After a terrifyingly poor season for the image of Scottish football I suggested to a few friends that it was time that Rangers and Celtic left the Scottish leagues for the good of the country’s game. The typical response was that the SPL would lose badly in terms of TV revenues and end up like Wales. Some claim we would have to give up our National team. I pondered this for a while and then Swansea City were promoted to the English Premier League. I think that last Monday Rangers and Celtic would’ve been forgiven for wanting to be Welsh – their own national team and their two biggest clubs in the English leagues!
My disillusionment with the Scottish game has grown as the quality of the football has declined. The quality of the football isn’t the only issue though. Despite this decline the league is still uncompetitive in the sense that no one can break the Rangers/Celtic stranglehold on the league. If you don’t support Rangers or Celtic then you are watching league games to see if your team can avoid relegation. The onset of disaffection quickly follows.
Wales plumped a long time ago for entering their top two sides into the English system. This is not what I propose for Rangers and Celtic as I do believe that Scottish domestic football would go to the dogs. I think the prize of Premiership football should be open to all of Britain.
What I am proposing, and I don’t believe this will be an oringinal thought, is a pyramid league system with a British Premiership as the pinnacle. It could be possible to have a Celtic (with the ‘C’ pronounced ‘K’) league system and an English league system which both feed into the Premiership.
The major hurdle to overcome would be how to fairly restructure in this way. How would relegation and promotion work? Should the English and Celtic leagues hold some sort of playoff to decide who takes the 3 spots in the Premiership? What happens if 3 English teams are relegated but 3 Scottish teams promoted?
For these questions I have no solutions. However, that does not mean there aren’t any. My belief is that if the above system was adopted then, after a few turbulent years of fixture timetabling nightmares, or perhaps quotas, equilibrium would be reached. Ultimately it would safeguard TV revenues and potential earnings as the prize would still be Premiership pay day for the English clubs and this would also double as a new incentive for the Celtic league clubs.
Who knows, competitive football may even return to Scotland and fans of Scotland’s other clubs may even return to their once beloved stands.