Celtic and Rangers to England - for real?

It’s being reported on BBC News that the Nationwide League will this week be inviting Celtic and Rangers to join - as early as next season. Details still sketchy and subject to approval, but it’s really starting to look like all-systems-go.

What do the football-following Dopers think?

I think it is most peculiar that a basketball and a hockey team are being asked to join a football league. :wink:

New York Rangers, or Texas Rangers :smiley:

You know, normally when I start threads about football I preface them by saying something like “this is about what North Americans call ‘soccer’, please ignore if not interested”. The last time I did that I started to think maybe that was a bit unnecessary, so I gave it a miss this time.

Silly me.

Ahem. This thread is about what North Americans call ‘soccer’. Please ignore if not interested.

Thank you.

Now where were we?

There have been chunterings about it for a while, in terms of “this might happen”, and suddenly on the news just now I hear they’ve actually been invited. It seems all very sudden!

This means that Celtic will beat the pants off Leicester twice each season. Oh joy, oh bloody rapture :wink:

I think you probably already know my opinions, but for the record I’ll say this:

If we accept the principle that teams should play opposition of the same standard it makes no sense for the Old Firm to carry on in a set-up they outgrew several years ago. Recent friendlies (especially Gary Kelly’s Leeds v Celtic game) would confirm what we could have guessed - that the (English) Premiership is the natural place for them based purely on playing standards, squad size and monetary resources.

I also know that many supporters of my own club (and a few others I can think of) would welcome regular fixtures against Celtic and Rangers for the best of reasons. Boards of directors of less well off English and Welsh clubs would also welcome the extra cash that would come from improved gates and TV money.

But, unfortunately that’s not the whole picture is it? The Scottish clubs are desperate to keep that same money, and they’ve already raised a predictable protest to the nascent plan. Nobody knows whether Scottish football can survive without the OF, and I’d be pessimistic about it, even though you have to admire the confidence of those few(?) voices muttering “good riddance”.

Added to that is the all too obvious problem of the sort of welcome the OF clubs (especially Celtic) would get at certain English grounds. At the time of writing there’s a trailer on behind my ear for the BBC’s documentary about hooligans due to be shown tomorrow. Channel 4 have already shown their own short series recently.

My guess is that this is still far from a done deal. The legal objections from the SPL are likely to put the kibosh on a change by next season. UEFA are also likely to object. Although it would further undermine the basis for the UK having four entrants in national competitions, which UEFA and FIFA would love, they are worried about the effect the precedent would have more generally. Football could be thrown into chaos in east and central European countries if there’s a wholesale fashion for bigger teams changing league jurisdiction in pursuit of TV money. Having said all that I think money talks louder than anything else, money is the rason for this plan, and so its only a matter of time before it does happen - maybe in two years rather than one.

On balance I think it would be A Bad Thing.

Still, at least you’d have a shorter journey to a couple of away matches ;).

Isn’t there already a sort of precedent given Berrick play in the Scottish League.
Still, would they go into 1st or Premier division.

I don’t like the idea. I worry about FIFA and UEFA’s reaction and what it means for the national team. I worry because I think it can only widen the gap between the top clubs and the rest of the league, and exacerbate the financial problems faced by those not in the clique.

More than anything else, my irrational gut reaction is that Celtic and Rangers don’t belong in the league any more than Liverpool would belong in the SPL. Clubs like Cardiff, Swansea and Berwick get away with it because, at the end of the day, not many people care about their positions. I just have this nasty reaction against it because I think it makes a mockery of the whole concept of national leagues, and would increasingly codify money’s dominant position in football (i.e. anything goes if you can bring in the cash). I’m not naive about this, and I’m not normally a died-in-the-wool traditionalist, but I’m really opposed to this.

Dyed. Damn.

I’ve never heard an official pronouncement about what UEFA/FIFA would or would not consider a precedent, but aparently Berwick doesn’t count either because they’re too small for anyone to give a shit about or because they joined the Scottish League before the international organisations were thought of (Berwick were founded in 1882 and joined the Scottish League in 1951; UEFA was founded in 1954).

But, if Celtic and Rangers moved leagues it would be hard to talk Dynamo Kiev moving from the Ukranian League to the Russian one etc. etc. and the international bodies don’t want to start a rush. They made negative noises when Wimbledon wanted to move to their home ground to Dublin and carry on playing in England.

BTW, three of the larger Welsh clubs play in England too, but as with Berwick that has a long history to it.

