would help them gain support. The game is already dying for the rest of Scottish football and altho this would be a gamble and I have no doubt other clubs would suffer financially in the short term, surely the long term development of the Scottish game is key, something that is not the case with the status quo.

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  • 200. At 6:09pm on 21 Apr 2009, pippintogg wrote:

    I agree that it would destroy what is already a hopelessy pointless onesided league. You may say that Man U etc dominate the premier but outside that league more people watch Championship matches than Serie A in Italy. (I support Bristol City. Anway the sooner scotland and wales gain their full idependence the better. I don't want Cardiff, Swansea or the so called "old firm" (sounds like a couple of old gang land queens!) playing in England. Scotland can keep it's oil (what's left of it) and the Glasgow Clubs and you can have back Gordon Brown and all the scottish MPs then England can get back to being English! Before you all start you rants my grandfather grew up in Mount Florida glasgow and supported Queens Park. ROLL ON INDEPENDENCE!

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  • 201. At 6:10pm on 21 Apr 2009, lordBonified wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 202. At 6:17pm on 21 Apr 2009, kinmin wrote:

    The OF ceased a while back to be "Scottish" (the same way the rest of Europe's top clubs ceased to be "English," "Italian," etc.). It's not about bringing up players through the ranks, but instead buying the best players to bring success. In that regard, they'll fit right in with the EPL teams, which long ago gave up the pretense of being "English" teams. They just happen to be expensively-assembled teams playing in England, so what difference will it make to have two more?

    Personally, I say good riddance to the OF. Their absence will make a better, more competitive SPL, and at least for the foreseeable future the title won't be a foregone conclusion.

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  • 203. At 6:22pm on 21 Apr 2009, duffy_hibs wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 204. At 6:23pm on 21 Apr 2009, sglosbcfc wrote:

    As an Englishman i am embarrassed by some of my fellow countrymen's lack of knowledge about Scottish Football. Within 3 years of joining the English League Celtic and Rangers would be major players no doubt - anyone who disputes that knows nothing about the clubs and the size of their supports and the finance that would follow. Also, I believe many English fans would enjoy seeing them in the PL and it would generate lots of extra interest. However, I do not believe it should be done at the expense of the Scottish League. If it happens at all, there should be a two league British PL consisting of 18 clubs in each. The Scottish Champions and Runners Up (most likely Celtic and Rangers)should be admitted, but following that season the Scottish Champions should continue to gain promotion along with two teams from the English Coca Cola League. There is no reason why with increased TV money, the likes of Aberdeen, Hearts and Hibs cannot compete with the likes of Barnsley, Preston and Plymouth etc in British Premier league 2.

    Football is about dreams, do not slam the door in the face of any club who can dream of taking on the likes of Celtic, Man Utd, Rangers and Liverpool week in and week out.

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  • 205. At 6:25pm on 21 Apr 2009, galoucura wrote:

    Scotland championship is almost the same as a Brazilian State Championship, covered by Tim Vickery last week.

    I would really(as a foreigner) like to see the Old Firm in the EPL. Massive clubs with massive story, it's just better than having other 2 mediocre english teams there.

    I don't know how it can be actually be bad for Scottish Football, since they are THE scottish football. Nevertheless, the New Firm could also join and that would be interesting. And the other scottish teams could join in lower leagues. Making a Britain league instead of English or Scottish ones.

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  • 206. At 6:26pm on 21 Apr 2009, rus316 wrote:

    So many inward looking protectionists! Can you deny the rest of Scottish football holds back Rangers and Celtic? Is it not insanity in 21st century Britain that chairmen vote to protect their own interests? Why not just use a murder victim's mum as judge and jury?!

    2 big teams which would add to the quality of the English league, and generate even more excitement and attention around the world. From their point of view it is simply a no brainer. Do you want teams to aspire, or shrink into the naturally Scottish socialist way of punishing success?

    Get up with the times Chick and stop being so stubborn, selfish and resistant to change (just because the proposals DIDN'T come from your own). Celtic and Rangers should be in the Premier league, simple as that.

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  • 207. At 6:30pm on 21 Apr 2009, Munzy88 wrote:

    As a hereditary Rangers fan living in Australia, I would have to say that I'm very supportive of the OF becoming a part of the English Leagues.

    I understand that it would make it difficult for Scottish Football, but I think its pointless keeping the Old Firm in a league they are truly much better than.

    Every football fan I know does not take the SPL seriously because its a 2 horse race, but the EPL isnt that much different.

    It's been a long time since the EPL title was won by a team outside the big 4, I really can't see any team apart from Man U, Chelsea, Liverpool or Arsenal winning the league.

    Especially now that you have teams like Chelsea buying the opposition...

    The only difference is the teams who can't win the title in the EPL are better in comparison than the ones in the SPL.

    If you want a fair competition you should follow the lead of Aussie Rules, they have salary caps.

    It means every team gets the same money, and that's what makes that sport so interesting, because you would only the get the most passionate football players, not idiots who move wherever the money says to move, and anyone could win the title...

    Anyway that's another subject altogether but its something to think about...

    But the idea of a Premier League with a couple of other big teams sounds like a great idea if you could sort the logistic side out...

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  • 208. At 6:33pm on 21 Apr 2009, jahopin wrote:

    Apologies in advance to scottish football fans but I cant see why youd want to keep rangers and celtic,the league is absoloutly terrible as it stands.every season the same,1st and 2nd old firm,year after year after year.I mean why dont they just play each other four times and be done with it.I could understand if anyone could even come close to competing but they dont,and are unlikely to do so for many years,if ever!Letting them go would at least make the league competitive and infinitly less predictable.Id give anyone 1000/1 no-one outside the old firm will win the scottish league within the next ten years and Id say no-one would even waste there money taking me up on that one,what does that tell you about the quality of the competition?

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  • 209. At 6:38pm on 21 Apr 2009, Rob Smiley wrote:

    Rangers or Celtic capable of Top 4 in the EPL?

    Don't make me laugh.

    I'm a Man City fan. We've proved that just throwing money at so called 'world class' players doesn't work. If anything, the Glasgow clubs will have a steeper hill to climb than City do.

    You're not going to get players that can improve your squads without the guarantee of Champions League football. Not the promise that it'll happen in two to three years.

    Right now, Rangers and Celtic are way behind the EPL top 4... personally, I don't think they're even close to Everton/Villa... so that leaves them scrounging around the fringes of Europa League qualification along with the likes of City, Spurs, and Newcastle... all clubs that are also looking behind their shoulders this year at relegation scares. Are you trying to say that Parkhead is home to more numerous or more passionate fans than St James' or White Hart Lane?

    Here's what you'd be up against in your first season...
    Man Utd... same manager for nearly 2 decades, and half a billion pounds in debt.
    Chelsea... three quarters of a billion invested in players and infrastructure in the past 10 years.
    Liverpool... 18 years without a league title, had to qualify as HOLDERS of the Champions League on one occasion, competition is that tight.
    Arsenal... state of the art 70,000 seater stadium generating over 65 million pounds per year in additional revenue, and they still can't afford a replacement for Tierry Henri.

    As an outsider to the Scottish game, it seems to me that the boards at both Celtic and Rangers seriously believe they can waltz in, pocket the extra TV money themselves and still remain not only competitive, but seriously challenge for the same level of European qualification they're used to now. And they say English fans are insular and provincial!

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  • 210. At 6:40pm on 21 Apr 2009, rjaggar wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 211. At 6:41pm on 21 Apr 2009, benga10 wrote:

    As A Rangers fan I've always wanted to see us play more competitve matches and was all for us trying to get into the M.UTD PL oh I mean the Epl. As of now, after reading most of these posts and realising the pure ignorance of people outside Scotland I would rather stay put.Our problem is our game. We are a small country with two massive clubs and a whole lot of too many other small clubs. We need to do what they did in places like Australia and amalgamte all the small clubs like one team in Fife, one in Dundee etc and have clubs representing their respective areas and creating fan bases and then create two leagues.Sort out our own small mindedness, create better teams and keep our game honest, and not just let our two big teams run off and join what is nothing but a circus.

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  • 212. At 6:44pm on 21 Apr 2009, Schlermie wrote:

    It's an inevitability that the OF will play in the EPL. Sky and its advertisers will demand it. Celtic and Rangers are global brands with sustained interest on all continents.
    Hats off to clubs like NUFC, Wigan etc whose fanbases are based around a single city/town. I respect and have great admiration for clubs like NUFC who can take 40,000 to their stadium each week, but that's the extent of the interest in clubs like NUFC, Portsmouth, Wigan etc. Take, for example, Portsmouth v Sunderland or Celtic v Liverpool - which would Sky and its advertisers, sponsors and shareholders prefer to air? It's a no-brainer.
    Global brands mean global revenues and it's the likes of Sky who will dictate while the likes of FIFA, UEFA, FA & SFA will merely administer the game.

    And, Chick, I take it then that with you being so much against any move of the OF to the EPL that you will not be travelling to the likes of London, Liverpool, Birmingham etc to cover games where the OF will play Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea etc......Aye, right!!!

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  • 213. At 6:52pm on 21 Apr 2009, SHELLDRAKE (Diets on my mind) wrote:

    The OF are again showing remarkable contempt for the other Scottish Clubs, perhaps the other Clubs should resign from the league now and form there own league and leave the OF to find a league to take them in.

    I actually cant believe the English will expose themselves to the bigotry of the OF fans, we shall see.

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  • 214. At 6:55pm on 21 Apr 2009, thedogsballads wrote:

    Chic...A passionate and emotive piece indeed. I have to say that great clubs that they both are, I don't particularly want the Glasgow sides playing in an English league. Also, what divine right would Celtic and Rangers have to hurdle many divisions and land in the Premier League. There is a structure in place in England called the 'Pyramid'. If Celtic and Rangers are accepted, then I hope, like all of the other professional and semi-professional teams, work their way up through the non league structure before reaching the 2nd Division. Progression then can be made to the Premier League. Personally, I think it highly unlikely to happen as proud football clubs who strive year on year to reach the higher echelons of the English leagues will oppose it. The only way I can envisage seeing Celtic and Rangers playing in an English league is if the Elite clubs of the Premier League break away and form a new league. If that happens the game in both Scotland and England would be left in near tatters. Many clubs are struggling as it is without a select few earning even more money and not spreading the wealth.
    I for one am against seeing two Scottish sides in an English league. Not, I hasten to add, because of any latent racism or prejudice towards the wonderful Scottish people, but more to do with it being wrong. For its faults, Scotland has a league to be proud of. Your Premier league is not that much different to the English Premier league in that only a few teams have a reasonable chance of winning it. The best league in the world it may be, but exciting it isn't. Futhermore it could all prove detrimental to the national sides of the British Isles. FIFA must be licking their lips at this talk. And what of a combined British team? Where's the identity? Who would watch it? I'm English first and British second. If Scotland are in a world cup and England aren't I would genuinely want Scotland to do well. Although I might not shout it from the rooftops. But, that doesn't mean I would support a British team.
    I could go on, and fear that I have. Apologies for this long missive.

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  • 215. At 7:04pm on 21 Apr 2009, adrenilize wrote:

    The reality is that this wont happen, The OF playing in EPL2. The bolton chairman must be skint.. As far as the SPL is concerned, i dont really care for it i grew up supporting celtic but know im not intrested, same old garbage every year and nothing gets done about it, why not cap the wages? Max 5 foreign players in a team at one time? No foreign players? 16 team leauge? Access for the non leauge teams to get into the third division? Junior teams having access to the leauge system? Abolish players moving from club to club in SPL. but then again there probally not enough profit in this. Scottish football is a complete joke.

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  • 216. At 7:17pm on 21 Apr 2009, Runituptheflagpole wrote:

    Here’s the germ of an idea to play around with. It is very rudimentary and early on in my thinking, but bear with me. I am trying to imagine something that would keep leagues competitive and interesting, reward excellence, keep a level playing field, bring on young, home-grown talent, rebalance the playing strengths of the lowest and highest placed teams at the start of every season, limit the number of foreign players, and guard against clubs becoming over-indebted. So here goes:

    Leave the SPL and English Championship, 1,2 as they are but allow no foreign players in their squads. Convert the EPL into an Atlantic Super League, or some name that everyone can live with and that sells franchises to clubs that would represent entire cities and larger areas with defined identities to maximise appeal, gates, sponsorship, TV revenues etc. Off the top of my head, obvious candidates would be Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester, Merseyside (Liverpool and area), Mercia (Birmingham and surrounding areas), Yorkshire (1 or 2 clubs), Newcastle, Welsh Dragons (Cardiff, Swansea), Irish Shamrocks (Dublin), London (3 or 4 teams with different names, e.g. London Royals), Solent (Portsmouth & Southampton area), Anglia, East Midlands, Western Pirates (Bristol and the West Country), etc. That’s almost a league already – can you tweak these areas or fill in the missing geographies with other suggestions? The old Scottish and English leagues would still preserve the names Celtic, Rangers, Liverpool/Everton, Man U/Man C, Hearts/Hibs etc.

