Sunday, November 20, 2011

Blogathon Bonus: Old Firm Out? Get Real

Earlier Scott Johnston and I debated the Old Firm leaving Scottish football. As a wee bonus here's Stewart Weir (@sweirz) with his take on the issue:

It’s usually an argument made by those who don’t support the Old Firm.

But if Celtic and Rangers (in alphabetical order only) departed Scotland and went elsewhere, Scotland wouldn’t have the Old Firm. They’d be left with the infirm.

The thing is while many fans appear to believe it would be a more level playing field without the Glasgow big boys, Scottish football would flat line.

Wise up. The product in Scotland would be no better than Denmark or the Republic of Ireland.

Think about it. Hearts are in debt at this point in time to a sum of twenty, thirty of £40 million. Dundee United’s owners haven’t invested any of the money brought in for David Goodwillie as they’ve reached the bottom of the well.

Talking of ‘Well, they’ve already been broke, and almost broken beyond repair. Aberdeen are completely cash-strapped, and Hibs lose season ticket holders as quickly as they lose games and managers.

Just an observation. It’s all very well rival supporters claiming those who follow the Gers or the ‘Tic are bigoted undesirables. Unfortunately, there are several owners, Boards and commercial directors who think differently.

Otherwise, wouldn’t they keep their ticket prices the same for all visiting supporters, rather than hike up the prices.

Scottish football, put simply, is not currently in a sound enough financial position to survive the Old Firm decanting elsewhere, wherever that might be.

The old boring, boring argument – that Rangers and Celtic win everything - doesn’t stack up either.

Take a look in Holland, Portugal, Spain, even England since the arrival of the Premiership/Premier League.

How many different Championship winners have these nations produced over the last 40 or 50 years?

Twenty years ago, an Atlantic League was first mentioned: Rangers, Celtic, PSV, Ajax, Bruges, Anderlecht, Malmo, Gothenburg, Sunderland and Newcastle all in the mix, and a few others as well.

It was discussed, quite seriously. But before anyone could press a button or sign a contract, it evaporated, mainly because Rangers, one of the biggest drivers, and Celtic, got their way in Scotland, with Aberdeen, Dundee United and Hearts falling into line. So the SPL (MkII or III) came about.

And that was when there was, if not more cash in the game, certainly more stability amongst the bigger teams.

It might be a terribly romantic notion, the Old Firm doing a vanishing act with no magic spell to bring them back. But Scotland would be all the worse without them.

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