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Friday, 3 August, 2001, 17:44 GMT 18:44 UK
Old Firm: In a different league?
Celtic and Rangers graphic
Glasgow Rangers and Celtic are considering a complaint to the European Commission over the rejection of proposals for a new Atlantic League.

Should Scotland's top clubs be allowed to decide where they play their football?

Both clubs say a move into other leagues would bring in bigger revenues and help them compete with the best sides in Europe and the world.

But would the go-ahead harm the Scottish game and are financial considerations being put before football? How would the proposed changes affect you as a fan?

This Talking Point is now closed. Read a selection of your views below.

Old Firm moving? Fine by me. Once they had moved to England, and the relentless procession of trophies dried up (I think they would challenge, but obviously not to the extent they do here) we might see younger fans growing up to support their local teams.
Mark Mitchell, Scotland

If this move were to occur, it would prove to be absolutely disastrous for Scottish football. Removing two of the best teams would seriously lower the standard, and it illustrates the sheer arrogance of these two clubs stating that they are so much better than anyone else.


If Celtic and Rangers wish to move from Scotland then they should go for Serie A or La Liga

Grant McManus
Part of the magic of football is when smaller clubs take on larger clubs and beat them, and on several occasions this has been apparent in Scotland, particularly with Rangers struggling against smaller teams.

Take Hibs for example two seasons ago staring relegation in the face, last season entering a serious challenge for the second spot.
Matt, UK

Tony Bullock's comments are laughable. Fortunately he is in a minority given that most Englishmen are reasonable human beings. His total failure to understand or even bother to educate himself about the demographics of Scotland (and indeed the UK as a whole) render his comments irrelevant.
Derek, UK,

Tony Bullock is just quoting the mantra of England subsidising England and its really just a cheap shot.The reality is that Scotland subsidises England according to the government's own figures. However, in footballing terms England is indeed the honey pot.

That alone is the one area where your argument holds water Mr Bullock. If Rangers and Celtic got in then they would enhance the Premiership further and ensure its dominance in Europe as the top league finally overtaking Italy and Spain.
Graham McDermott

No Kevin, Scotland, the English have the self-belief, in fact we know the EPL is far superior to the SPL Why would we want to dilute one of Europe's strongest leagues, with the likes of the Second Division level Old Firm?
DMMW, England

The English Premiership is an Emperor's New Clothes piece of marketing genius. Take away four or five teams and you are left with total dross. High quality Pannini stickers, but low quality footballing skills.

If Celtic and Rangers wish to move from Scotland then they should go for Serie A or La Liga. That way they would encounter teams and fans which could rightly be regarded as their peers.

Here's to Madrid and Milan, rather than Southampton or Sunderland.
Grant McManus, Scotland

Don't Celtic or Rangers have any loyalty to Scottish football or indeed Scotland?


The Old Firm complain that they do not have a high enough standard of competition in the SPL - yet whenever any player from another side shows promise they are snapped up by either Rangers or Celtic.

Neil Darling
Obviously not. If they think they can bring big crowds into English football let them come. I'd like to see how many they take down to Gillingham for a midweek Nationwide Division 1 game.
Paul, UK

The Old Firm complain that they do not have a high enough standard of competition in the SPL - yet whenever any player from another side shows promise they are snapped up by either Rangers or Celtic.

Momo Sylla played a blinder against Celtic on Saturday, and by Thursday he was a Celtic player. Young Scotland international prospects are snapped up left, right and centre and are then left to stagnate on the bench at Parkhead or Ibrox - damaging the national side's potential.
Neil Darling, France

Since the Old Firm are intent on leaving the SPL no matter what, I think the SPL should cut their revenue from the Sky deal to the same as every other club. What would Rangers and Celtic do about it? Threaten to leave again?

I think the only clubs who wouldn't want to see the Old Firm are those who are content to float in the bottom half of the Premiership, avoiding relegation, picking up their pay cheque, and stagnating, since their livelihood would be threatened.

Rangers and Celtic never play in front of less than a full house, be it home and away, which is to the advantage of sides throughout the league, not to mention the merchandising opportunities which would open.