    There would be a ‘draft’ pre-season each year of a compulsory number of players voted ‘most valuable’from these old leagues into the Super League, with the lowest placed teams in the Super League having first choice of these, an idea borrowed from American Football. Super League teams would each have to have the same size of first-team squad, so making room for the drafted players would entail moving on players who were least wanted. Similarly, any other transfers would have to be balanced by players leaving. Franchises for the areas that have the greatest concentrations of potential fans would cost more. TV revenues would be shared equally between Super League clubs.

    I have no idea how EUFA would view it, wheter limits on 'foreign' players would be allowed in law, or what kind of haggling might have to go on over Champions League and UEFA Cup places etc. But let’s kick around some of the ideas above and see where it goes, huh? Let's have less heat and a little more light here.

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  • 217. At 7:23pm on 21 Apr 2009, borofan wrote:

    Yet another awful blog from Chic.

    I'm not saying that the OF will never join the Premier league but the rewards are not as great as some people make out.

    These are my thoughts -

    The current OF teams would not be guaranteed promotion from the Championship and would be doing well to avoid relegation from the PL.

    Most PL clubs do not make 10s of millions of pounds from TV money - most weeks it is the "Big Four" who are on TV.

    The OF would mostly be on TV when playing each other or the Big Four not every fortnight as they are now.

    Even if successful, under current Uefa rules, they could not qualify for the Champions league which is where the Big Four make a lot of their money.

    Visits by the OF would not mean sold out games for many teams. Due to segregation issues most away teams only get about 2000 tickets.

    Also I don't think many OF fans have really thought out the problems of following their side at away games.

    Most OF fans probably think of Inverness away (171 miles) as a long trip. Only Newcastle and Sunderland are closer than that.

    I don't know how much it costs for an away fan to get into Tynecastle or Pittodrie for example but typical prices in the PL are £30 - £50.

    The OF already play to near full houses so atendances wouldn't improve although they might charge the home fans a lot more money to see Man Utd etc.

    The grass isn't always greener .......

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  • 218. At 7:23pm on 21 Apr 2009, gentlemanrobinhood wrote:

    I think Celtic and Rangers should be welcomed to the English 2nd division. By the time they reach the Premiership, if they ever do most people will have forgotten where they come from anyway. I mean come on does anybody really believe the English Premiership would welcome the so called OF. Who does this journalist think he is kidding? All I can think is that he was hard up for something to write this week. Its never going to happen, never, ever, ever, ever even ever. Fitba in Scotland is doomed with or without the OF doomed I tell ya. It will die a natural death and most people will think the sooner the better.

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  • 219. At 7:25pm on 21 Apr 2009, Houstonslydog wrote:

    The English would absolutely crazy to admit the Old Firm. With 5 million Scots up here, having two teams in the best league in the world will drive supporters of St. Mirren, Killie, Motherwell etc into the hands of the Old Firm. They'd struggle at first, but the potential financial and player attraction power of the Old Firm is unbelievable. Glasgow is a good place to live, the players are worshipped as heroes and they'd get to play against the best players.

    Letting Rangers and Celtic grow into genuine giants will only threaten the Big 4's grasp on the league in a way Everton and Villa never will.

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  • 220. At 7:26pm on 21 Apr 2009, er-yir-macaroon wrote:

    Chick has failed to take into account human nature. Most Scottish clubs are so used to playing second fiddle they've lost any real sense of ambition or aspiration. With the carrot of £5 million from Champions League qualification the SPL would blossom without the Old Firm. The status quo is not an option, otherwise Scottish football will always under-achieve.
    Chick is also wrong regarding support for the Scotland team. The stereotypical Tartan Army "foot soldier" certainly does not represent the average Scotland fan. These guys adopt a moral high-ground normally reserved for real-ale drinkers and cyclists regarding the behaviour of the Old Firm fans, and yet their racism towards the English dwarfs all but the most unsavoury of the Glaswegian banter.

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  • 221. At 7:27pm on 21 Apr 2009, Coweslepe wrote:

    Please, either stop using the semi-colon or learn how to use it properly.

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  • 222. At 7:30pm on 21 Apr 2009, GuinessCold - There's no Minty smoke without Minty mirrors. wrote:

    I'm a Celtic fan who does not want the Old Firm to move south.

    However if it happens I believe it will benefit the Scottish game.

    Would Scott Brown have been signed by Celtic if they were in the EPL?

    I think clubs will be forced to bring through talent and those players will stay longer with the clubs.

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  • 223. At 7:30pm on 21 Apr 2009, CReid84 wrote:

    Being both a Man Utd and Rangers fan, I'm really in two minds about this situation. Firstly, as has been said before, the domination of the old firm in Scottish football is no different than that of many other leagues around Europe. Should Lyon move into La Liga just because there's no money in French football and are in need of a 'stiffer' test. No! ofcourse they bloddy well shouldn't, they're a French team and should play they're football in France. The only two leagues around the world that generates huge money from television rights are Epl and La Liga. There is very little money around other european leagues nowadays. In days gone by, Italian teams could spend huge money on players but not now. Same has happened to the Old Firm.

    I don't agree with people who are huge doubters in Celtic and Rangers, they would be nowhere near the standard of Championship teams. Sure if they joined the Premier league they would be mid-table teams first season, but with money and more support behind them they would become regular 'european place finish' teams. They both have proven they can take on some of the worlds best teams, as Celtic have proven over and over in the Champions League and Uefa Cup. Both teams have
    squads, management, supporter bases and stadiums that are of far superior quality than almost half of the EPL teams, and they would only get better from the move south.

    The simple fact is that the Old Firm are looking to become bigger and better both as football clubs and businesses. In order to do that they must move to another league and the EPL is the obvious choice.

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  • 224. At 7:33pm on 21 Apr 2009, MikeMcKenzie1875 wrote:

    Fantastic blog Chic, by far the most insightful you have been.

    I don't see why anybody is saying that attention would go down significantly. What attention? Even with the OF not many people seem to care majorly about our leagues. I would be delighted to see the ugly sisters go down south and hopefully during away games for the OF some fans would watch their local team. This could result in bigger crowds for SPL sides and even SFL teams in need of cash too. This, in optimistic principle, could regain their passion for the local team and encourage further attendance.
    Other possibilities for the improvements are the fact that the OF will not cherry pick the best of our talent because they will quite simply not be good enough for the EPL. This allows players similar to those that have previously left the "smaller clubs" (as a hibs fan i have countless examples) to hone their skills and possibly increase our standard of football. In time, the media attention will realise that we are not a 2 team league and the very gradual progress can bring us to the league we are now.

    Loosely related to your blog is the idea of Team GB. How appropriate that the GB and Irish Lions have just been selected today (poor show from the Scots btw) and yet there is no chance that the home nations will be merged in Union. Take a note football.

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  • 225. At 7:34pm on 21 Apr 2009, all_in_the_game wrote:

    "It is a weary debate, but if they go they will have the blood of the Scottish professional game on their hands. Not that, I suspect, huge swathes of their support - blinded as they are with a love of Ireland and England and a loathing of the Tartan Army - will care."

    well i'm a celtic fan and a dont care for ireland at all, (apart from there guinness) and i do not want celtic to go to the premiership nor rangers, and there will be plently more thinking the same, so dont paint us all with the same brush in order to make your blog more dramatic than it should be

    everytime a reshuffle of the premiership is uttered, the old firm are "linked" to move there, unless football chairmen keep getting there noses were it aint involved this story will wither away into what it is...nothing

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  • 226. At 7:35pm on 21 Apr 2009, CReid84 wrote:

    Oh by the way, all you English 'slaters' need to check up on how many supporters of the Old Firm are actually ENGLISH! I think you'll be very suprised!!!

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  • 227. At 7:39pm on 21 Apr 2009, thundermuddyboots wrote:

    I am sure that if Celtic and Rangers move across to the English League,then it is going to be a eye opener for both of them,and if they want to go to the Premier then they should try to get there on merit and not through the back door.It would be a breath off fresh air to all the teams in the SFL, and it gives all the teams a chance to fight to improve,and not be dominated by the two teams.Over the years it has been a constant two horse race ,with very few teams getting a chance or share of the glories.Let them come to our leagues but dont expect them to stay too long,before they want to come back to you.

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  • 228. At 7:53pm on 21 Apr 2009, armchairstrategist wrote:

    Scottish football is very poor at the moment but that's not to say that this will always be the case. There was a time when it not only produced great teams - capable of taking on the best - but it was responsible for supplying some of the most talented players in the old English First Division.
    The idea that the OF can jump ship is ludicrous. How would they be accommodated into the English league system. Would they start in the Third Division of the Championship and work their way up or would they get a bye direct to the Premiership? I can see them wanting to start at the bottom and there is definitely no opportunity for them to start at the top. Both options are nonsense and would offend all concerned. They'll stay put because the soul of Scottish football would go with them and the SFA couldn't allow that to happen. Similarly, their own history and traditions dictate that they remain - they are the keystone of Scottish football.
    As other posters have pointed out, the Scottish Premier League is not alone in being (largely) a two horse race. The issue for the OF, the SFA and Scottish Premier League is how to develop talent within Scottish football. There was talent once and there could be again, however, to get it you need to invest, encourage and faciltate it. Less emphasis on 'huffers, puffers, bumpers and grinders' might produce a few more players like Johnstone (Jimmy and Willie), Lennox, Cooper, Nevin, Baxter, Gemill, Gilzean, Morgan, Gray (Eddie), Jordan, Macari, Dalglish, Cooke etc.
    On the issue of the GB team, how could this effect the status of the SFA and the Scottish national team? To suggest otherwise is bullshit and it's no surprise that Alex Salmond - that arch political opportunist - is among those going along for the ride.

    FIFA has to be mindful that football started here (in these islands) and that the various associations here started with it. Even if they wanted to, they'd have no justifiable reason for trying to rewrite history and get the different nations in the British Isles to play as one under a single association.

    The Olympics are a different matter because we compete as the United Kingdom and not as individual nations.

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  • 229. At 8:07pm on 21 Apr 2009, neil wrote:

    What about thinking the unthinkable? Old Firm in the Premiership, Hearts, Hibs, Aberdeen, Dundee Utd in the Championship, the others scattered in the remainder of the English divisions. It would be an end to 'Scottish football' as we know it but 'football in Scotland' would improve hugely I think. Who's to say that a Hearts or Aberdeen couldn't get into the Premiership at some point in the future? They're about the same size as Stoke or Hull. As for the national team? I'm past caring.

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  • 230. At 8:16pm on 21 Apr 2009, EdinburghsNo1 wrote:

    I'm a Hearts fan and I would be more than happy for the two large Scottish provincial (Glasgow) teams to head south.

    Perhaps the English fans who travel up here for match days can stay at hotels in the capital (Edinburgh) and enjoy some of the fantastic culture we have here.

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  • 231. At 8:21pm on 21 Apr 2009, Boogie Bear wrote:

    "This move has ugly mercenary self-interest at its heart and I sincerely hope that the Scottish game retains these vampire clubs" (172)

    Football clubs wanting money - whatever next? If the English clubs ever let the Old Firm in it will be a desire for money on the part of those English clubs that drives it e.g. the credit crunch is threatening their TV contracts.

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  • 232. At 8:22pm on 21 Apr 2009, MickL67 wrote:

    Lazy, pathetic journalism. I don't know how this man gets a job with the BBC.

    Try writing something constructive, put some pressure on the government maybe to provide better facilities for our kids for example.

    Chick, we also know you are a Rangers fan and only write what David Murray tells you to, so please drop the St Mirren nonsense as its disrespectful to them.

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  • 233. At 8:36pm on 21 Apr 2009, shiveringtopher67 wrote:

    Mr. Young, I have nothing against your idiotic views. But please but don't start a paragraph with"But; and continue-with- far- too-many-dashes-you are supposed to be a journalist.

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  • 234. At 8:45pm on 21 Apr 2009, Mark Glasgow wrote:

    Chick is being too pessimistic here. Junior football thrives across large parts of Scotland despite Scotland having 4 leagues, the same number as the England League set-up.

    With Rangers and Celtic joining a Premiership 2 (if it happens) then in a meaningful sense the other 34 English teams will become part of the Scotland game as well. For the fans of Aberdeen, Hearts, Hibs, Motherwell, Dundee Utd and maybe other teams over time being Champions of Scotland will still hold that winning feeling. Do you think Juniors holding the Scottish Junior cup aloft feel 'lesser' than other leagues?

    Forgive the pun, but it's a question of leagues and ranking. It could be a Godsend for Scottish football, we'll have to wait and see how it pans out. How many Rangers and Celtic fans would travel for a Sunday game to Plymouth Argylle, or down to Crystal Palace? There will be weeks where 10,000s of Old Firm fans will find away games too far to go to, they might look around and see an interesting Junior game, or maybe a Partick V Motherwell game in a couple of years time with both teams challenging for the title.