You might like to tell Football 365 what you think of the OF -> EDiv1 plan.


BTW everton – your boys were very average today with two exceptions: Carsley (who I’ve never rated but could make me eat my words) ran his heart out, and Radzinski looked bloody lethal – didn’t stop running and was a constant thorn in the side of an admittedly shocking Arsenal defence.


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.

God help us if Millwall get promoted.

everton, Crusoe I too worry about the precedent factor and where it might lead. European Super League anyone? (Not a good thing IMHO) G14 have already made rumblings over the last couple of years which have resulted in UEFA placating them with the current Champions League structure.

There’s also the fact that the OF will displace two teams from the Premiership (when they inevitably get promoted) which just rubs me up the wrong way a little.

Overall, put me down for A Bad Thing too.

I cannot wait to see the back of the old firm. My team, Aberdeen, don’t need them, as in the last few seasons they’ve made only a small difference to our attendances. If the team are playing well and have a chance of winning something, you will get 18 000 at an Aberdeen - Motherwell match; we haven’t had significantly more than that for Celtic or Rangers for years. There are a few other clubs, especially Hibs and Hearts, that would experience the same sort of rise in attendances if the Glasgow 2 were gone. If anyone thinks that the presence of the old firm gives some sort of essential spice to Scottish football, then they would have to explain the huge attendances at the Hearts-Aberdeen, St Mirren - Dunge Utd, Motherwell - Dunge Utd and Falkirk - Kilmarnock cup finals.

In the past I would have regarded this type of “submission to the facts as they are” as cowardly. However there are forces at work that go way beyond mere football; capitalistic selfishness is nowadays regarded as a pure virtue. Consequences for others no longer matter, even if those others have been essential to your gains. You can also completely forget any time when the boot was on the other foot; Jock Wallace’s Rangers getting thumped 5-1 at Pittodrie, Eoin Jess utterly humiliating Paddy Bonner to put Aberdeen 3-0 up; if you have the upper hand now you can act like these things never happened and can never happen again.

Having drunkenly ranted all this, I still don’t think it will happen, as UEFA will be scared of the domino effect on clubs in other small countries. On top of that I am royally pissed off at the unstated assumption that only the old firm could compete in England. In terms of stadium size, support, international success etc Aberdeen, and a couple of other clubs are at least the equals of many clubs in the English first as well as even the Premiership. If they had the same TV money deals you would not be able to tell the difference.

<hijack>Crusoe - I’m forced to admit I thought there’d be a few goals today but didn’t think we’d get three of them. I was surprised that our Swedes even played at all, so perhaps we can forgive them for being there in body but not in spirit.</hijack>

In advance of this evening’s announcement there was the usual murmur on On The Ball about the general prospects for Celtic and Rangers. Barry Venison said there had been some criticism of inviting them south of the border due to fears of crowd trouble. But, with a straight face, he added that they should be forgiven by now for that business at the Home International. Spat my bacon sandwich halfway across the room.

Just now I found this remark, dated 30 July 2001, from the Football Royale site:

We’ll have to wait to see if there’s a different reaction to the latest proposal.

Apparently the English Football League chief executive Keith Harris said through a spokesman “I wish I could fly, right up to the sky but I caaaan’t”. Hang on, that can’t be right.

Even getting the right colour! That is hilarious. “Spokesman” indeed.

Well, it looks like most of the arguments have already been rehearsed so I’m just going to add I suspect a whole lot depends on UEFA’s view – I suppose its not just the Eastern European leagues but also …maybe the Portuguese (going to Spain)…even the Dutch if they can’t keep the players (although I doubt if they’d be keen on the bloody Bundesliga).

Personally, I’d rather have Feyenoord and Ajax in the Premier League. How about Paris st Germain. Do we get to choose ?

Not if you wanted to avoid crowd trouble you wouldn’t :(.

When you look at the EPL and think about travelling logistics, the addition of Celtic and Rangers would make very little differance for a lot of clubs.Many are based in the North of the UK anyway and its a similar distance to go play the London clubs.

I think that with both the OF clubs joining the EPL it would be something of a step backwards for those who hold Scottish identity dear, but both teams would do well given that they have the resources to buy just about any player they want.

Unfortunately I cannot see any way that the OF, or the EPL can make any significant increase in revenue as things stand, whereas the money likely to be attracted by them joining would indeed be a massive boost.

It will probably come down to money overriding everything, not necessarily a good thing.