And Wrexham, Cardiff and Swansea play in the English League. And Derry City play in the League of (the Republic of) Ireland. But those are considered anomalies, not precedents.
As I’ve posted before, I’m not entirely thrilled about it either, both for selfish reasons (giving up the guaranteed European spot) and out of concern about English hooliganism (couldn’t we at least have held out for a deal to get Millwall out of the First Division?). But it does look like a done deal now - although I don’t think it will happen next season, too soon. Between the TV money and the fact that there won’t be an SPL in a couple years time, I don’t think the ball will stop rolling now.
I think UEFA have to look in the mirror and admit their guilt for giving television the power it has now, allowing TV money to influence their decisions on things such as the structure of the European competitions, so in a sense it’s a case of the chickens coming home to roost. And I don’t think Scottish football will go under - there are plenty of other leagues surviving, albeit just barely, without any real powerhouse clubs. But I can’t honestly say I have a lot of sympathy for the Scottish “fans” who can’t be bothered to go to a game unless it’s against us or the huns. A lot of the people involved with other Scottish clubs have welcomed our exit because it will actually make their league competitive again.
I do want to say that it isn’t all about money, from our point of view (“our” meaning the real football people behind the club, not the PLC). We know - and I think in this last year we’ve demonstrated - that we can, at least, hold our heads above water against the big boys of European football - it’s bloody depressing pulling off creditable performances against the likes of Juventus and Man U and then having to come back and play bloody Motherwell every week. We have a glorious past, and we want at least the chance to repeat it. That’s not going to happen if we stay in Scotland. I’m not saying that justifies screwing up the whole system of European football, mind, but it’s a reason that’s independent of the amount of £ we’d pull in from these games.
It is definitely all about money from a Nationwide perspective, of course. I’ve frankly been astounded at the number of friendlies we’ve been invited to play this year. Obviously the fact that we can fill any size away support we’re allocated hasn’t gone unnoticed. Even despite my lack of enthusiasm for joining the EPL I was starting to get really pissed off at all the EPL teams happy to use us to fill their gates but turning their backs when we asked for their help to get out of Scotland.
sigh you know, when the Bosman ruling came down people were predicting Armageddon for European football too. It’s survived that, so far, and it will survive Celtic and Rangers going to England as well. Things will sure be different, though.