    So I don't think it would mean the end for Scottish football. Fitba is deeply embedded in the culture and the same number of fans are going to go to see football games week in and week out, then the two things to look out for are:
    1. Old Firm fans maybe taking more interest in local football, be it Scottish League football, or Junior football the large number of weeks the Old Firm would be playing away in areas that are not only 400+ miles away, but difficult to get tickets to.
    2. With a more open and competitive league involving the teams like the ones I have mentioned above could woo back fans who have drifted in recent years. There's nothing like feeling your team have got something important to play for and the more teams chasing not just a top six spot, or a European spot but to become Champions of Scotland (with or without Rangers and Celtic) could mean 'more' football fans at some games.

    Here's a thought, imagine Rangers and Celtic weren't playing in the Scottish League next year, who would win the league? Dundee Utd? Motherwell? Hearts? Hibs? Aberdeen? In a 10 team league with 50% of the teams thinking they could win the league at start of the season (in contrast with 20% in the current Scottish league, and the same with the Premiership)this could generate more interest, not less.

    While wages would come down, and there would be less foreign players playing in the league, the new Scottish league could become a kind of super-Junior league and who knows with more chances for home grown talent it could be a good thing for the national game as well. Despite all the hoo-hah about the Premiership, its the lack of English players in the top teams that make them the forces they are, and that applies to the managers as well.

    I think Chick's doom mongering is worth the read, but there are real layers of light for a Scottish game without the Old Firm. The national game isn't Old Firm ball, it's fitba. There is a difference.

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  • 235. At 8:59pm on 21 Apr 2009, Don Perignon wrote:

    I would be absolutely delighted, if the twisted 2 were to go and try their luck down south. The entire games in Scotland would be FAR, FAR better off without them.

    The OF fans would have you believe they keep the game in Scotland afloat - nothing could be further from the truth, they have strangled the life and competition out our game for 15yrs+ now.
    Take the TV issue for example - the OF put a stop to a SPL channel because the other teams would benefit from more revenue (and the OF wanted to start their own channels). If they disappeared, this idea could be resurrected - 100,000 subscribers for the 1st year, at £10 per month = £12m. Add on £2m for advertising + £1m for international and sell on writes, = £15m (minus £2m for operating costs and subcontracting). That would be £13m between the clubs for the 1st season alone and realistically you would get a lot more than 100,000 subscribers.

    The OF already get more than their fair share of TV revenue. By finishing 1st and 2nd in the league, they also take a fair whack of the sponsorship money - with them gone there wouldn't be any changes/trims for other clubs on that front either.
    Just think too, a year after they go the drinking ban in grounds would be lifted, and you could get a beer at the game! (again more revenue for the clubs...)

    This would be the re-birth of scottish football, and we could start to create a bit more of a level playing field again (eg TV revenue split equally). Sadly it won't happen - after years of talking about, the OF will bottle it in favour of their current comfy positions, where they can claim glory, bully other clubs and then blame everybody else for a lack of competition.

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  • 236. At 9:18pm on 21 Apr 2009, Wxm-Drew wrote:

    Here's a thought for you....

    I Support Wrexham, who are presently in the Blue Square Premier...

    The comment i wish to add is that as a Welsh Team playing in the English League's we are effectivly Banned from playing in Europe, even if on the off chance we won a qualifying competition....!!!

    What i'd be interested to know is will this apply to Rangers and Celtic....??

    I certainly hope so as its a then a level playing field..!!!

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  • 237. At 9:26pm on 21 Apr 2009, Don Perignon wrote:

    I forgot to add the OF leaving would actually attract investment in other clubs too - at the moment what's the point in me investing £2m in a club, when the chances of winning anything are slim. With the OF gone, I'd invest and have a good chance of seeing my team lift a league title, Scottish cup and being in Europe the following season. With the ugly 2 still in Scotland, £2m could be wasted without any form of emotional return at all.

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  • 238. At 9:48pm on 21 Apr 2009, Rob wrote:

    Firstly, to all of those saying that with access to the same resources the OF would easily break into the Big 4 - there is no guarantee. Look at Newcastle United - similar size stadium, similar support, last meaningful trophy 40 years in the past and more likely to be relegated this year.

    OF might well be better than Champ standard, but European form etc indicates they're more likely to be battling for the UEFA spots than CL - top 10 sides at best without considerable investment. The perception down here is that it's a far easier game up there than down here - the comments about Chris Sutton where usually along the lines of "yeah, but anyone could score that many in Scotland". Not entirely fair, but when you've got SPL sides signing players from the bottom division in England (Jon Daly to Dundee Utd from my own team, to the bemusement of most Pools fans) a jaundiced view of the standard of the teams outside the OF is understandable.

    Assuming it will happen in any case, which is exceedingly doubtful. Gartside (Bolton Chairman) is only proposing it as he wants to try and resurrect his idea from last season of having Prem 2; the lower clubs are all scared of being relegated having seen what's happened to the likes of Leeds, Charlton and Southampton, and some may think that it's better to have a second tier that they can then try and kick the ladder to the FL away from. By talking about inviting the OF he's gained a lot of publicity for the idea, but it's doubtful whether it will get beyond hot air.

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  • 239. At 10:02pm on 21 Apr 2009, gunpaul82 wrote:

    i cannot believe some of the stupid comments from some english can you say that Rangers and Celtic will bring nothing to the EPL?? they are bigger than most english teams, Celtic certainly have a stadium to rival the best..i think after a season or so of adjustment both teams would add a lot to the league..also i think merging the other scottish teams into the various leagues would raise the level of scottish football

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  • 240. At 10:46pm on 21 Apr 2009, SkigerstaBear9 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 241. At 10:54pm on 21 Apr 2009, jim249 wrote:

    It isn't going to happen - the old firm will never be accepted in any reformulated premiership - even in the (highly unlikely) event that they get the necessary support from enough mid-sized English clubs, they will never get the support of local constabularies throughout England. Manchester 2008 was the death knell for any old firm hopes of joining the big boys in England. The TV companies have nothing to gain from it. Sky already have as much coverage as they could wish from Scotland - they won't push for something that will provide marginal increases in their football package.

    The pity of it all is that Scottish football would probably thrive without them. It would be fresher, more competitive and over a period would improve in quality. And meanwhile the old firm would reach their level alongside the Blackburns, Boltons and Middlesboroughs of this world.

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  • 242. At 10:54pm on 21 Apr 2009, Boogie Bear wrote:

    TV revenue (plus sponsorship etc) would plummet if the Old Firm left the SPL. Fans of other clubs are deluding themselves if they think it would be a land of milk and honey without the Big Two. It might (just might) be more competitive in a sense, but a league of pub teams can be evenly matched. Moreover what is often overlooked is that we've had a lot of competition in various areas of the SPL at the moment.

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  • 243. At 11:02pm on 21 Apr 2009, GGW1973 wrote:

    Scottish football is on the verge of being wiped off the map. If the Old Firm go to England then you can kiss goodbye to the Scottish Football Association (SFA), the Scottish Premier League (SPL) and the national team along with it.


    Simple. The SPL will become the equivalent of a regional league in a British League set-up. UEFA and FIFA will close the book on Scottish football - the British Olympic Football Team will be the first nail in the coffin with the Old Firm's debut in the EPL 2 the second.

    Those who believe the SPL will afford greater opportunity to win the SPL and qualify for Europe are extremely naive. Firstly, Scotland will no longer exist as a Member Association of FIFA or UEFA - it will be replaced by a British Football Association (BFA).

    But how will the EPL (or BFA) handle the transition? Surely if Motherwell, Hearts and Hibs et al want some of the Old Firm action and join the Football League, then suddenly you have what The FA and SFA have feared for decades - regular cross-border football on a weekly basis that issues an invitation back to the hooligan ravaged 1970's and 1980s - do you remember why they canned the Auld Enemy fixture after 1989?

    Scottish football fans have a wonderful reputation abroad but that will no longer have a platform for existence. The magnificent Tartan Army will become absorbed into the Barmy Army. That might be alright for Rangers fans but for the rest its oblivion.

    Chick is correct to point out the fissures in the Scottish football fabric - Celtic are obsessed with their ties to Ireland; a significant section of the Ibrox support are obsessed with losing their Scottish identity amid the unhealthiest excesses of the English fanbase.

    Here's a question for you - if push comes to shove do you really think English fans would welcome a Scottish contingent amid their Barmy Army-style ranks in the foreign fields of some World Cup or European Championship? England as far as I am aware have yet to eradicate their bully-boy reputation abroad - do Scottish fans really want that stain on their tunic?

    Celtic, Rangers and the Tartan Army - A Scottish society split three ways about to tear not only the football community further apart but cause it to explode.

    Summary - The Two Point Plan To Destroy Scottish Football

    1. The Old Firm leave Scotland and join the EPL 2

    2. The Great Britain Football Team participate at the Olympic Games Men's Football Tournament 2012

    The Result - FIFA and UEFA Possible Responses

    1. Scottish clubs lose UEFA spots and FIFA status as a Member Association

    2. Great Britain Football Association formed..?

    3. Scottish clubs to revert to a Regional "National League" Competition..?

    4. Scottish clubs to seek membership of the Football League to ensure long term survival and viability..?

    5. The Old Firm flourish financially in the post-SPL/EPL 2 environment. Think about the joy and satisfaction Irish and British-thinking Old Firm fans will get from the transition south...and stop to ask yourself what happens to Scottish - the true Scottish - football fans left behind?

    Will everybody in Scotland become an Old Firm fan to whet their appetite for EPL 1 and EPL 2 football? Will they become fans of other EPL 1 and EPL 2 clubs? Or will they vote with their higher conscience and follow their local team - Queen of the South, Motherwell, Stranraer or Morton..?

    You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure that one.

    Somebody in the SFA and SPL needs to move to restructure the Scottish football set-up altogether (league expansion to 16 clubs) and offer the Old Firm some type of opportunity to be part of the blueprint for the future - let's not be completely uncharitable to the Old Firm.

    League expansion, a restructure of the leagues in general needs to take place - for too long the same old ten/twelve clubs playing four times per season has creaked along with the Old Firm predictably winning it everytime.

    If you keep doing the same things, getting the same results and expect a different outcome you are either mental, mad or stupid.

    Just an opinion.

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  • 244. At 11:11pm on 21 Apr 2009, eehhee wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 245. At 11:16pm on 21 Apr 2009, QPR4Me wrote:

    Not going to happen.

    The reasons?

    1) Celic and Rangers would be banned from qualifying for European football via a "foreign" league. The example of Cardiff City or Swansea City doesn't stand up as there was no Welsh league for them to play in when they joined the English pyramid and they were banned from qualifying for Europe via the Welsh Cup when the Welsh league was set up.

    2) As others have said, if this were to happen, the SFL would collapse, something that the SFA wouldn't like.

    3) FIFA would almost certainly ask what is the point of Scotland existing in World football once their teams have done a bunk and left the rest to go bust. On this the SFA would be looking at their existence and their country ceasing to be. Surely they would force CFC and RFC to stay, or would they like to be swallowed up in "Team GB"?

    4) Gartside's silly plan will never be welcomed by the likes of the top 4, Everton, Villa, Man City etc as in time, it would cost them vast amounts of lost income due to the reduced number of games. This silly plan would also be tested in the courts by the likes of Charlton, Southampton and Leeds if they were ever banned from the possibility of getting back to the top flight.

    As I said, it'll never happen.

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  • 246. At 11:31pm on 21 Apr 2009, Paul Moore wrote:

    As a Boro fan I'm starting to get a complex!
    As has been pointed out it is 'Middlesbrough' NOT 'Middlesborough' - but mainly give us a break with the using us as an example of a smaller premiership team stuff!

    Boro is not even a city, is quite small (smallest catchment area in the premiership apart from Blackburn) BUT - we still have a pretty decent recent history and cannot be compared to Wigan/Blackburn/Fulham etc...! (outsie the top 4 we have been to more cup finals in the last 12 years than any other English club and played in the UEFA cup final just a few years ago)

    Of course, I'm missing the point of the blog here!

    Rangers and Celtic are Scottish clubs so should play in Scotland - end of. There was no welsh league originally and Cardiff, Swansea, Wrexham and Newport County all grew up in the English leagues.

    I do agree that both the OF clubs would be up there with Man U and Liverpool, they are massive clubs - but they are Scottish massive clubs!


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  • 247. At 11:33pm on 21 Apr 2009, hardtofigure wrote:

    UEFA have already stated that they would like only 16 teams in all the major European leagues and Sky put forward an idea a few seasons ago about a Premiership 1 and a Premiership 2 league with 16 teams in both.

    Their proposal was the 16 top teams in the Premiership go into Premiership 1 with the bottom 6 dropping into Premiership 2.
    This league would also include the top 8 teams from the Championship plus Celtic and Rangers.
    Rangers and Celtic are as big box office around the world as any of the top English teams and Sky could sell the matches easily.

    Both leagues would receive the same Sky coverage and the same Sky money. (This idea was pre Setanta)

    Sky felt that Championship teams wouldn't complain because more of them would move up into a less competitive Premier league and still get the extra money.

