Report: English club chiefs would welcome radical cross-border Celtic matches; cost detailed

By Euan Davidson

January 7, 2022

It seems unlikely to happen, but were the SPFL to move Celtic and Scottish Premiership matches to England amidst Covid restrictions, it’d be welcomed according to a report.

The Daily Mail claim that Celtic would have offers if they were to plan matches in England. A report in the Sun yesterday suggested that Celtic, Rangers and Scottish Premiership clubs would consider moving matches across the border, if limits of 500 fans were upheld.

That’s something some Northern English clubs would relish, given the potential for gate receipts. But it would come at a considerable cost. The Daily Mail state that clubs would demand at least £250,000 for use of stadia. With clubs looking to generate extra transfer funds, you can follow the logic.

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

The report states that such proposals would only really work for Celtic and/or Rangers in England. The Glasgow Derby is scheduled for the 2nd of February, and it’d be historic if Glasgow wasn’t hosting the game. For other Scottish Premiership clubs, the level of interest outside Scotland wouldn’t be sufficient enough, in the view of English club chiefs.

Whether this would actually happen is something else entirely, however. Although SPFL executives are believed to have discussed the idea, it would take significant planning and investment.

Scottish clubs are waiting on a package of support from the Scottish Government. Surely, moving games to England due to Covid-19 restrictions would impact that enormously.

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Radical Celtic in England plan surely won’t happen

It was already a “plan” with significant barriers. You’re talking about tens of thousands of football fans crossing the border into England. Ticketing, alcohol licensing, policing; there’d be so much to organise.

Glasgow Derbies, in particular, require months of planning. If the EFL, Premier League or whoever thought that having an impromptu Celtic v Rangers game in England would be easy to sort, they’d be profoundly wrong.

Given the impact that crowd restrictions could potentially have on Rugby, you can see the logic. But to me, this is a total non-starter.

Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Especially when you add a quarter of a million pounds to the mix. Would it be worth it for Celtic or Rangers financially? It’s hard to argue it would, and that’s a potential player in the January window paid for.

Of course, English clubs would be seeing pound signs at this proposal. However, there’s a great deal of risk attached, and getting it done at such short-notice seems entirely unrealistic.

Let’s just hope for good news about crowds in Scotland before long. We want back to Celtic Park, not to travel hundreds of miles for a home game in England.

Read more: SPFL talent lifts lid on Ange Postecoglou’s Scottish impact since Celtic move