Celtic Diary Tuesday December 31: Return Of The Old Firm

Celtic Diary Tuesday December 31: Return Of The Old Firm

Of course, you and I know that unless someone pays tens of millions of pounds to the creditors of Rangers, and rescues them before they are finally liquidated, the Old Firm cannot come back.

However, money talks, in fact, in this case it screams and shouts, and because of that, the rational voices of truth has been drowned out.

As a support, we collectively shake our head and via the internet, we remind those who are in a position to challenge this nonsense, but they don’t want to challenge it.

The Scottish mainstream media and Sky TV are rubbing their hands.

The SFA breathe a collective sigh of relief. They’ve got away with it, and not only that, should the current Ibrox entity collapse due to financial malpractice, the rules have been changed to allow a third entity to take the place of the second one in the top league. There’s no need for any of that voting nonsense next time around.

“rangers ” have slipped seamlessly into the history of Rangers and that means Scottish football has something to sell again.

Although the toxicity of “rangers ” means there’s no sign of a sponsor just yet, but as the tv companies and the media aren’t too concerned about that, and they will continue to give it widespread coverage, there may be hope yet for Neil Doncaster in his search for sponsorship.

Sunday’s game had just enough controversy to allow Sky to hype up the Old Firm again, and with the English Premiership more or less over, the title race in Scotland will gain more attention than it usually would, especially as there is a requirement for four Old Firm games in the contract between Sky and the Scottish football authorities.

Which in itself was a reason to get “rangers ” up there and challenging as quickly as possible, and also putting rules in place to keep one form or another of them in the top league.

It’s sickening, and when you consider that Celtic and the other clubs, have given the nod to this arrangement, it;s enough to make your heart go fuck this.

 

Peter Lawwell will be rubbing his hands with glee as well.

If we accept that he thinks pursuing Resolution 12 is not in the clubs best interest, and refuses to tell us why, we must look for possible reasons ourselves, and when one starts to do that, the findings can be quite astonishing.

 

In 2012, Lawwell was quick to point out that Celtic were a stand alone club who did not need Rangers in order to flourish.

Looking back, one wonders of he wasn;t too quick to do that, as it appears he had a rather close working relationship with his opposite number at Rangers, Martin Bain, and they were working towards the same goal…. as a document from 2011 shows their thinking

From: Louise Barrie [mailto:LouiseBarrie@rangers.co.uk] On Behalf Of Martin Bain

Sent: 02 March 2011 16:39

To: ONeill, Eleanor

Subject: RE: Document

 

 

Hi Eleanor, could you possibly send me this document as a Word document to enable Martin to add some paragraphs to it?  I can’t currently do this as it is in PDF format.

 

 

 

Many thanks

 

Louise 

Louise Barrie

 

PA to Chief Executive

 

 Tel:  0141 580 8569

 

Fax:  0141 580 8520

 

 

From: ONeill, Eleanor [mailto:EONeill@celticfc.co.uk]

Sent: 23 February 2011 17:03

To: Martin Bain

Subject: Document

 

 Hi Martin  

Attached document for your attention.

 

Kind regards,

 

Eleanor

 

Eleanor O’Neill

Personal Assistant to Chief Executive

Celtic plc, Celtic Park, GLASGOW, G40  3RE

Direct Tel No:  +44 (0)141 551 4246

Direct Fax No:  +44 (0)141 554 8845 

 

 

What would the Old Firm bring to English football?

 

The rivalry between Scotland’s two biggest football teams, Celtic and Rangers, is world-renowned. Games between these two Glasgow giants regularly attract attendances that outstrip many in the top flight in Europe’s biggest leagues. In fact, so dominant is support for the “Old Firm”, that it is not unheard of for a sell-out attendance at an “Old Firm Derby” to be greater than the total attendance at all the other SPL games that week combined.

 

Games between the two are global spectacles; considered among the biggest games between two clubs anywhere in the world ranking alongside Spain’s “El Classico”, the Milan derby, Liverpool versus Manchester United and the North London derby.

