Get Celtic into England

by Ewan

Celtic football club are reportedly proposing a switch to English football, one national newspaper claimed today. This would see Scotland’s joint biggest club dispose of the Scottish Premier League (SPL) and potentially join the Football League, perhaps at League One or Two level.  This would surely be a welcome addition, bolstering the game not only in Scotland, but also in England.

As soon as the story was printed many narrow minded thinkers chirped of the apparent disrespect it showed to the SPL, and to the Football League clubs Celtic could be joining. They falsely claim it would damage the game in Scotland, removing an iconic institution from their grasp. Some even ludicrously believe it would negatively affect the Scottish national side, potentially toppling that renowned team of sporting excellence.

What many fail to notice are the vast benefits this would bring. This story has been written on hundreds of occasions, and there should be no particular reason for believing it would occur this time. But theoretically it makes perfect sense.

The prosperity this move would stimulate for Celtic, more than anything, is huge. Playing teams of an improved quality would be more interesting than the banality the “competition” in the SPL offers. The supporters, who are among the most loyal in the world, would therefore experience the excitement and exhilaration, which is reserved only for Old Firm matches these days, on more regular occasions.

The financial prospects are also far more enticing. You would imagine Celtic progressing up into at least the Championship in a few years, and most probably beyond. The television money alone – which stands at just £16m a season for all the clubs combined in the SPL – would be hugely enlarged. Having witnessed the unfortunate but inevitable administration of Rangers, a more secure economic situation must be welcomed by all those in the club.

To start, the inclusion of Celtic in, for instance, League Two (or at a lower level if necessary), must also be embraced. Naturally clubs will complain about a potential freezing of promotion for one season to enable Celtic’s addition, or something similar. Yet, beyond selfish interests, the league would not only become instantly more popular but also more exciting for the clubs already involved.  Many lower level teams struggle to register attendances of any great quantity, and an authentically big club joining the league would, at the very least, increase interest and subsequent ticket revenues for two matches a season.

Celtic would inevitably develop into a Premier League side. The false branding of the competition as the “English” Premier League (EPL) should not halt Celtic’s introduction. Swansea, a Welsh side, already plays in the league, so a Scottish team should be afforded the same rights on those principles.

Celtic would also improve the EPL. Celtic Park, the ground housing the club, has a capacity of roughly 60,000. With the greatest respect, sides such as Wigan and Blackburn can only attract 20,000 fans to matches. For the benefit of the league, we must surely welcome a club who can draw three times the attendance than that of EPL regulars for the last decade.

And with this high fan base, which penetrates effectively across the border in Ireland also, comes greater competition. We hear pundits mumble endlessly about the “competitiveness” of the EPL being its greatest strength. If that is what everyone desires, then Celtic provides a perfect opportunity to enhance this further. A team who can generate such vast sums of revenue would gradually become challengers for the Champions League spots or beyond. I presume this sort of utopia would be craved by Celtic fans trapped in Scotland for so long.

Beyond pecuniary interest, would this move be so bad for the wider SPL either? When a whole league is defined, much like La Liga, by one fixture – Celtic v Rangers – then the state of actual competition is surely dire. Were Celtic to move, a transition by Rangers would perhaps follow. As much of the support in Scotland is for these two sides anyway, many would just be receiving better football coverage.

For the remaining SPL sides the league would perhaps not contain the stellar opposition of these two sides. But, after subtracting the two clubs’ ridiculous dominance and control, an overall more healthy game is most likely the result. The SPL would perhaps go on to reflect many of the other smaller European nations, who produce home-grown talent in a truly competitive league, and then face tougher opposition in suddenly more special and meaningful European nights.

These foreign, smaller teams can compete adeptly in Europe as well. For example, the Cypriot side Apoel Nicosia is in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, and the Romanians FC Cluj and the Belgians Genk have produced draws with EPL winners Chelsea in the recent past. Perhaps removing the Old Firm would enable other Scottish clubs to develop and evolve.

For the Scottish national side the remaining clubs would also be even more Scottish focused, and the best talent nurtured correctly and efficiently. Couple this with an EPL standard academy residing in Scotland at Celtic, and greater success for the national side is the outcome.

It therefore appears a relatively logical decision to move Celtic and perhaps after that Rangers into a more esteemed league. Benefits for everyone are the only thing the decision would bring.

16 Responses

  1. Meek says:

    Banality of competition? I give you a one word reply. Kilmarnock.

  2. John McVey says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments of the article, lets hope our dreams come true! Great read and nice to see this was excellently written by a fifteen year old who surely has a bright future ahead of him.

  3. Popes11 says:

    How refreshing to read a well thought out piece which shows the undoubted quality, support and competition that Celtic would bring to the English league. Super piece of work from someone so young, keep it up mate.

  4. Diarmuid says:

    Well written piece but the author ignores couple of points. Welsh clubs have historically played in
    English lge. With Celtic moving to maybe Lge two, and Rangers not moving then the SPL becomes
    A monopoly rather then duoply.
    Most important Celtic move would open the flood gates. What’s to stop Porto and co moving to Spanish lge. Belgium clubs to Dutch lge etc. it would the end of national leagues

    1. Ewan says:

      Good points but … The Scottish club Queens Park have played in two FA Cup finals, so there is a history of Scottish teams in England, just not recently. You are right about Rangers – and most probably they should move once their debt is sorted as well. Also, the European teams playing in different countries is not realistic because fans would not fly. However, to go from Glasgow to Newcastle is probably shorter than Newcastle to Plymouth, so to do it is perfectly sensible – unlike travelling from Brussels to Barcelona every week. Plus, it is the United Kingdom after all.

  5. pat says:

    You make a lot of interesting points. It’s great to see an article on this subject that doesn’t descend into disrespect to any of the clubs mentioned.