    There were appparently two major stumbling blocks to the idea.
    Some established Premiership clubs didn't want Rangers and Celtic down here and UEFA didn't want to encourage clubs moving across borders to play in the league of their choosing.

    I'm not sure either of these issues have been resolved yet.

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  • 248. At 11:36pm on 21 Apr 2009, Beagal wrote:

    I hope it never happens. Football is about tradition and this isn't tradition its as distant as asking Barcelona and Real Madrid to join the Premier League. The worst Fantasy football games included Rangers and Celtic players it was unrealistic. The Times have dropped Celtic and Rangers players from theirs. Just because the Scottish league is poor doesn't mean we have an obligation to provide these teams with decent competition. Top clubs complain they play too many games already, so I presume 2 English teams would have to be relegated. Think of the old England Scotland games the amount of trouble at them think of the Manchester riots because the Scots couldn't hold their beer and finally but not least of all think of Blackpool how many Scots used to couple football with their summer holidays, I will bet half the Scottish nation was conceived in Blackpool.

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  • 249. At 00:16am on 22 Apr 2009, saintCromak wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 250. At 00:22am on 22 Apr 2009, saintCromak wrote:

    sorry Beagle3, you are living in a dream world. Football is all about money.

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  • 251. At 00:32am on 22 Apr 2009, RavenW_BJFC wrote:

    Most of us probably don't expect this to happen as the rest of the English clubs with UEFA cup ambitions don't usually take to imitiating turkeys voting for christmas.

    Typical of Chick to roll back the decades and paint us his picture of stadia full of bigotted old firm fans with no love for Scotland playing against small teams of good natured but ultimately oppressed true football fans. Maybe they dominated your generation Chick, but not in mine or the one after. Sure, you can always say there are plenty of them out there... stop focussing only on the neds. These days you can support Celtic (or the other lot, well done for uniting the divide.. again) for football reasons regardless of anything else. There's plenty at Motherwell,Paisley and Edinburgh that know the songs to sing depending on which big team is visting, they're not all angels... but some of us recognise a wind up when we hear it (or read it in your blog).

    And thanks to Setanta's uniquely twisted coverage (most weeks avoid showing the big games at the busy grounds, where else could you get this? Spanish TV without the Nou Camp, Italian without the San Siro? Don't think so...) - it probably gave these guys the idea to invite the OF down south, watching that every week (a least the bits when Setanta aren't having their blue screen moment ).

    Personally I'd be worried about any knock on effect for the national team, and that does come from someone who'd rather be a Scotland supporter than a Tartan Army member any day! Doh a deer... nah!

    Nice to see the recent outpouring of (somewhat subdued) love from those who don't want to see the big teams take their ball away.

    Regarding the Welsh examples, I thought Cardiff were told they could play in Europe in the end last year if they had won the FA Cup?

    Any English fans that think these 2 clubs wouldnt be big clubs down south is having a laugh... comparing them to any of the NE clubs is missing quite a few points. Including the fan base, much of it already existing down here.

    Also amused by the comments about whether it is "fair" to let the OF in at a certain level.. fair in the football league? Have these people heard of Luton Town?!! Fair was sold down the river a long time ago!

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  • 252. At 00:33am on 22 Apr 2009, jw2034 wrote:

    it will never happen.

    united, chelsea, arsenal, liverpool will vote against it due to the threat they might pose to their champions league spots. villa, everton, spurs likewise for UEFA cup places and reducing their chances of breaking into the top 4. at the bottom, clubs like fulham, blackburn, bolton, stoke, pompey would vote against it given turkeys are not in the habit of voting for christmas; they know 2 of them will probably eventually have to go down to balance the league out.

    given they need 14 votes for it out of the 20 and that the big 4 will almost certainly block vote against it requires only 2 other clubs to be opposed to fail. if the prem was that split against the top 4, we'd not be talking about rangers and celtic joining the premier league - we'd be talking about the whole lot joining some euro superleague.

    the only chance they've got is if either 1) english football falls into an 80s-esque dire state, gets banned from europe and is desperate for domestic cash or 2) celtic and rangers get obscenly rich owners who can pay their way in (talking abramovich pre-credit crunch and then some!)

    also, from a scots perspective - why on earth would rangers and celtic give up 2 guarenteed champions league places?

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  • 253. At 00:40am on 22 Apr 2009, Zippy_George and Bungle wrote:

    Why can't they just join in with the FA Cup to begin with? 1st round like all non-Premier League teams. That would give us a starting off point to where the Old Firm could join an English tournament without if affecting Scottish teams too much. That being said, there's no argument against all the top flight Scottish teams joining with the FA Cup. Wouldn't that be something?

    I personally don't like the idea of the Old Firm teams joining the Premier League for two reasons :

    1. They havent earned it - They'd need to be promoted from the lowest regions of the football league before reaching the Premier League just like any other team

    2. It will, as Chick says, destroy Scottish football. Honestly, what would Scottish football be without Celtic Vs Rangers each season?

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  • 254. At 01:37am on 22 Apr 2009, FloridaGer wrote:

    "huge swathes of their support - blinded as they are with a love of Ireland and England and a loathing of the Tartan Army"

    Love of England ? I assume you mean Britain. I don't see any England flags at Ibrox, I see Saltires and Union Jacks. As for hating the Tartan Army, not every Rangers fan does. Just because a few hundred at Falkirk sang a song about them doesn't mean we all hate them. I think the Scotland fans are the best fans in the world but there is no doubting there is an anti-England feeling amongst them. I see the anti-English as banter but if Rangers were to sing the same songs then the press would be all over it.

    Anyway, I wouldn't like to see us go to the Premiership. We are a Scottish club so therefore, we should play in the Scottish league. We would make more money in England but we would have no European football and wouldn't win as many trophies. I wouldn't want to see Rangers become an average Premiership team

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  • 255. At 02:18am on 22 Apr 2009, Tommo29 wrote:

    yet again all i see is negative comments about the old firm from people on both sides of the border. Having spent six years living in England I met many people who want to see the Old firm play in England.

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  • 256. At 02:25am on 22 Apr 2009, BKKGLWMR wrote:

    Oh Chick you are so far off the mark! The blood will be on the hands of the small minded, power crazy minions who call themselves the SFA and SPL who have been ruining our game for nigh on 40 years now. The powers that be who control the game in Scotland need to take a long hard look at themselves rather than blaming the OF, helped by lame and lazy journalism (?) like this blog.

    Lets be honest. The SPL is one pathetic product and deserves all it gets due to the lack of ambition of non-OF clubs coupled with the small mindedness of the SFA/SPL. One need only look at the decisions made last season when Rangers had a shot at Euro glory, but instead were forced to play game after game after game in the lead up to the UEFA Final. If that does not smack of "we are more important than a Euro trophy for Scotland" then what does. Imagine what a Euro trophy win would have done for the image of our national game? But no, the powers that be had to ensure that the Scottish club in the UEFA Final was completely hamstrung rather than ensure that they had every assistance going in to the game. Little wonder the OF want nothing to do with this lot, and fewer and fewer players want to play for the national team.

    Instead of bleating out this rubbish, where it is easy to blame the OF, how about some proper investigative journalism in to how the Dutch, Danes and Norwegians are stronger footballing nations than us? All this despite all the world cups we qualified for in the 70's and 80's. These must have generated a decent amount of funds for investment in to the game at grassroots level. Had they been, we would be reaping the benefits now, of a number of decent club sides and a decent national side. Thus clearly they were either invested poorly or not at all, so where did the money go? That is where the real fault for the deterioration in our game lies. It's been going downhill for years.

    I for one hope the OF leave the SPL,SFA and all these mickey mouse clubs high and dry. They deserve all they get for their lack of ambition and gross mismanagement. It will serve them right to have to find other ways to survive, rather than increasing prices when those terrible OF fans come to town. The tail has been wagging the dog for far too long.

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  • 257. At 02:40am on 22 Apr 2009, Ciarante wrote:

    Firstly, I’d like to say that I agree with the majority of what Chick said; the OF leaving would kill the Scottish game and leave the SPL in disarray. However, I have to take issue with certain points raised here.

    Yes, the OF would be leaving for money and yes, most of their fans would be delighted to do so. But you can’t help but have some sympathy with their fans desire to leave.

    As it is, the SPL is built around the money raised by the OF, but neither Celtic nor Rangers have a responsibility to anyone but themselves.

    The SPL has eaten itself. There is no attempt to force attractive, modern football upon the backwards self-interest of “the rest”. Every other week I go to Celtic Park and watch a reasonably skilled side do their best to attack some well-drilled defences on an immaculate pitch in a wonderful arena. I enjoy this. A week later I’m watching Celtic field Centre-backs in midfield against a side intent on kicking people on a tiny, grassless pitch. We cannot progress in Europe because we are forced to accommodate the overly physical brutishness of the SPL. We cannot play Marc Crosas away from home because our manager is scared that our midfield will be bullied and receive scant protection from the referee. If I wanted to see 6ft5’ beasts injure each other I’d watch UFC.

    I am a football fan. I pay good money to watch my favourite football team play football. But it seems like every club outside the OF is reluctant to give me what I pay for. They want to sell me “anti-football”. Why should Celtic (or Rangers) or their fans endure these stifling tactics? We are sick of it.

    I don’t know how likely these plans are to succeed, but if we did move the EPL our fans could watch the likes of Arshavin and Torres instead of Wilkie and Bamba. Can you blame us for wanting to leave?

    As for the “you’d just be a normal sized club in England” line: That’s not true. The people saying it know this, it’s obvious. Let’s be clear here; Celtic and Rangers are massive. They are absolutely gigantic clubs that would only grow if they were allowed to play in the EPL. Only Manchester United could confidently claim to be bigger than either Celtic or Rangers. Everyone else; smaller, a couple-comparable. The evidence is there: Celtic generates more turnover (not profit, there is a difference!) than the majority of EPL clubs despite being at a £30million disadvantage every year. That’s not even taking into account the like of Man City and Chelsea, whose turnover is massively inflated by the outgoings funded by their foreign owners. People say Newcastle and Sunderland are comparable based on stadium sizes, yet refuse to acknowledge that this measurement would make Celtic the second biggest club in the UK. Do people think that Arsenal would have built their new stadium to host Falkirk and Inverness? Would Everton take 200,000 fans to a Uefa cup final? Everyone knows the answer is no. We would be 2 of the 5 biggest clubs in England- that’s the truth.

    The OF also have a unique selling point that the EPL lacks: a genuinely fierce derby. They have the Manchester and Liverpool derbies, but they’re not in the same league. They have the likes of Manchester United vs Liverpool, granted. The OF derby is like that, except; there is genuine hate among the fans, there is more history, both clubs are from the same city. Its Manchester United vs Liverpool with knobs on. Granted, the English may say that they don’t want the bitterness, but they know it would be the world’s premier derby if played in the EPL. Who doesn’t want that kind of drama?

    I am a Celtic fan. I want to see my team among the top teams in Europe once again; I believe that playing in the EPL would give my team that status. That may be selfish, but no more so than the fans of other Scottish teams wanting us to stay for their sake.

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  • 258. At 03:41am on 22 Apr 2009, AksaiBlueNose wrote:

    Currently Rangers and Celtic provide half of the support at Scottish games on a Saturday afternoon of playing at home. They play in front of more people than most EPL teams, when at home. They both hover around the top 20 teams in the world in terms of revenue, but can't attract the quality of players to consistantly challenge in Europe. Is it just self interest to want to play against the best teams in Europe and challenge for the top spot? Both sides are stagnating, as is generally accepted neither are worthy (Conming from the stands at Celtic Park and Ibrox) of winning the title, however are still alomost 20 points clear of 3rd place. Scotland is becoming a backwater in football terms, for years there has been lack of investment generally in sports facillities and government encourgagement to play on computers. What is the alternative to the Old Firm joining this new league?

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  • 259. At 05:10am on 22 Apr 2009, mrmudguts wrote:

    Mrmudguts here;

    I am an Australian living in Singapore. I watch Scottish football as much as I can. It is similar to the situation in Australia with a couple of big clubs and the rest.

    If, the "Old Firm" move to the Premier League then why can't the rest move to the Championship/First/Second Division etc?

    Wouldn't this create interest in Scotland also?

    Example Hearts or Hibs playing Leeds or QPR etc. I think the crowds would still enjoy this. This also gives the clubs an opportunity to play in the Premier League just like the English and a couple Welsh Clubs.

    It would need some sorting out but I think it may be viable.

    Two teams in any competition continually winning is a bit boring and frustrating for the smaller clubs and fans.

    Anyway. These are just my thoughts.

    I hope it is all sorted out.

