Why we need Celtic to say no to ridiculous British League
So, last night some news emerged about a ‘British Super League’.
Or ‘British League’. Whatever you want to call it, it unavoidably sounds like a fringe political party. The Sun reported late last night [Sun] that there was legitimate interest in bringing Celtic and Rangers to England’s Premier League.
Odd that the self-proclaimed Greatest League in the World (Trade Mark) would need help from little ol’ Celtic and Rangers, but these are plans that deserve the most vitriolic opprobrium. Defenders of the idea will point at Swansea and Cardiff Cities respectively as an example of how it can work. Because both sides are absolute world-beaters, of course.
Listen, it’s this simple: this would decimate Scottish Football. Like it or not, and I can hear the cries from the rest of the SPFL, it’s Glasgow’s Big Two who are the greatest cash cow for the domestic game. Is that fair? It’s up to you, and there are certainly arguments for and against. In terms of population, it makes sense that Glasgow would have the biggest teams in Scotland, but is their power and hold over the SPFL justified? Again, that’s your call to make, and probably depends on the colour of shirt you wear at the weekend.
Of course, there are advantages for Celtic but the biggest draw-back is surely the utter betrayal it’d be to the game in Scotland. The only people who don’t like Scottish Football, its drama, utter pettiness and genuine quality through the leagues, are the people who don’t watch it or have no interest.
For us, it’s a national obsession. It’s not jingoism or patriotism to suggest that a country’s best teams should be playing in that country. That seems self-evident. We belong here.
Please Celtic, say no to this
It’s not just about the silverware, the prospect of European football every year and the fact that it’d be extremely difficult for us at first. The reach of Celtic, our fantastic stadium and history mean that if you add a bottomless pit of Barclay’s revenue to that equation, we can attract big-name players. That’s all fine and good, in whatever hypothetical world you live in.
It’s just that it’d be sacrificing our soul. We belong to Scotland. We were a club founded to provide for the impoverished in the East End of Glasgow. More than 125 years on, serving to further line the pockets of a morally bankrupt but cash-rich league would be an aberration.
Yes, football is a business, but it doesn’t mean that every footballing decision has to be made to generate income. We have roots here, significant and meaningful roots, regardless of how much Dermot Desmond wants this to happen [The Athletic].
If you’re so inclined, the prospect of matches against Manchester United, Liverpool etc are alluring. Fine, but the scarcity of those clashes are what makes them special. You can guarantee that after a couple of seasons, the shine would diminish. It’d turn a spectacle into business as usual. And the gulf in financial terms between us and the top 6 would take generations to overcome.
Yes, I realise the irony of this, writing as a Celtic supporter. The rest of the clubs outside Celtic and Rangers deal with a fraction of our budgets. But rather than swanning off into the sunset, we should be fighting for reform. We ought to talk up our national game, rather than betray it.
It serves us well to have equity in the Premiership, because if everyone’s standards rise, it means Celtic have to invest in the playing squad, they have to be on alert every season, and the chasm of standard between European and domestic football isn’t so wide.
This would be a betrayal of our roots, of our cause, and the league that’s been our home since foundation. We need to treat this ridiculous idea with the utter scorn it deserves.
If this pie-in-the-sky nonsense actually comes to something, Celtic must say no.