And I think you'll find that per head, Scotland contributes far more to the UK treasury through our whisky revenue, our natural resources such as oil and gold, not to mention our tourism, than England ever could.
Stuart Harvey, England (but originally from Scotland)

I believe that the Old Firm could only improve the English Premiership. People in England do not realise how big these two clubs are, only Man Utd are bigger. The SPL would benefit as a result with an exciting league because there about four or five clubs who would have a serious chance of winning the league.
John, Scotland

I cannot understand some of the smaller clubs in Scotland complaining about this! They will have a much improved chance of winning trophies and playing in Europe if Celtic and Rangers move to the Premiership. Oh wait! I know what it is. They don't want the Old Firm to go because the Old Firm finance their whole season through their travelling support and because Sky are only interested in financing a Scottish league with the Old Firm in it.


As an exiled Celtic fan I have to say that it makes much sense for Celtic to transfer away from Scotland

Robert Walker
Well, I make no apology to the smaller clubs in Scotland if the Old Firm in the Premiership becomes a reality. They should have amalgamated a long time ago. Clubs like Airdrie and Morton are now counting the cost of failing to make such a move. If this had been done maybe the Old Firm would not have to look elsewhere for some sort of challenge to their monopoly as the amalgamated teams would have more financial clout to bring in decent players. Unfortunately for them the chance has probably gone and good on the Old Firm for trying!
AH, Scotland

As an exiled Celtic fan I have to say that it makes much sense for Celtic to transfer away from Scotland. Apart from the obvious problems we have with biased press and officialdom it gives the rest of the UK and Europe the chance to see an excellent football team who have the best fans in the world. It also irritates me that Rangers and ourselves continue to provide financial lifelines to every other club in Scotland but are criticised when we ask for our "fair" share of money or proper allocation of tickets for important games, I say we should move and then we will see teams struggling to stay in business.
Robert Walker, Netherlands

As an Englishman, I think moving Rangers and Celtic to England would be a great move. The move could only make the English Premier League stronger by two huge clubs joining it, and there would be more competition for the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Leeds. Besides, the Old Firm are wasting theirs and all the other Scottish clubs' time by being in the SPL.
Rupert, England

Did anyone notice that, when the two Glasgow clubs are seeking investment or are in the throes of a share issue, the stories of joining bigger and better leagues always surface?
Vic Price, Scotland

Celtic and Rangers do not have the strength or finance to survive in England, they would be lucky in the first division never mind the Premiership. The Manchester match was a friendly. Celtic or Rangers would have no chance. If they leave they can't go back .
Dan, Glasgow

It sounds to me like some of the English feel threatened by the prospect of expanding their competition. Perhaps it is all indicative of a lack of self belief in English in their own nationality, something which, thankfully, the Scots, Irish and Welsh are quite comfortable with.
Kevin Holliday, Scotland

If the Old Firm are going to leave Scottish football can they please hurry up and do it quickly and quietly instead of going on and on about it? If they want to leave - great. We might actually get a half-interesting league.


I can't imagine Man Utd or Liverpool applying to play in the French League or Real Madrid wanting to play in the Italian League

Chris
But maybe the point is that England doesn't want the Old Firm. Let's face it - they don't care about Scottish football, not even Rangers and Celtic, and why should they?

This is all just brinkmanship with the SPL in an attempt to get more money for the Old Firm, two clubs which continue to disgust me in every possible way.
Scott, Scotland

As a Celtic fan I am keen to see my team achieve success, and hope that this season will mirror the last. However, one aspect of this proposal that has not really received much attention is that of nationality.

I am proud to be a Celtic fan and proud to be a Scot. I can't imagine Man Utd or Liverpool applying to play in the French League or Real Madrid wanting to play in the Italian League.


Once they've gone we will be left with a competitive league which will prove popular across Scotland

Kenny Taylor
It frustrates me endlessly to live in a country that doubts its own worth. This proposal is yet another example of us being brainwashed into thinking that we are a second rate nation.

Celtic and Rangers are Scottish teams with long traditions and many loyal fans, the majority of these fans are Scots. The moment they leave to play in another country, they cease to be Scottish teams. They will undoubtedly test the loyalty of many fans.