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  • 260. At 05:30am on 22 Apr 2009, MapleRidgeBear wrote:

    Chick, I couldn't agree more. You've nailed it on this one pal. Scottish football would just be left in ruins without the big two and it may even fade away into non existence. Without Celtic and Rangers, the heartbeat of football in our country would die and I for one would hate to see the two of them down South

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  • 261. At 06:14am on 22 Apr 2009, cat3711 wrote:

    People think the English league is dying the same way as the Scottish league.
    A better solution to the problem is not try fix the English problem and just keep the of, however wait until Newcastle get relegated and invite them along with Sunderland into the Scottish league, Creating more competative Scottish league and more marketable.

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  • 262. At 07:17am on 22 Apr 2009, cormorantalpha wrote:

    Well I think the Old firm leaving will be a complete blessing to the game in Scotland. And we should even take the more radical steps.

    We should move our season to play from March to October, which would allow the fans to enjoy the game in better weather.How many amatuer and junior players play during the summer, the fanbase the clubs could muster would be exceptional.

    This would also allow even Old Firm fans from around the country to go and watch their local team as it would not coincide with their season in the English premiership.

    Could even have the cup competions in the middle of the year to allow the Old firm to compete as part of their pre season.

    And even when Scotland start to qualify for tournements, our players, who will pick up so much experience from competing in europe will be fresh for the tournaments while our counterpart nations will have just finished a 50 odd game season and will be knackered lol

    Also when the scottish clubs are vying for the champions league qualifers, they are not caught in pre season like we are now a days...would not want another Artmedia Bratislava!!!

    And I bet Sky would pay a healthy sum of money to buy the rights to show the scottish premier league since there is no competitive football during the summer and they do not get the rights to purchase the World Cup or the Euro Championship...

    So who is with me on this idea...cannot be any worse than what we have would be like a pheonix rising from the ashes of a league that the Old firm have brought to the knees

    Stuart McCredie

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  • 263. At 08:02am on 22 Apr 2009, furiousStGeorge wrote:

    post 196....'And England does need the Old Firm. It's an open Secret that the Premiership's bubble is about to burst, and the income that having the Old Firm would generate would counteract that.'

    got a mighty opinion of your own little teams up north there pal. The EPL has grown to be the biggest most watched league in the world and English teams are once again dominating European competition (as it was always going to once got back on its feat after the 5 years ban). Why would we need the OF? me thinks this is much more about the OF wanting and needing the EPL to grow themselves than the EPL needing the OF.

    Stay away, you're not wanted.

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  • 264. At 08:20am on 22 Apr 2009, AntonioSaucedo wrote:

    It's true that since 92-93 (it started earlier of course) Celtic and Rangers have dominated Scottish football: Rangers have won 10 and Celtic 6; and one of these two will win again this year.

    Having said that, since the inception of the EPL in 92-93 it's been pretty nuch all about Manchester Utd: 10 titles for them + 6 for the rest; and after today we all know they'll more than likely win it all once again.

    The other big leagues in Europe have similar stories to tell since 92-93. In Spain, Barcelona and Real Madrid have won 6 each; in Italy it's a bit hard to tell after Juve's shenigans, but it's been a Milan-Juventus duopoly (10 or 12 titles between the two); in Germany, Bayern have nine crowns; in the Netherlands, PSV 8 and Ajax 6; and in France, Lyon are almost hepta-champs, like the Brazilians would say.

    In sum, this oligarchical title domination in the SPL is not an anomaly in Europe.

    And yes, if they leave for the EPL, the SPl will agonize and die.

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  • 265. At 08:52am on 22 Apr 2009, Colin The Red wrote:

    Here we are again! We seemed to miss this story last year.....might have had something to do with a certain UEFA Cup Final and its aftermath.

    Can't blame Rangers andCeltic for wanting this to happen because at the moment they are being left behind themselves in a lower tier of European football. The Champions league format has failed teams like them as they now produce virtually the same 12 teams in the Last 16 every season.

    Liverpool have played Chelsea how many times in a CL Semi final now????

    The big boys in their own leagues have strangled their own leagues in a desperate bid to get Champions League money but it has been unsustainable for the likes of rangers and celtic and they are now in danger of being left behind.

    Now they know how it feels for the rest of the SPL teams.

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  • 266. At 09:19am on 22 Apr 2009, ShredimusMaximus wrote:

    Hang on a second....

    Setanta - Maybe this is a daft thought but are they actually big enough to compete with the likes of Sky to win TV coverage of the English Premier League? I doubt it. If they can't get TV rights to the EPL then what football are they going to show? SPL anyone? Sure, it will be less money but can we really not survive without the same amount?

    This blog is all doom and gloom but it could be an excellent thing for Scottish Football. We could have a 16 team league minus the Old Squirm. With the first division table as it stands today, that would mean the inclusion of St Johnstone, Partick, Morton, Dundee, Livingston and Dunfermline. Partick might start pulling in more of the less fanatical Old Firm fans who can't afford to make the away trips for EPL matches.

    There would be a return of the Renfrewshire and Dundee derbies to league competition, and even the Highland derby if County get their act together. All these teams would have something to play for and the interest in Scottish football would be kept alive by people who actually matter... the fans.

    I personally don't give a tiny rat's @ss what the rest of the world thinks about our league. All I care about is that it is competitive and has the values of the fans instilled within it.

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  • 267. At 09:32am on 22 Apr 2009, Paisley_saint_doug wrote:

    #31 "the likes of St Mirren" have already dumped one half of the OF out the cup this season (and beathen the other half in the league) and we have a shot at dumping a second OF team out of the cup on Saturday. If the OF join EPL2 and didn't both get promoted in the first season to the EPL it would be interesting to see how many OF fans would travel to away games in EPL2 after the novelty wore off.

    I think SPl clubs would initially get less TV money if the OF left in the short term. I think in the long term they'd have bigger home crowds and stronger fan bases and they'd have a chance to develop and build stronger sides without the OF cherrypicking the matchwinning players in a promising side (Hibs and Hearts may have hung on to players like Hartley, Webster, Pressley, Riorden, Brown, Thomson longer) and you'd have teams like the Edinburgh clubs and Aberdeen and Dundee United in with a chance of winning a spot in the Champions league and the revenue and media profile the OF currently automatically get up here every year.

    I think the EPL may come down harder on the sectarian issue stronger than the SFA has done in the past as well.

    I don't think it will happen though because the OF don't really want it. The present situation suits them. if they have a stinker of a season then the worst they can do is finish a distant 2nd in SPL and contest some cup semis or finals and lose them then go on a spending spree and do better next season. And they can complain about lack of TV money making them unable to compete with the best in Europe. If they get the TV money they have to spend it and there is no guarantee they will spend it well and they could end up in greater debt, less successful and less competitive than they are now with possibly less fans under a scenario where they are a Championship or lower half of the EPL side... as big a club as newcastle and just as likely to win anything :)

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  • 268. At 09:47am on 22 Apr 2009, MrLovermanCsaba wrote:

    This article is close to the truth at present but it doesn't have to be this way in the long term. It is a glaring failure of those running the game in this country that we have run the game almost exclusively for 2 clubs, with no regard for the also rans, and now we have created a dependency on them which could close to ruin our game. If they were running a business with such a "all eggs in one basket" approach they would not last long and neither should they. To put another way, their product range is limited as they have neglected all but 2 ranges.

    The SFA have so much to answer for in relation to the old firm.

    The inequalities start because people support them for sectarian reasons and the SFA have never tackled sectarianism. The outlawed famine song is sung every 2nd week making a mockery of our rulers. The establishment clubs and the subsequent revenue streams have been protected by failing to tackle a national embarrassment.

    Refereeing decisions deliver another unfair advantage because ref's are too scared to upset either half of the old firm in what would be national uproar. The Andy Davies affair robbed hearts of much needed points that night but all anybody could talk about was the impact on Celtic.

    Why are old firm games scheduled when they are just because sectarianism (which should've beeen tackled) prevents a fair set of fixtures?

    Why are old firm games refereed with "common sense"? It should be another game refereed in exactly the same manner.

    If the SFA could take itself out of Glasgow and realise the feelings of supporters across the country they may actually seek to run the game with more equality.

    Grass roots football is a joke in our country and I say that as someone who has been coached by the clowns we have in this country who again run the game with personal agendas. Why else would our national team be in such a state for so long?

    If we actually took the blinkers off and ran the game from top to bottom with a long term strategy we may have a long term future. If we dont the old firm will have the SFA by the short and curley's for many years to come and those running our game will continue to pander to them instead of actually running our game decisively. Personally speaking its hard to feel sorry for an establishment which is so inadeqate and has got itself into the mess all of its own making.

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  • 269. At 09:55am on 22 Apr 2009, TurboT wrote:

    It's plain to see that you are a supporter of one of the old firm with your comments.

    "But I'll tell you this; the get-on-your-way-it-will-be-a-better-place-without-you brigade has no idea of how serious the situation really is."

    My opinion is the same as many other non-old firm fans in that Scottish football has been dead for many years, we enter a competition in August that we have zero chance of winning and this isn't going to change. How much worse can it get by the old firm leaving?
    Teams will lose out on a few thousand extra fans 4 times per season, however, if there team has a chance of winning the league, they will only need a few hundred extra fans per game to compensate the loss of revenue from the old firm games.

    As for the TV money - the current split is along the lines of 1/3 to Rangers, 1/3 to Celtic with the remaning third split between the other ten.

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  • 270. At 10:23am on 22 Apr 2009, McPowder wrote:

    I grew up on a diet of Scottish football, have followed the Tartan across the world and savoured some of the more memorable moments of the league when it was more competitive in the late 70's and 80's. In truth though the 'product' served up now is embarassing and the demise of the league is sadly inevitable.

    Chic is right about the role that money plays but there is another issue in which I believe we are all culpable. Scottish media and the average Scottish football fan is introverted. While we worry about the trivial goings on in our wee hamlets the world around us changed. Steadfast passion, hanging onto tradition and the faded memories of sepia tainted glory has left our sport in the doldrums. We have spent years and years looking back not forward. We accepted this situation long ago.

    The SFA have to shoulder a large part of the blame. They are responsible for investment in football and have squanderd resources which should have been used to develop the game. They can't even create a national academy or facilities for the youth game. They lack vision, ambition and vigour. I see old grey men struggling to keep pace with change and ex-footballers trying to be admistrators. It doesn't work.

    The blame needs to be shared. It isn't just about the media money and the clubs greed. We are complicit in the games demise. The media fails to create debate about the really important issues and we, the audience, accept the meagre offerings dished up. We should have been looking outwards and respond by developing our game, so why are we surprised when the Old Firm do exactly that?

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  • 271. At 10:41am on 22 Apr 2009, Super_Mario wrote:

    Another piece of lazy journalism from Chick Young, Its all very well writing blogs which appeals to the masses, Especially when you stereotype all old firm fans with the bigotry tag, but remember that 90% of the stories you write involve Celtic or Rangers, the old firm have been Massive clubs for 100+ years, not just since the millenium and this initiative is been being proposed by an english clubs' chairman, Peter Lawell is quoted as saying he has heard nothing about it other than the rumour and YOUR paper talk but sensibly said they would feel obliged to look at it rather than flaunting themselves as you describe.

    Keep up the bad work Chick, it's how you have made your name after all!

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  • 272. At 10:45am on 22 Apr 2009, Sixty8_Ninety9_2K8 wrote:

    It will also spell the beginning of the end for the Old Firm.....joining the EPL means that they will actually have more than 4 competitive league games per season and without the revenue currently enjoyed from Champions League qualification it is unlikely that either will qualify for Europe or win any silverware.....this means that both sides would be destined for mid-table mediocrity at best....even with the additional TV revenue!

    I dont think the majoriy of English fans could give two hoots about the Old Firm pair and I sincerely hope they continue to ply their trade north of the border....the current EPL set-up does not need overhauling or Scottish imports!!

    On the subject of imports though and the danger of losing the Scottish National team through this I shouldnt worry....we have been playing host to Swansea, Cardiff and Wrexham for years without FIFA poking their nose into the status of Wales as an independant nation.

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  • 273. At 10:46am on 22 Apr 2009, chopper2288 wrote:


    I think you forget about how poor the level of football the old firm play has got. Maybe back ten years i could see Rangers and Celtic maybe competing in the top ten of the premiership but the inlfux of players to the top league down south is showing the difference in gulf. i agree with #4, i think for at least the first 3 seasons i would be surprised to see the old firm make it to the premiership. Obviously we do bring alot of fans and are known worldwide but mainly due to what the old firm did in the past, as of right now we have two very poor teams for the size of the clubs, but the size of the club doesnt bring you success. newcastle are a perfect example of that and if the OF moved down south i could see it going pear shaped.

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  • 274. At 10:58am on 22 Apr 2009, Lookie Bookie wrote:

    To start this off yes i am an old firm fan, will just get that out of the road straight away. I do not want to see rangers in the premiership at all as they are a scottish club and should always remain that. I wouldn't feel the same about watching rangers vs watford as i would with playing hearts, hibs or even aberdeen.