 

Two clubs with such ardent and passionate support, and a rivalry of such world renown, would clearly be an asset to whichever league environment they play in. Indeed there has often been debate as to whether Celtic and Rangers should join a different league, in particular England’s FA Premier League.

 

The presence of the Old Firm in England would bring a range of benefits to the English game.

 

The commercial value (through media rights and sponsorship) of top leagues is based, in a large part, on the value of the clubs and rivalries within it. The FA Premier League already has within it some true “global giant” clubs and a number of other clubs that would be considered “large” by any estimation.  Games between these giants, and between giants and other large clubs, drive the bulk of TV interest and scheduling.

 

The addition of two more “giant” teams has an exponential impact on the number of games between such “giants” to the general benefit of the quality and quantity of inventory available for TV.

 

Take, as an assumption, that there are currently four “giant” teams that drive the TV scheduling of FA Premier League games (Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea – for arguments sake). These teams provide 12 head-to-head games between them each season.

 

Add to that mix another two “giant” teams (Celtic and Rangers are each easily able to attract 50-60,000+ fans to top games and provide a global TV interest) and the impact would add a further 18 “giant vs giant” games making a total of 30 such games in a season. More than double the current amount.

 

A similar effect is felt when considering games between the giants and other “large” or “very large” teams such as Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Everton, Aston Villa and Newcastle United. Considering games between the current four “giants” and the next five biggest teams in the FA Premier League; there are 40 such games each season. Adding the two Glasgow giants to the mix would bring an additional 20 games between “giant” and “large” teams per season. 

In a media environment craving additional quantity and quality of games, the introduction of Celtic and Rangers into the FA Premier League would have a massive impact on the ability of that league to meet that demand with new, good quality, inventory and to monetise it.

 

Furthermore, fans of both Celtic and Rangers are well-known to travel and both clubs enjoy large followings in cities across the UK. Visiting crowds in Celtic and Rangers away games would be among the highest of any team in the league and be a welcome revenue boost for many clubs. Not only would average home attendances increase with the addition of Celtic Park and Ibrox but away attendances would also be enhanced.

 

The two teams also benefit from a global following similar to that enjoyed by only a few teams in England (such as Manchester United and Liverpool). Driven by Scottish and (in the case of Celtic in particular) Irish migration the USA, Canada and Australia especially provide large, wealthy and committed overseas fan bases while even emerging markets such as South East Asia and the Middle East have their fair-share of expats ensuring that the Old Firm are among the best-supported European teams in those countries. This global appeal has been enhanced in some cases by the success of overseas players such as Japan’s Nakamura and South Korea’s Ki. All of this adds-up to greater potential global appeal and greater TV value for the league.

A more nebulous impact of the Old Firm joining the FA Premier League would be the “intrigue” factor. The league has already demonstrated a desire to innovate throughout its history. Facing increased global competition from other leagues (Serie A, La Liga) and other sports (NBA, NFL, MLB) the FA Premier League has introduced branded overseas preseason events to further develop brand exposure and has even considered adding an “International Round” of games to provide a competitive live experience in overseas markets. The League has led the revolution in varied and staggered kick-off times, enabling it to make the most of global markets, and innovation itself has been recognised as an important aspect of future success.

 

The introduction of the Old Firm would provide a “new angle” and introduce a new level of intrigue. English, Scottish and global fans will be interested to finally see how the two Old Firm teams will compete in England’s top-flight. There will be an initial impetus in media attention, in fans’ interest when Celtic or Rangers visit (whether on TV at home or in-stadium) and the innovation will make headlines, and spark a debate, around the world that will keep the FA Premier League front of mind among the world’s football fans. The impact of this “buzz” on the profile of the league should not be under-estimated.

 

The addition of Celtic and Rangers to the FA Premier League has the potential to be a major innovation and important value-enhancer for the league. Two giant clubs with global following providing an increase in high-quality inventory not easily achieved in any other way. 

What are the prospects for Scottish league football if Celtic and Rangers played in a different league?

