Old Firm flight not so fanciful
In July 2001 the BBC website quoted the then Celtic chairman Brian Quinn saying he thought the Old Firm would be playing in England in three years' time.
Fast forward eight years and the Glasgow pair are still bemoaning their lot in their SPL prison cell, while claiming their escape hatch is close to being sprung.
Cynicism is an ugly emotion, so I'll dispense with it and admit that the Old Firm's eventual jail break to the financially sunny uplands of English football is not as fanciful as it sounds, nor as ruinous to the Scottish game as some would suggest.
If human nature follows its usual course of self interest, if money, as it normally does, determines behaviour, and if enough English clubs see financial advantage in it for themselves, then it could happen.
The vested interests of Fifa, Uefa, the SPL and SFA will first be required to go head to head with the vested interests of the PLCs and enormously wealthy individuals who control the really big clubs.
Then it will get interesting. Assuming the television revenue bubble does not implode in the next few years, and that seriously enticing extra revenues could be made for all concerned by admitting the great footballing duopoly of Glasgow, then the clubs may well decide to "have a square go" with football's current power brokers.
No dynasty lasts for ever and if the prize is big enough, then a legal challenge may be used to tackle football's rulers, assuming of course that those rulers do not first seek a face-saving compromise to head off a highly expensive court action which they could lose with the major clubs.
The bottom line is that if the big clubs really want change they will have their way. They have the financial muscle to ensure it.
The big question is whether the financial prize is big enough to make it worthwhile pursuing change.
While I suspect that many Manchester United fans are about as keen on watching the Wigans and Hulls of this world as many Old Firm fans are on welcoming half of the SPL clubs to their patch, the attraction in both a playing and financial sense has to stack up for the Red Devils and others, before the Old Firm receive an invitation to share their substantial English Premier League booty.
Just how much more is in it for a Liverpool or an Arsenal to play Celtic or Rangers instead of the aforementioned Wigan or Hull? We've heard Peter Lawwell explain what's in it for the Hoops, but what's in it for the English?
Top-flight English football does not necessarily want to hear the Celtic story unless it is accompanied by the ching-ching of big bucks.
Burnley, Wigan and Hull may welcome the large travelling support, but at Old Trafford, The Emirates and Anfield there is no room at the inn. "House full" notices are posted every week.
So just what is the marketing strategy of the Old Firm? What is it they think they bring to the party other than the intention to drink someone else's beer?
And if they do succeed in their break-out, why will the SPL fade and die?
Will the broadcasters and newspapers risk the wrath of communities all over Scotland who have no affection for the big two, by ignoring their football teams?
Will the regular 16,000 Hearts fans and 12,000 Hibs and Aberdeen fans disappear like snow off a dyke because the Old Firm no longer come calling?
Or will they revel in the chance of winning trophies on a regular basis in a surprisingly competitive and revamped SPL?
Even the smaller-supported clubs like Dundee United and Motherwell will not be outgunned by those better-supported clubs by anything approaching the financial factor of ten or twelve to one that they currently are by the Glasgow pair.
So a realistic push for honours could be much more widely spread. A new-found competitiveness could bring many fans back to watch a league which was no longer a two-horse race.
I accept that the big money currently on offer from ESPN will probably be diminished, but if the cloth has to be cut to face new financial realities, at least there might be a place again for more local players in the teams at Falkirk or Kilmarnock and others, which will strengthen the bonds between community and club.
Celtic and Rangers have grown beyond their own wildest dreams in terms of average crowds and income, and as businesses with shareholders they will seek to extract maximum profit.
They probably have outgrown the Scottish game and need to flourish elsewhere. A mutually agreeable divorce package with a short-term maintenance allowance might in the long run suit all parties.
But it needs to be a completely fresh start. No leaving Under-21 sides or reserve sides to compete this side of the Tweed.
If they are to go, the Scottish game should wish them all the best and prepare for its own bright new future.
Meantime, the Old Firm can prepare for trips to Rochdale, Scunthorpe and other footballing hotbeds of England's green and pleasant land, as they seek the holy grail of Champions League football, which will assuredly not come as easily to them as it has this past while.