    The reality though for the rest of the non old firm is bleak if they do move. Setanta would no longer be paying for tv rights, so although more would get a share of the pie it wouldn't exactly be a large one. There would be a nominal rise in attendances but even when hearts had a chance with the old firm in the league of winning they still didn't pack out every week! Hearts as a club would be in major troubles as 27 million in debt with little tv money and sponsorships would surely find it impossible to survive with only 18000 through the gates.

    THe old firm take it in the neck up here for dominating the league, but can anyone name a league in europe that isn't dominated by the bigger teams? I mean for all that villerael and sevilla pushed the big two in spain neither of the sides have won it, and valencia's push to win it has now landed them in the economic black hole they are currently in. For all the bad sides that these two clubs undoubtedly bring to the game they also bring a lot of good. Would the europa 4th place be there if it wasn't for the last few years of good european performances over the last 5 years? In recent memory i can only think of hearts and aberdeen making any sort of mark in europe in 10 years.

    The best part though i have heard is alan rough last night saying that this couldn't happen as teams all over europe would try to do the same. I mean imagine cardiff and swansea playing in the english leagues....

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  • 275. At 11:01am on 22 Apr 2009, BognorRock wrote:

    I think some Scottish fans are missing the point slightly. Most English fans would object this move, not because we underestimate the size, fanbase etc of the old firm, but because its the ENGLISH premier league and I for one would like to keep it that way (que comments about being full of foreign players, owners etc, but at least all the clubs are based in England at present).

    Whisper it, but we English are proud of our nationality too (even though we are rarely allowed to show it these days) and therefore would like the English league full of English based clubs.

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  • 276. At 11:28am on 22 Apr 2009, Kendogersfan wrote:

    As usual this is nothing more than press sensationalism, making something out of what was more than likely a throw away comment made by the Bolton chairman. I have yet to hear him stand up in front of the assembled press masses and say these words which you can be damn sure if he had done then it would be on EVERY news program in Scotland.

    I am an ardent Club and Country Scottish Gers fan and I take offence at being likened to a neanderthal and told what I do or more to the point don't like. The press as ALWAYS slate both sides of the Old Firm when it suits them never praising them so why do you think most fans want out of Scottish football...................

    I KNOW ON WHOS HANDS THE BLOOD WILL BE CHIC and it 'aint mine or my clubs

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  • 277. At 11:30am on 22 Apr 2009, Kendogersfan wrote:

    QUOTE "275. At 11:01am on 22 Apr 2009, BognorRock wrote:
    I think some Scottish fans are missing the point slightly. Most English fans would object this move, not because we underestimate the size, fanbase etc of the old firm, but because its the ENGLISH premier league and I for one would like to keep it that way (que comments about being full of foreign players, owners etc, but at least all the clubs are based in England at present).

    Whisper it, but we English are proud of our nationality too (even though we are rarely allowed to show it these days) and therefore would like the English league full of English based clubs."

    So Swansea and Cardiff are English now are they mate??????

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  • 278. At 11:32am on 22 Apr 2009, BeppeSignori wrote:

    "its the ENGLISH premier league and I for one would like to keep it that way"

    Cardiff, Swansea, Wrexham.

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  • 279. At 11:43am on 22 Apr 2009, adistortedreality wrote:

    Absolute nonsense!!!

    Scottish football is in it's death throes with these two holding their blood soaked hands around the throat of its wilting carcass.

    Without them Scottish football may be able to breath again. granted it may take 5-10 years to grow to grow interest outside of Scotland but within Scotland it would be a magical thing to happen.

    Obviously you dont want them to go for three reasons Chic; firstly because you know that they would be doomed to failure outside of the small pond, secondly the pair of them are your meal ticket, you and Traynor and the rest of the self appointed 'experts' are employed, paid and given expense accounts to report on the pair of them, if they were getting gubbed in the English Championship week in week out the glory hunters would soon desert them and your filth, muck raking and scare mongering would no longer have the demand to sustain your employment. finally, it will never happen so this is just another just for you to preach about how bad all the rest of us are and how wonderful the bile brothers are.

    I cant wait for the day they both either leave Scotland or implode with insurmountable debts (which may be soon for your glorious Glasgow Rangers)

    Crowds would go up, local interest would flourish, teams would field more and more not only Scottish but local talent. A level of competition not seen in a generation would happen and eventually TV revenues, European places and talent development would help us all forget the bad old days of 11-1 votes and having to play against the house stacked deck.

    Imagine it Chic, final day of the season. Aberdeen away to Hearts in a league title decider with United needing a win at home to Hibs to try and steal a European place... You would be spewing because you would be in the Championship reporting on Rangers away to Burnley to avoid the drop.

    We dont need them, we dont want them and we dont want you and your gossiping nae-sayers either.

    It will never happen though but if it does - good riddance!I'll help pack their bags and yours.

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  • 280. At 11:48am on 22 Apr 2009, gormo7 wrote:

    The whole idea is wrong and injust.

    I rellay dont have an opinion on whether the OF could or couldnt do well in the EPL, i relaly dont care.

    What i do care about is the fact that making EPL1 and EPL2 would be a kcik up the ars* of all English football league fans. Allowing the two teams to come into the second tier (preventing promotion for 2 teams) and only having ONE relegation spot is ludicrous! That is a joke!

    There is nothing wrong with the way the English football league is at the moment, so dont change it.

    Reading all of these comments you can clearly see an English/Scottish divide starting to form, and its pathetic. Im an Englishman who has many Scot mates and we all respect eachother. You rarely find an Englishman that hates a Scotsman for 'no reason.' But why does it seem that nearly 99% of Scotsmen hate Englishman for 'no reason?' Until that is sorted out there should be no way the OF should be allowed into the English that means forever then.

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  • 281. At 11:55am on 22 Apr 2009, saintgunni wrote:

    Too often us Scots are portrayed as being parochial and insular as regards to our nationalism, reading some of the posts fron English people on this blog it would appear that compared to some people like Bognor Rock and his pals we Scots are an exrtremely tolerent bunch, I know it wont happen but if the bigot brothers did move south I feel sure their intolerent stance would be right at home.

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  • 282. At 12:09pm on 22 Apr 2009, captainEd23 wrote:

    Some sensible points from Chico but as usual you have to wade through fairly weird stuff along the way, like this -

    ' Not that, I suspect, huge swathes of their support - blinded as they are with a love of Ireland and England and a loathing of the Tartan Army - will care.'

    Well, the Tartan Army issue first - I fully agree with shoehorn above, I support Scotland but regard the Tartan Army as a joke long past its sell-by date - they are a drinking club, the anti-English chants are racist, and they are bad advert for Scotland. Compare the Irish Republic's fans, who get on with everybody and do it without lying pished in the street.

    As for Celtic fans supporting Ireland and Gers fans supporting England, there's an element of wind-up among both sets of fans - seen and heard it often enough at Firhill.

    As somebody says above, Ibrox seems to be a sea of saltires these days and I can't mind seeing an English flag there - I think when Butcher et al were there, there may have been some, but that's a long time ago.

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  • 283. At 12:10pm on 22 Apr 2009, Hokey_Koki_Mizuno wrote:

    the Old Firm have not instigated this but lets not stop the rest of you having a dig at them. face it if they left the SPl would be no better than the league of Northen Ireland. stop kidding yourself it would get more competitive and crowds would go up, utter deluded nonsense.

    personally id rather the Old Firm stayed for the obvious reason it may affect Scotlands status as independent in the eyes of UEFA and FIFA and im not sure whether this may be part of the reason for it rearing its ugly head again

    go on the remaining 10 teams , give it a try without the OF and watch as no TV companies or sponsor invest and some wee pointless clubs are culled (and not before time)

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  • 284. At 12:24pm on 22 Apr 2009, etienne123 wrote:

    if they're leaving scotland why don't they join an all-ireland league? they'd feel right at home.

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  • 285. At 12:36pm on 22 Apr 2009, ChuckOld wrote:

    Chick Young has taken the prospect of an Old Firm move very seriously and rightly so. Just as nobody is going to be interested in watching Motherwell vs Kilmarnock when they can watch Celtic vs Everton or Rangers vs Liverpool, so to will they be less inclined to read anything Chick has written. Out in the cold and jobless, no wonder the man is worried.

    But if we remove Chick Young's personal attachment to the SPL and the fruits that the Old Firm have delivered him in the last 20 years, we see a very different picture.

    Firstly, we need to ignore Chick's childish comments about Celtic's love for Ireland and Rangers love for England and note that the historical events that have moulded the city these two giants represent coupled with the political landscape of Britain and Ireland has driven the two sets of fans to a rivalry that exceeds the boundaries of normality. You would think that a football correspondent with 20 years experience would know a thing or two about why certain rivalries breed absurd behaviour, but when a journalist writes from the position of possible personal loss, coherent thought goes out the window.

    Football has changed, money dictates the game these days and nostalgia and tradition is important only to those whose teams have no silverware.If Rangers and Celtic go south there will be no blood on their hands, although some will suggest they do.

    The modern game now sees the top 4 teams from some nations competing in a European Champions League as opposed to just the winners of their respective leagues playing in a straight knock out cup as used to be the case. Things change and those who are afraid of change cannot be protected by the people who march on in the name of progress.

    Rangers and Celtic are not responsible for Scottish Football, neither are Motherwell or Dundee United. Each club is responsible for their own future and together they combine to form a league that sustains each of them. However, when one or two of the members out grow that set up they should be able to leave without explanation or ill feeling.

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  • 286. At 12:37pm on 22 Apr 2009, JonnyWigs wrote:

    Having read most of the posts on here, I am shocked at the naivety of some Scottish posters on here who think the OF teams would be challenging for the Premiership title within five years.
    They would not, I would be willing to bank all my worldly possessions on that!

    Rangers and Celtic are undoubtedly massive clubs in terms of fanbase both in the UK, and in Europe, but a big fanbase does not buy you success.

    For examples, look at Newcastle, Sunderland and Man City. (And cast your mind back to Leeds, Sheffield United and Nottingham Forest)
    Even with vast amounts of money, the OF would be competing for the same players as Man Utd, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal - all wealthy and successful clubs. Then throw into the equation Man City, who can afford any player they fancy, Spurs, who have a great pedigree, and other traditional clubs who have had success over the years such as West Ham, Everton, and Aston Villa.

    Many posters on here are guilty of huge misconceptions: Footballers do not go to a club just because they fill their stadium every week. Also, not all players are attracted to a club purely by the money they can earn. The factors that often make a potential player’s mind up at to which club to sign for are the success of that club, the manager and coaching staff of the club, and the geographical location of the club (Liverpool and even Man Utd have missed out on players who have preferred to London lifestyle to life up North – and before I get any abuse, I am from the North West).

    So, you are the next big thing from Europe, and are desperate to play in the Premiership. The three offers on the table are a team from the North West who are challenging for the title, a fashionable club based in a trendy area of London, or a club based in Glasgow, who are new to the Premiership, and who have a chequered history of bigotry.
    Gates of fifty-odd thousand every week or not, who would you cross off your list first?

    I’m not saying the OF would drop into lower leagues as some have suggested, but please don’t think they will enter the Premiership and instantly take the league by storm.

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  • 287. At 12:52pm on 22 Apr 2009, ....and surely that's great news for the rest of scottish football. wrote:

    Post 263....
    "got a mighty opinion of your own little teams up north there pal. The EPL has grown to be the biggest most watched league in the world and English teams are once again dominating European competition (as it was always going to once got back on its feat after the 5 years ban). Why would we need the OF? me thinks this is much more about the OF wanting and needing the EPL to grow themselves than the EPL needing the OF.

    Stay away, you're not wanted."

    Ah, that's me told. Oh no, wait.... you completely ignored what I said, and answered another question entirely. I guess that's not me told....

    As I said previously, you clearly have no idea how big the Old Firm are. Vast swathes of the population of the USA, Australia, New Zealand (in fact, anywhere where there's been migration to from Scotland and Ireland) follow both teams, buy their merchandise, sign up to TV channels that follow them etc. Even UEFA, that notoriously ignorant organisation, had their eyes opened by the number of fans (80,000+) that Celtic took to Seville for the UEFA cup final (more consumers for their 'product'), and have been a bit more attentive to Scottish football since. The fact is that the Premiership has reached saturation point, and they desperately need to bring in more money. Look at the state of the finances of the majority of Premiership, and you'll see why they would want the Old Firm filling their stadiums, buying their ludicrously overpriced food, and, most importantly, bringing in millions of new viewers and the TV money that they would bring.

    Having said that, I still cling to the notion that football should be for football sake, but unfortunately I seem very much in the minority. Money is king these days, and that is why it may happen. I said that UEFA wouldn't allow it, but I think we all know that the smell of money would probably clear that hurdle.....

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  • 288. At 12:53pm on 22 Apr 2009, HfromGateshead wrote:

    The only way that this proposal would work for Scottish clubs outside the Old Firm is if the SPL were given a promotion place to Premier League 2 each season. That way Hearts, Hibs etc could make the jump without having to travel to Bournemouth or Brighton or whereever. The English pyramid is based on gradually decreasing geographical areas and works well. Why not a British pyramid?

    with a bit of imagination, the Welsh and Northern Irish leagues could be found their correct niche as well. The Welsh: promotion into the Football League Two and the Irish into the (renamed) SPL for example.