I think this proposal may well make sound financial sense, but it is a very poor one for Scotland and for Scottish Football.
Chris, Scotland

The Old Firm leave Scotland? Along with virtually all fans of the other 40 clubs in Scotland, I can't wait. Contrary to popular belief, it is the Old Firm who are a drain on the Scottish game as they cream off the best players from the other clubs and then complain there is no competition. Once they've gone we will be left with a competitive league which will prove popular across Scotland.
Kenny Taylor, Scotland

If the Old Firm see buying success with more television money as the only way forward then they will ultimately fail.

Manchester United, Liverpool and Leeds Utd have shown that the development of talented youth players combined with the best foreign players is the way forward to European success. Rather than joining the English clubs maybe they should try copying them first?


Let them go to England or whoever wants them, but let's make sure they start off in the lowest league

John Monaghan
Both clubs seem reluctant or incapable of giving youth a chance, Barry Ferguson being the one exception. Celtic haven't produced anybody since Paul McStay.

Fans of other clubs in Scotland have long suspected that the loyalties of Celtic and Rangers lie elsewhere. An Old Firm switch from Scottish to English football will act to confirm these suspicions.
George McDonald, Scotland

Let the Old Firm go! People who claim that crowds would go down don't realise that fans would turn up to games because they would have a realistic chance of winning games and silverware instead of buying them, as the Old Firm have done.

Let them go to England or whoever wants them, but let's make sure they start off in the lowest league like every other team does. I bet they'll be back before long!

If they are bigger than Uefa, as they seem to think, and lose their pending court battle against the ruling decisions then surely they should be prevented from playing in Europe? After all, they are challenging Europe's football governing body.
John Monaghan, Scotland

Rangers and Celtic are both big fish in a very little pond. I think the way for them to improve is to move on to a more challenging league.


I think that Celtic and Rangers should join the Premiership so they can taste more competition

Rory Shepherd
It would make the Premier division in Scotland far more interesting without these two. I would like, however, to see perhaps their reserve teams play in the Premiership. I think they could survive with Hibs and Hearts, and hopefully it would bring on new Scottish talent.
Colin, Scotland

I think that Celtic and Rangers should join the Premiership so they can taste more competition and play with clubs more their class. That would make the SPL more interesting.
Rory Shepherd, Scotland

I don't think Celtic or Rangers should leave Scottish football. Life wouldn't be the same up here in Scotland and Celtic or Rangers would not have the away fans.
Danny, Scotland

Celtic have outgrown Scottish football and have to move to new pastures. Last night's victory over Manchester United proves we can live in the EPL.
John, Glasgow

If the Old Firm were to leave the SPL for the Premiership the effect on Scottish football would be devastating.

Any action which merges the English and Scottish leagues is bound to lead to calls to merge the national sides, which, if we're honest, will hurt Scotland more than England.

Of course, this is all assuming the English FA would want the Old Firm.


Let's get one thing straight. We English don't want Celtic and Rangers in the Premiership. It would require massive structural reform

Philip Porteus
An Atlantic League is a far better idea than a move to England. If the SPL and the equivalent top divisions in the other participant countries were to form the qualifying leagues for the Atlantic League - perhaps with play offs among the winners to see who gets promoted to it each year - Scottish football as a whole would receive a boost.

Everyone would be exposed to more and tougher competition. On novelty value alone it would attract crowds and TV coverage.

If the Old Firm want to leave the SPL, an Atlantic League is certainly a better solution all round than a quick move to the English Premiership.
Richard Lindsay, Scotland

The Scots are trying to separate themselves from the English as much as possible, except where it involves them getting their hands on our cash.

They should be told where to go - the honest, hard-working English taxpayers subsidise their extravagant lifestyles enough already.

Why should our Sky TV subs go to help their football teams too?
Tony Bullock, England

I think England are welcome to the Old Firm. The rest of the Scottish clubs' fans would be quite happy to be relieved of the visits of these fans, of which a sizeable proportion sing about Irish battles, bigotry and Irish terrorism.

Could we maybe send them further south, eg Antarctica?
Stewart, Scotland

Let's get one thing straight. We English don't want Celtic and Rangers in the Premiership. It would require massive structural reform.

Why should two English clubs be knocked out of the English Premiership just to let two Scottish ones in?
Phillip Porteous, Cumbria

See also:

02 Aug 01 | Scotland
Old Firm plan Euro challenge
30 Jul 01 | Football
Fifa writes off Old Firm hopes
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