Report: A British League? The unlikely Celtic scenario

By Euan Davidson

April 22, 2021

Reports suggest that Celtic could be wanted in a British League.

Forgetting the political implications of that one, temporarily, the Sun reported late on Wednesday night that Super League collapse will lead to Premier League reform.

The report indicates that Celtic and Rangers will be asked to join the Premier League. It’s been suggested for decades, but with 6 clubs attempting to join a Super League, clearly change is sought.

According to the report [Sun]:

“The Old Firm could grab a lucrative slice of the Premier League cake, while their inclusion would also see a spike in interest from fans across the world, as well as sponsors and broadcasters.

One club source south of the border said: “Whether or not the European Super League was going to happen, we all feel the Premier League has to be changed and improved.

Celtic 2-1 Aberdeen | LIVE Reaction

“It is time we opened it up to Rangers and Celtic. That would make sense for everyone.”

Desmond has always been keen on the idea / (Photo by Sammy Turner/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Would Celtic join a British League?

Dermot Desmond has hinted he’s keen on the idea. No, in fact – he’s not hinted, so much as suggested it. With clamour around Europe to shake up the status quo in league football, a long-mooted idea seems more likely than ever to reach fruition.

Speaking to The Athletic in September 2020, Desmond said:

“Celtic and Rangers are in the top eight clubs in Great Britain by any metric – support, attendance, international appeal. At some stage, there’s going to be the realisation that if they want to maximise their revenues, then there’ll be a British Premier League. And there should be a British Premier League, because you already have a couple of Welsh teams in the English leagues. So why not?

“As we get more digitally advanced and as clubs take more control of their revenue streams — particularly broadcasting revenues — that will create more potential for Celtic and Rangers, and maybe some other Scottish clubs, to be invited into British leagues.”

The advantages for Celtic are obvious: money. The revenue created in the Premier League would change the picture of Celtic’s finances radically. Big matches against Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City would sell out almost instantly. That improves the playing squad, and the players we’re likely to attract.

For the League, again: money. While Celtic and Rangers bring political baggage, the impact both teams would have is without question. The global audiences Celtic, and to a lesser extent Rangers have, would immediately improve the appeal of what’s already the most popular league.

Celtic defender Christopher Jullien celebrates a trophy win / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Ah, but…

Here’s the rub, though: this would absolutely decimate the Scottish top-flight. Unquestionably, we’d leave the league much poorer. That’s a bit of a slap in the face to the league which has been our home since formation. There’s all that history there, and the rivalries beyond Rangers that make the league appealing.

The appeal of Scottish football might not be worldwide, sure. But in terms of sheer entertainment value, wha’s like us? Naebody.

There’s also the political aspect; for very obvious reasons, the prospect of a “British League” could alienate a large section of supporters. It’s hard to match the identity of Celtic Football Club with some kind of cross-border competition.

Add that to the criticisms we have of the Premier League already. It’s soulless, corrupted by questionable interests in boardrooms, and the standard of matches, arguably, isn’t even that high.

Where we are, we compete for trophies. We qualify for European competition. Remove those things and it’s a pretty tough sell.

To be honest, we don’t see this happening whatsoever.

We’d love to hear your opinion: join the 67 Hail Hail forum and have your say on a proposed ‘British League’.