    Surely every club should have a right to find its Level. If Celtic and Rangers can compete in the Premier League then great but equally if Dundee United can compete in Premier League 2 they should have the chance but with a more localised league (the SPL) to return to if they can't sustain the PL level. Then it becomes about sport again. But at the same time Sky and the like must be watering at the mouth at the idea of screening Celtic v Manchester United and I would suggest that at least initially Hibs v Wolves say would probably get more viewers than Wigan v Wolves.

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  • 289. At 12:53pm on 22 Apr 2009, The Law Man wrote:

    I love how some people writing here are saying that rangers and celtic, who lost to kaunas (and we know where their financing comes from) and aalborg respectively could compete ON ANY TERMS with teams in the premiership. It is sheer fantasy. Is that inability because of money? Doubt that aalborg and kaunas are rolling in the dough somehow.

    In any case, if they wanted entry to the top tier, how much money would they have to pay to get in? £100m I've heard. Can Rangers in their financial state afford that? Do they have a clean attractive brand which can appeal to wealthy buyers? No on both counts. Even if they could, they would have to make do with their current players (kris boyd against john terry, rio ferdinand and vidic, don't make me laugh) to survive until they get financial parity over the next couple of years or buy others above and beyond the £100m capital sum they would have to pay for entrance. Doubt that would be happening somehow.

    A further point, and one which will apply to rangers in particular, is that no-one would want their fans having witnessed the way they behaved in Manchester. Fans who, to be honest, I can imagine preferring to stay big fish in a small pond.

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  • 290. At 1:08pm on 22 Apr 2009, hardtofigure wrote:

    Some people are talking about top teams down South being worried about losing their European places if the Old Firm move down, but the Old Firm would probably be put in Premiership 2 to begin with and there would be no European qualification from that division.

    They would have to qualify for Premiership 1 which is not guaranteed, and then they would need to do well enough to qualify for Europe.
    There are plenty of teams down there who struggled to get into the top division and then struggled even more to stay in it.

    It would be many years before either of the Old Firm got back into Europe.
    The bonus for them would be that they would make more money from playing in the EPL than they ever make from playing in Europe and with that money, they both could start to build teams capable of competing in the EPL.

    If Carling sponsor them then why don't they invite them to compete in the Carling Cup to begin with, as a way to get a foot in the door and a chance to see how good, or how bad they both really are.
    Lets face it, nobody from England who watched the Scottish League Cup final would have any fears about their team being drawn against these 2 second rate teams.
    There wasn't a decent footballing move or decent player on show that day from either side.

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  • 291. At 1:12pm on 22 Apr 2009, BognorRock wrote:

    #278 - Cardiff, Swansea, Wrexham are Premier League teams are they?

    For the record I wouldn't be thrilled if any of them were in the Premier League either but at least they'd have earned the right by coming up from the lower leagues.

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  • 292. At 1:15pm on 22 Apr 2009, captainEd23 wrote:

    I think that's a brilliant idea Monaco

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  • 293. At 1:40pm on 22 Apr 2009, furiousStGeorge wrote:

    post 287, i couldn't care how big the OF are or what you think the OF are worth monetarily or crowd wise, my point was that you said the EPL needs the OF, i say thats baloney. It is the OF who would gain far far more by joining the EPL than what the EPL would gain from the OF. Read before you commetent!

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  • 294. At 1:42pm on 22 Apr 2009, The Dirty Tackle wrote:

    Good blog this week Chic.

    There are many positives and negatives to take out of the moving leagues rumours.
    Positives: OF move and secure rights etc. Teams in Scotland steadily improve, revenue is divided. Hearts, Aberdeen, Hibs etc vie for the Champions League spot.
    Negatives: The game in Scotland implodes
    I think a lot of fans forget Swansea, Cardiff City and Wrexham ply their trade in the English leagues. Would there be an uproar if Cardiff made it through the play-offs and secured an EPL spot, therefore ''taking'' and English teams rightful place?
    Another point, the English FA and League cup - hosted at Wales Millennium stadium for while. I was puzzled, as there is a plethora of world class stadia throughout England, yet none suitable for the finals. It basically counteracts the ''we don't want them'', by having double standards.
    In essence, I personally do not think it will happen. It's all bluff and media wh0ring from Jordan.

    All the best,

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  • 295. At 4:08pm on 22 Apr 2009, peejkerton wrote:

    We don't need or want Rangers in the English Premier League 1 or 2. They've had a strangle hold on Scottish football for so long, that what needs to occur is a financial restructuring of your league to make it more competitive. Rangers and Celtic wouldn't have the money available to them that they think they'd get, and they'd struggle in Premier League 2 against smaller teams that are better set up.

    After all, if you are looking to buy players from bottom of the Premiership/Top of the Championship whilst in Scotland, and whilst dominating all the money available to those teams... What chance do you have when you have larger gates than most, but the same TV money as everyone else.

    Its OK. You stay in Scotland, and we'll have Premier League 1 and 2. With the newly formed Football League Championship once again battling with you for those level of players that want an easy way to get European Football without actually playing in a competitive league.

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  • 296. At 4:10pm on 22 Apr 2009, sounesstablishment007 wrote:

    The Premiership isn't that good. Are teams like Stoke, Middlesboro, Sunderland, Hull, Fulham really so great? I think with the money ALL the EPL sides get just for being in that over-hyped league, the 'Champions' League money-pot that the Old Firm are so desperate for at the moment would seem like pocket-change in comparison. Because of this Celtic and Rangers would WIPE THE FLOOR with the other sides in as long as it takes to buy some better players, and by the time they were qualifying for the 'Champions' League (is that not about 8th place upwards in England anyway?) it would be a 'Top 4' of Man Utd, Liverpool, Celtic & Rangers - no other clubs in the UK have the fan-base or commercial impact of these 4 clubs. Unfortunately the rest of the teams in Scotland would have to battle it out for a chance to be involved in 18 rounds of qualification into Europe competition. Wouldn't it be exciting and competitive though? Killmarnock V Hamilton? Falkirk V Inverness, Aberdeen V Motherwell? Part-time football? No fans? No cash? THRILL A MINUTE.

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  • 297. At 4:29pm on 22 Apr 2009, Davros wrote:

    Given how most non-Celtic & Rangers fans' complain about how 'terrible' they both are and how low the playing standard now is in The SPL, why shouldn't they go somewhere, they might be appreciated and find new challenges?

    The only issue I can see, is re. 'security', as until the novelty value ends, you'd get vast nos. of travelling fans wanting to go to away games, up to 10-15000, possibly for the bigger games.

    On the playing front, both clubs are top 6-8 material overall.
    Any english fans who don't think this are kidding themselves, though it would be Goodbye to the CL for a long while.

    Hail Hail!

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  • 298. At 4:57pm on 22 Apr 2009, ronrafferty wrote:

    Some English fans have said that English clubs are dominating competitions in Europe.Apart from the big four in the CL that just is not true.In the Uefa cup English clubs have been made to look very ordinary.For instance Man City in Hamburg was the worst performance I can ever remember from any British club in Europe.
    Even the big four are really only franchise clubs now with players bought for stupid money from all around the world and being owned and managed by non-English companies.
    Football has been primarily a big business for years now so if it makes business sense then Rangers and Celtic will be in the Premier Leage before long.
    What's the difference in allowing Scots teams to join the gravy-train to allowing Welsh clubs to play in the English league?
    As for the divide in the Scottish game that Chic talks about-what's new,it's there already.
    Anyway I'll just get out the video of my team,Dundee United beating Barcelona home and away whilst getting to the final of the Uefa Cup.Who needs the Old Firm?

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  • 299. At 5:04pm on 22 Apr 2009, 1Wattie wrote:

    I don`t particularly agree that the OF going south would be the end of Scottish football because there are many more teams to consider than Rangers and Celtic.
    Until now they have plundered the best of our homegrown players for sometimes a fraction of their true worth and in many cases left them sitting on the bench. Kenny Miller and Derek Riordan are typical examples and surely would have kept the game here more entertaining and competitive by remaining with their clubs. I`m not pointing the finger at the OF because they have a responsibility to their fans to put the best players available on the park but if they do have better players why buy any more?.
    The issue of them joining any league in England will be decided by TV money and if Sky, Setanta or BBC want them included it will be very difficult for the EPL to keep them out.
    Personally I can`t stand either of them and their "we keep the rest of you alive" attitude but if it were not for the rest of the teams in Scotland they would have to play each other 30 odd times a season and you can hardly qualify for Europe from a league of 2 teams.
    All that said I also believe that in order for both of them to progress they need to be in a stronger, more financially beneficial league. Whether that means EPL1 or EPL2 or somewhere else will be decided later but I really feel that Scottish football will recover from their going. Maybe this is just the kick up the backside that we need to look at our game and get rid of all the deadwood and rebuild the game here.

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  • 300. At 5:41pm on 22 Apr 2009, JonnyWigs wrote:

    Vanhoward (post 296), that really is a deluded view you have.

    How can the EPL be overhyped when yet again this season, the latter stages of the Champions League are dominated by English team?

    You asked if teams like Stoke, Middlesboro, Sunderland, Hull, Fulham are really so great?

    In comparison to Man U, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea – perhaps not, but let us look at the comparisons by current league positions:

    Liverpool v Celtic
    Man Utd v Rangers
    Chelsea v Hearts
    Arsenal v Dundee
    Aston Villa v Aberdeen
    Everton v Hibs
    West Ham v Motherwell
    Fulham v Kilmarnock
    Spurs v St Mirren
    Man City v Hamilton
    Wigan v ICT
    Stoke v Falkirk

    Read my post of earlier (286). Big crowds do not mean success. Money does not mean success. Yes they help, but there are other important factors to be taken into consideration or, Newcastle United would be top four every year, and all the world’s best players would be player for Manchester City by now.

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  • 301. At 6:04pm on 22 Apr 2009, sounesstablishment007 wrote:

    JonnyWigs (#300) - Yeah, but England has a population 11 times that of Scotland, so to compare the amount of clubs and financial standing is completely irrelvant. Money doesn't buy success you are correct, it's just as well because the Old Firm are skint! But club size/history/past acheivements/huge stadiums/training complexes/massive international support do - that's why Man Utd are top and have Cristiano Ronaldo and Man City are mid-table and have Craig Bellamy.

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  • 302. At 6:05pm on 22 Apr 2009, ronrafferty wrote:

    JonnyWigs-Take out the top four "English" clubs,which to my mind are international franchises rather than genuine English clubs(They are foreign owned,mostly foreign players,non-English managers)then the EPL is no great shakes.In the Uefa Cup English clubs have been shown up as mediocre and decidedly average.
    I would pit Dundee United,Aberdeen,Hearts and Hibs against any of the EPL clubs outwith the top four.For a country of only five million we have always produced good teams.
    Perhaps there are a lot of English fans who are secretly worried that a non-English club could win the EPL one day.

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  • 303. At 6:33pm on 22 Apr 2009, Poshlondonroader wrote:

    IMO if someone wants to join the English leagues they should start at the bottom and work there way up.

    Teams such as Histon have worked there way up from the lower league to the top of the non-league ladder and are aspiring to get into league 2. How would they feel if teams were able to leapfrog them.

    If Rangers and Celtic leave the SPL then I can see there not being a full time Scottish league at all as the two prized assets that the likes of Setanta covert won't be there and Setanta won't want to pay the money they have been paying.

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  • 304. At 6:45pm on 22 Apr 2009, hatchet-harris wrote:

    I hope Rangers and Celtic stay where they are and keep their bigoted religious bull tihs away from the Premier League.

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  • 305. At 9:09pm on 22 Apr 2009, JonnyWigs wrote:

    Who mentioned population or the Englishness / Scottishness of the teams!!!??

    You have just reaffirmed everything I've said.

    Please explain how a big crowd in a big stadium each week gets you success? (Newcastle?)
    Please explain how past success gets you success? (Nottingham Forest?)
    Please explain how the OF's international fans wil bring them success?
    Please explain how the OF's training facilities differ from those of a lot of the EPL clubs?

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I still think yours is a blinkered one.

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  • 306. At 10:35am on 23 Apr 2009, beijingren wrote:


    Callum, you can't "brand" someone with a brush - tar them perhaps?

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  • 307. At 12:15pm on 23 Apr 2009, musters wrote:

    Open email to Phil Gartside:

    From: Musters
    Sent: 23 April 2009 09:59
    To: Phil Gartside
    Subject: Celtic to join EPL

    Hi Phil,

    I'm very interested in your EPL2 idea. Like all Celtic fans I feel that it would be a great honour for a small club like ours to come and play in the "Best League in the World". We are touched by your concern for our welfare. The opportunity to come and play in England against, your club, Bolton, Ipswich and Crewe Alexandra has been a long held ambition. Anything to escape the mind-numbing repetition of Scottish football, not to mention the freezing sub-Saharan temperatures, would be most welcome.

