Like leaves fall from the trees in Autumn, it seems every year some chairman in the Premier League wants to try and get the Old Firm into it. This time Phil Gartside, the Bolton Chairman once again tried to get the League to agree to invite Rangers and Celtic in to the fold. Thankfully, the request has been voted down. It was described as “not desirable or viable”.
To say this constant speculation regarding the potential involvement of the Old Firm is becoming as tedious as the often mooted European Super League. Gartside, for all his bluster about strengthening the league and increasing the international presence of it, is simply thinking about cash. Adding the Old Firm would add nothing to the league at all and irrevocably damage the Scottish game. Coupled with a request to add a second Premier League simply smacks of self preservation on the Bolton chairman’s behalf and nothing more.
Most English Premier league fans don’t want them, but we get used to our feelings and opinions being completely over ridden when the influence of cash comes in to the equation. Coupled when you see how poorly the Old Firm cope with European football, you have to question what the point would be of adding two poor sides to the mix.
Of course, Rangers and Celtic are desperate for the cash, but Scottish football is its own worst enemy. It has always astounded me how a league with 42 clubs has 4 divisions and they play each other a minimum of 3 times a season. They then split in to play offs with the top half and bottom half playing each other. What a dull and uninteresting format.
Why they don’t have two leagues and play home and away like virtually every other league in the world astounds me. Yet, the answer is obvious when you look into it. Whilst the other Scottish Premier League sides shout down how much power Rangers and Celtic have, they enjoy the additional revenue that potentially two home games against them brings them in. So the league stays unfairly balanced, they all complain about it but continue to keep the status quo.
People like Phil Gartside are so far removed from what fans really want, that they keep bringing these daft ideas to the table. I also read that he wanted an Irish franchise adding as well, which reminded me of the time Wimbledon were thinking of moving to Dublin and ended up moving to Milton Keynes instead, a shameful decision by the authorities to this day.It took MK Dons 7 years to stop using Wimbledons history and correctly allow AFC Wimbledon to have the rights to their real history. I can’t wish anything but the worst of luck to MK Dons for as long as they exist, but that’s another story.
Whilst the idea of franchise sport is nothing new to American fans, to the British it is unthinkable. Quite how they would cope if their team moved such as the Raiders and the Rams moving cities twice would be interesting to see but unthinkable in British sport.It’s certainly not unusual for NFL teams to move, I must admit after a ten year hiatus from NFL, I was stunned to see how many new sides were in the league when I started watching it again in 2003. Unfortunately, The Redskins still can’t beat anyone, so somethings never change.
Also, the recent incidents with trouble involving Rangers fans in Manchester has certainly poisoned most English fans to the idea of welcoming the Ibrox faithful on a regular basis.It would be like a red rag to a bull for some of the more unsavory supporters of Premierships sides. The issues of sectarian chanting, and the potential for major trouble is a real concern. Of course not all the fans partake in such behavior, but it is still there and that is an additional concern.
Rangers and Celtic need to stop courting the Premier League and concentrate on fixing the problems they face in their own back yard. With no Scottish teams at any level in the English football pyramid, the last one, Gretna, showed just how strong Scottish football was, leaving the 7th tier of English football and romping all the way to Scottish Premier League in 3 seasons. Now if that doesn’t concern the Scottish Football Association, nothing will. Scrap the 4 league system, scrap the top/bottom play offs. Have two leagues, 3 up and 3 down and see how quickly the money spreads through the game more.