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McClelland doubts Old Firm move


Robson and McClelland on Old Firm move

Rangers director John McClelland has cast doubt on reports linking the Old Firm with a move to England.

Bolton chairman Phil Gartside has proposed allowing the Old Firm clubs to move to England as part of a two-tier Premier League of 18 teams each.

"Anything's possible, but it would be hard to say it's a strong likelihood," McClelland told BBC Scotland.

Former England and Manchester United midfielder Bryan Robson said any move would damage Scottish football.

The idea would have to overcome a number of obstacles and Uefa's director of communications William Gaillard said the matter would be something to be decided between the leagues and associations involved.

Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill has already voiced his backing for a possible switch for the Old Firm, while West Brom manager Tony Mowbray doubts whether the clubs would make a significant impact in England.

"Rangers and Celtic being successful in Scotland can be synonymous with them being successful in Europe," McClelland said.

"And I think the Uefa Cup final last season, for example, and the success that both clubs have had in the Champions League over the years, has given us status and a reputation within European football

"I think it's one that we can take a lot of credit for. And the European competitions continue to grow.

"Our television money isn't at the same level as the English league, but normally we're consistently managing to play European football - which is a good income earner."

Bryan Robson
Competition to get into the Premier League is fierce, but that's what money does

Bryan Robson

On Gartland's proposal, McClelland said: "Yes, it's come from England this time but it's a more complex proposal. We didn't pursue this at all.

"The original idea about the Old Firm joining the English Premier League fell down. So, it's not an easy concept to actually materialise."

Robson said he would have concerns for the future of Scottish football if the Old Firm left the SPL.

"I don't think they would be out of place in the Premier League, but I don't think it would ever happen, in the sense that it could destroy the Scottish League completely," he said.

"Teams in the Premier League wouldn't want to give up their places to Celtic and Rangers.

"You can see the gap now with Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal - and those who don't make the Champions League, getting wider.

"Competition to get into the Premier League is fierce, but that's what money does."

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see also
Smith bullish about England move
01 May 09 |  Rangers
Mowbray questions Old Firm impact
30 Apr 09 |  Premier League
O'Neill talks up Old Firm switch
29 Apr 09 |  Aston Villa
Top-flight 'reticent' on Old Firm
23 Apr 09 |  Premier League
Boyle cautious of Old Firm exit
20 Apr 09 |  Motherwell
Bolton chief wants radical change
23 Oct 08 |  Premier League
Strachan predicts new Euro league
12 Nov 07 |  Football

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