    Alas, I fear your idea may be ill-fated. I think that other clubs similar to your own would not be quite so welcoming. They may suspect that they'd get beaten on a regular basis by us. Protectionism may win the day. Not everyone is as forward thinking as yourself, Sir.

    So, the reason for this correspondence, is to tell that when your idea is roundly rejected, as it surely will be, by all your peers, why not think about this. Why not consider bringing Bolton up North. Into the SPL. I mean obviously you'd have to start in, say, division 1, but I think within a couple of years you could easily achieve a top 6 position in the SPL. At least you'd have a better chance of qualifying for Europe.

    Think about it.



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  • 308. At 12:18pm on 23 Apr 2009, ....and surely that's great news for the rest of scottish football. wrote:

    Post 293 - And you're missing the point that it's all about money and that's why the Old Firm wil probably end up joining. You say the Premiership doesn't need the Old Firm and you're probably right - Well, they didn't need a 39th game played in foreign climes, but money dictated that they would try it anyway. It was only a backlash of public opinion that prevented that. Is the idea of the Old Firm joining the premiership any more ridiculous than the 39th game?

    Let me put it this way, if someone went to the Premiership and said 'I know you're making millions already, and there's a lot of interest etc, but if we let in these two, then we'll make even more money', Do you think they'll go 'Nah, it's alright. We're already making quite enough money as it is, thank you....'?

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  • 309. At 12:54pm on 23 Apr 2009, Davros wrote:

    It's a bit of a cheek, english fans complaining about how bigoted Celtic & rangers fans are, when their own record in international & club football is less than impeccable!
    Including in the past, some of the most racist fans on the planet;Who else inspired those in Croatia, Italy & Spain?? Not even The Billy boys are responsible for that one!

    Anyway most Celtic fans and even some Rangers ones aren't 'bigots' so catch yourselves on people! & put your own house in order, please.
    The 'Weegies' are coming, be afraid, very afraid!!

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  • 310. At 1:41pm on 23 Apr 2009, ShredimusMaximus wrote:

    If the move did happen, which I know it probably won't, here's a suggestion for making the ugly sister's entry to the EPL more "fair" on the teams in the English lower leagues...

    In the summer, Celtic and Rangers each play 3 games against the winners of League 2, League 1 and the Championship. 9 games in total for the OF:
    1 at home
    1 away
    1 on a neutral ground (for removal of doubt)

    Lets say Rangers and Celtic need to beat each team twice out of the 3 fixtures to get into the Premier League. That will be a tough test for the them against the Championship winners.

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  • 311. At 2:18pm on 23 Apr 2009, conor1888 wrote:

    What a load of old twaddle, Chick. Have Cardiff and Swansea got the blood of Welsh football on their hands too, I wonder? Celtic, and to a lesser extent, Rangers are going nowhere in the Mickey Mouse league that is the SPL. A move south would suit everyone concerned - the two clubs in question and the rest who will be left behind with a chance finally of actually winning their domestic league! Unless of course the Glasgow clubs field Reserve sides in the new-look SPL, in which case the OF trophy domination may well continue. My only reservation is about Rangers being invited into the EPL along with Celtic - not only will it mean the financial salvation of RFC, their fans will also have to learn how to behave themselves when they travel.

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  • 312. At 3:35pm on 23 Apr 2009, YicChung wrote:

    OF fans have no idea. Can you imagine if an EPL club, say Everton for example, decided they wanted to qualify for the CL every season so they ask to join the SPL , which would guarantee them qualification. What do you think the OF reaction would be ?


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  • 313. At 3:57pm on 23 Apr 2009, VenomPD wrote:

    The phrase that seems to be missing here is Global Exposure and Celtic and Rangers are comparable to the biggest teams in England on those stakes. Celtic have more supporters associations than any other team in the world and Rangers can lay claim to 6 million+ registered fans in North America. This is an EPL chairman who has proposed this. His reasoning must be that Celtic and Rangers can bring long-term added exposure to the EPL. More big teams in any league is beneficial, more competition, higher TV ratings and better attendances at games. The bigotry issue is magnified in Scotland as the only competition these two teams face is each other. Only two Old Firm matches a season would make them special rather than mundane. Personally as a Celtic fan though I want us (and Rangers) to stay, as we are a SCOTTISH club.

    P.S Had to laugh at the Englishman accusing Scottish people of racism. Booing English players at a darts match is small beans compared to the institutionalised racism anyone who isn't English faces from the media and government on a daily basis in Britain.

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  • 314. At 8:11pm on 23 Apr 2009, GRUMBLEGRUM wrote:

    Oh Please , Please let this happen.

    Once again I had to listen to songs this weekend about Derry's Walls , King James's Rebels and "you only sing in the chapel" well sung guys.Rangers fans proved yet again what a disgrace they are.

    If the EPL want them they can have them , I would love to see how the OF fans cope with no Champions league no European football.

    I know Chic is already crying ino his Rangers scarf at thought of them moving , but I can't wait the air would be a lot cleaner up here without them.

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  • 315. At 00:27am on 24 Apr 2009, beavso2005 wrote:

    oh jeez.not this boring.tell me something is this based on football or financial reasons.when united and dons were dominating in 80s we never heard this guff.and i suspect if it was hearts and hibs we wouldnt hear it either.why do we hear it now when it is probably two of the worst old firm teams i have seen in my life.when they stop getting beat from sr mirren and ict then we will talk.until that day comes,sit down and shut up.

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  • 316. At 11:16am on 24 Apr 2009, dessmfc wrote:

    If you are a rangers fan, then you'll cry it was a one-off or the cops started it, but the debacle in Manchester was a disgrace and an affront to Scotland, and the rest of us, provincial scottish football fans, weren't surprised. The reason the Tartan Army warms the hearts of other countries, is the absence of OF fans in their ranks, with their bigotry and menace.
    It's no coincidence that since the demise of the home internationals that hatred of the english in the scots psyche has dropped off the scale. Re-introducing regular games against english opposition would just stir it all up again, and place the OF in a relegation dogfight in an english league, would spell absolute carnage on english streets.
    The OF would be sent packing within a couple of seasons, if they didn't go bust first.....

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  • 317. At 4:40pm on 24 Apr 2009, Davros wrote:

    As a Celtic season-ticket holder, I'd happily cede CL football for the next decade, for a share of the current PL TV cake, which makes the CL money look miniscule by comparison!

    Plus, with apologies to the current SPL, there is the small matter of playing against and attracting better players, eventually.....

    Also to point out to doubters, the 'sectarianism' of Celtic & Rangers, this was created by past English regimes who happily encouraged a 'divide-and-rule' mentality, which they've latterly quite happily left to fester.....
    But, Hey, that's colonisation for you!!

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  • 318. At 9:53pm on 24 Apr 2009, Boogie Bear wrote:

    "The reason the Tartan Army warms the hearts of other countries, is the absence of OF fans in their ranks"

    In fact, contrary to certain stereotypes, surveys have found that there are more fans of Rangers in the Tartan Army than of any other single club.

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  • 319. At 11:53pm on 24 Apr 2009, howie928 wrote:

    If the old firm move to the EPL the Scottish game will fall apart. Without them neither Sky nor Setanta would be interested in showing SPL games and clubs will struggle to stay in business without tv money. Also, the OF are the only Scottish teams that can make a decent run in Europe and without them Scotland could end up losing its CL places.

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  • 320. At 4:08pm on 26 Apr 2009, Sea_Harrier wrote:

    It's a weird one, but I think despite the fact that you're grudgingly aware the Old Firm are the only show in town in terms of Scottish football (the standard of the rest of it - and the stature of the clubs in question - is simply appalling by European levels), you're failing to realise the fact that Scotland hasn't in the modern period been capable of supporting a viable national league, end of story. In truth, what would probably make most sense is an integrated British league with all Scottish clubs integrated with English clubs in one system, but that would probably create enormous rude awakenings for certain SPL stalwarts who would find themselves reduced to League One status overnight, and of course, the domestic political pressures in Scotland mean this could never happen (and vested interests in the English Football League would almost certainly concur) but it would at least make the Scottish game viable at all levels. You're in a Catch 22; the SPL is a joke trophy because only the Old Firm can win it. But if they leave, it'll still be a joke trophy as there'll be no genuine football teams in the competition.

    It's not a problem unique to football in Scotland; competition in most sports in Scotland is frankly rubbish esp. with regard to aiding the national side. Scottish rugby for example, where club participation in the farcical Celtic League has done little to boost the national side.

    The old anti-Old Firms jibes about the Old Firm 'gobbling up the best talent' etc. don't wash either. There's no economic border with England. If Manchester United want a player from Scotland they'll take him, and the Motherwell's of this world won't be able to do anything about it. If anything, the Old Firm are one of the few bulwarks against a uniform en masse migration south for talented Scottish footballers. Even they can't hold on to players in the face of determined Premier League clubs - often in the long-run to the detriment of the actual players themselves (viz. Liam Miller and Barry Ferguson).

    Pathetic little jibes about the Old Firm acting like tarts misses the real issues at hand. Setanta are renegotiating their SPL contract because they don't get VFM; why? Because the only games anyone outside of Scotland watches are the Old Firms. I appreciate that this post is a touch inflammatory to certain people, but it's the bald facts, and no more inflammatory than Young's tirade which offers no positive proposals for the Scottish game and simply damns the Old Firm for acting in their own best interest. Whinging about the Old Firm has become an obsession for some in Scotland. Given they are the only two real clubs in the country, it's hard not to view such whinges with disdain.

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  • 321. At 6:09pm on 27 Apr 2009, fedupwithelvs wrote:

    Scotland fail its up to England to pick up the pieces.
    200 years ago Scotland went bust England had to bail them out.
    Today RBS goes bust an automatic hand goes out from the Scots money please.
    Now their football has failed its hand out to the English again please help we cannot cope on our own yet again.
    Why do the Scots hate the English if comments on this site are to be trusted.
    If it was not for England the Scots would not exist regards football.
    Get yourselves together and reform along the lines of the English system or why not have a British system in time for the olympics.
    Take Rugby Ireland Wales Scotland all bidding against England for the 2015 world cup.
    If you want to be on your own fail on your own otherwise give England the support it deserves not just when you want support or money.

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  • 322. At 04:40am on 01 May 2009, NoGBfootball wrote:

    to fedupwithelvs:

    After your Scottish bashing...I have some English analysis. England was dominated by the Romans, Normans, Vikings, Angles and the Saxons...the Scots fought them all off.

    The Scots provided more men per head of population as Allied soldiers in both world wars.

    Most English tradition is not original, but influenced and owned by most other cultures: The English St George flag is Italian (Rome) based, the three lions on the shirt is inspired by the Danish Royal Crest, "Rule Britannia" was Scottish written, the TV was patented by Scot Baird, telephone with Alexander Graham-Bell (Scot), the English monarchy was taken over by the Scottish Stuarts, English is a Germanic lanuage, the Royal Family are German (Saxe-Coburg) and even the Mini is now German owned!

    Next thing we will have Scottish prime ministers presiding over England...oh too late - Blair (Born Scotland) and Brown.

    Let's not even discuss the oil revenues and gas reserves...if we remove these financial statistics from the UK GDP, its very shocking.

    In sport, Scotland's domestic league should be compared with other countries of our size or wealth. Our league is doing just fine ( facilities and football standard) when compared with Denmark, Sweden, Croatia, Belgium etc. We have room for improvement compared with Portugal and Netherlands and very comfortably ahead of Czech Republic, Norway, Austria and Switzerland.

    Internationally, Scotland have created a pot two world cup team with credible displays against Italy, Ukraine, France and Croatia (friendly). We were one win away from qualifying for Euro 2008...and our co-efficient from these qualifying games was higher than England.

    Team GB 2012 will happen, against the wishes of 3 of the 4 home associations, risking the whole existence of our independent footballing nations in order to satisfy the English FA, English poiticians and the British (English) Olympic Association. It's a disgrace; all 4 countries should be entering separately to enable all athletes to participate.

    In my 40 year old life, Scotland have won as many football trophies as England have and reached as many finals as England...none.

    I love the English and proudly lived in England for 5 best friends are English. However, occassionally, there is domineering superiority complex that needs grounding, "fedupwithelvs." You are frustrated that the English were never able to crush and conquer the Scots, even when the Scots are outnumbered 8 to 1, on a small island over thousands of years.

    Thanks for the great blog and patform to vent! LOL

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  • 323. At 3:04pm on 01 May 2009, Glen Haig wrote:

    Why can't we have British Premier league like they have in ice hockey, and a pyramid system covering England, Wales, Scotland and possibly Ireland. Something like this was discussed a few years back, I think it was going to be called the Atlantic League.

    If Rangers or Celtic ended up relegated from the EPL they should be back in the SPL. Imagine if they ended up doing a Bradford City or a Leeds? Can you see the fans being happy playing Rotherham and Lincoln City?

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