    While there are numerous positive possible outcomes, as a Celtic fan the idea of us moving to the English league still doesn’t sit that well with me.

    I realise there is a chance to eventually get a piece of some of the bigger TV deals. I also feel we have a fanbase, history and name that will carry us a long way on this mission. Also, I agree that some English clubs would probably welcome the intrigue and added interest it would bring.

    However, I do not like the idea of stopping the promotion of another club and completely understand if English clubs were opposed to Celtic joining on the grounds that it could diminish their own chances of success.

    On the one hand it could be a very exciting adventure, and many would be interested to see how it progresses.
    On the other hand, we would be leaving the country and league setup that has, for better or worse, contributed to our club’s identity.

  6. Adeyinka says:

    Kilmarnock? That’s a one of occurence, aside Celtic & Rangers, there is nothing in Scottish football. Alright you’re tempted to think La-liga? Look at their overall display in European competition without the duo of Barca & Real. Still a great showing from other La-liga teams.
    The lack of strong competition in scottish football is fast turning or has even turned the strong two in to a mediocre side in European football. An average Scottish fan will be quick to take me back to 2008 when they lost the Europa League final to Zenith St. Petersburg, or there strong display against AC Milan in the round of 16 in 2007 that still ended in an exit. C’mon embrace the English opportunity.

  7. Nick says:

    Can I ask which national newspaper published this claim today? Thanks

    1. It featured on the back page of yesterday’s ‘The People’

  8. Craig Thomson says:

    Disrespect? Celtic provide more money to the other clubs in terms of traveling support than any other team. With the largest stadium in Scotland the away teams slice of the pie is also the largest when they come to Celtic Park. Then of course you have the Old Firm scenario where the Tv companies are really only interested in showing these games.

    Celtic make little more than 1.5 million a season from tv cash.

    Now with Rangers facing liquidation the 10 have gotten together to best take advantage of Ranger predicament where they would be looking for entry back into the Spl instead of the usual route of having to apply at the lowes level of Scottish Football as a newco.

    Some say “who can blame them” given that Celtic and Rangers can veto certain moves with the current voting structure. But that didn’t stop the other 10 voting against the Sky deal when football was booming and then do it again by siding with setaanta when Celtic and Rangers told them they didn’t have the subscriptions to back the deal they were proposing. All the 10 could look at was the largest deal, not the best. The consequently terminated the contract and we put the begging bowl out to espn and sky.

    The two biggest mistakes in Scottish football over the last 12 years, made by the other clubs who used the OF as their own bargaining chip in spectacular failure.

    Now the “10″ are planning negotiations should Rangers liquidate on letting them back into the Spl while taking more influence.

    Celtic aren’t even invited.

    If we can get into league 1 and work our way up we should bit the hand off them. We have seen enough of how Scottish Football in general treats Celtic in recent years to look out for ourselves and maybe now IS the time to shake off the old firm tag.

  9. dave says:

    a move to league 2 could destroy celtic you should not assume promotion followed by promotion. look at leeds and all the other big clubs currently outside the premier league. celtic would not provide serious contenders for the epl title alongside liverpool, man utd, city, chelsea aresenal and spurs. best option is to expand spl with maybe welsh or irish clubs

    1. Ewan says:

      Celtic get double the attendance than Leeds and have a massive following also in Ireland. They are probably bigger than Leeds even when playing in the SPL. With respect therefore, presuming Celtic would beat the likes of Accrington Stanley and Bury to gain promotion is reasonable. Also, would any of the Welsh or Irish clubs (minus Cardiff and Swansea) really provide much better than the SPL already offers?

  10. pat says:

    dave,

    Celtic have a bigger following, better facilities (excellent training ground etc.) and bigger income from everything except TV than most of the EPL teams, nevermind League 1 or the Championship.
    Of course quick promotions shouldn’t be assumed, but they’d be better placed than anyone in League 1 or the Championship to progress.
    Yes, Leeds is a big club but it is dwarfed by the size of Celtic on the global scale.

    And I agree that Celtic wouldn’t be title challengers to the EPL clubs you mention, but only when you look at the current squad.
    This squad would surely change with £50m (is that right) in TV money every season. At the moment it’s only about £2m.
    Following on from that point, Celtic already have a bigger global appeal than Spurs, Chelsea and Man City. None of those 3 have ever been as ‘big’ as Celtic but their stock has risen as result of EPL growth.

    All that said,
    I don’t think I’d want us in the EPL, for my points given earlier.
    Additionally, I don’t want us paying £80,000-£100,000 a week for mediocre players.
    We would also have to adapt to the general style of play in the EPL, and I don’t think I’d like us to play that way.

  11. Alex says:

    “Plus, it is the United Kingdom after all” – Don’t tell the Celtic fans that…

  12. Josh Tarrant says:

    So they 1.6 million per season from TV.

    How does that compare to the football league?

  13. Dave Wood Dave Wood says:

    There’s no way the Old Firm will ever go into the Football League. Decades of history have proven this to us.

    Ultimately, It’d be wrong for an existing team to be (effectively or literally) relegated to make room for a team from another federation, that happens to be unhappy with it’s lot in life. The Wales argument is completely invalid here, because the Welsh exile clubs didn’t jump from one federation to another.

    Turning the tables here, I’d have to ask whether Celtic fans would think it would be acceptable to put 12 English “big clubs” into the Scottish system and to relegate Celtic to Div. 1. Hypothetically, this would be fantastic for the league’s finances and attendances. Though, I doubt any Scottish football fan would support the idea.

    Ultimately, the only foreseeable way into English football, for Scottish clubs, will come if/when a PL2 division was formed, severing ties between the PL and the Football League, with membership being awarded on a franchise basis.

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