 

Were Celtic and Rangers to play their league football outside of the Scottish league system, many have argued this could prove the “death knell” of the Scottish league, and even Scottish football more generally.

 

The current financial model underpinning the Scottish Premier League (SPL) is predicated on maximising the revenues that the Old Firm teams can generate and redistributing this revenue among the members of the SPL. However, this model is already facing severe challenges and may be unsustainable. The limited potential of the domestic Scottish market for league football caps the total potential of the league, and that of the Old Firm teams, and fails to equip its leading teams with the financial muscle to compete on the European stage; thereby preventing these teams from effectively representing Scottish football in the international arena.

 

Yet the existing model has never facilitated increased levels of competition in the SPL either; no sustained challenge has ever been mounted to the hegemony of the Old Firm and the league is left with the competing demands of the two biggest teams needing to dominate revenues sufficiently to compete in Europe, while the other teams in turn seek their own share of revenues in order to attempt to keep pace with the Old Firm. The result is an unhappy compromise where neither group is able to fully achieve its objectives while, at the same time, the relative value (and strength) of the domestic Scottish league continues to wane when compared to its global rivals. The departure of the Old Firm wouldn’t “break” the model – its already facing challenges that could break it. 

 

Acting now, while the value of Celtic and Rangers in a different environment is still high, is an opportunity to arrest this relative slide and to put the rest of Scottish league football on a more sustainable footing from which it can flourish.

 

In the absence of the dominant Old Firm teams, Scottish league football has a chance. The relative SPL parity that would be achieved by removing these hugely dominant forces would allow a new competitive mantra to take hold. Teams like Dundee United, Aberdeen, Hearts, Hibs, and others besides, would suddenly have the chance of competing for a title and of being crowned Champions.  No more “playing for third” but instead playing for first and a place in the UEFA Champions League.

 

Competition is the life-blood of sport and increasing true competition is the best way to breathe fresh life into a league structure which is currently wed to a failing business model. Competition would bring increased interest from fans, who would have the incentive of watching their team challenge for titles and of knowing that results count for more than not being relegated.

 

With a more level playing field there would be genuine intrigue, at home and further afield, as to which teams can emerge as the new champions in a domestic league shorn of the perennially dominant forces. Cities outside of Glasgow would, for the first time in generations in some cases, have the chance of tasting success.

Importantly, the long-term financial model would be more sustainable. Clubs will always demand ever-growing revenues to help them compete of course, but the challenge of competing off the field with the commercially-dominant Glasgow giants will no longer be a prerequisite for mounting a challenge for the League title. In short, the remaining clubs will need less.

 

Whilst the new league may no longer benefit directly from the value the current Old Firm rivalry generates (through TV for example) the Old Firm will be competing in a much more lucrative environment and mechanisms to off-set some of the lost income ought to be explored as part of the overall settlement that sees the Old Firm play, and generate additional value, elsewhere.

 

Another important impact on the Scottish game more generally will arise from Celtic and Rangers continued presence in Glasgow. The debate about the Old Firm playing in a different league has often been characterised as a desire to “leave Scotland”. The reality is precisely the opposite.

 

Far from somehow abandoning the city of Glasgow, and their respective roots in that city and beyond, the two teams will continue to play their league football in Celtic Park and Ibrox, in front of the globally-renowned passionate fans. What will change is the nature of the opposition, the quality of play and the stature of Glaswegian and Scottish football in the global game.

 

Week-in, week-out, Glasgow will play host to some of the best club football played anywhere in the world. Young fans, and aspiring footballers, will have access to this great spectacle and the impact of this newly-enhanced passion for the game could also be felt across the broader health and well-being of Scottish society. Young talent will not only be inspired by their local team playing among the best but they will also see an outlet for their talent in their home city or country. They can now realise their dreams of playing at the highest level by playing for an undeniably Scottish team in Scotland’s most populous city.

 

Yet Celtic and Rangers’ ties with Scotland’s other clubs needn’t be totally broken. Calendar permitting, there remains the potential for the Old Firm to continue to play in the Scottish Cup, thereby also breathing new life into that competition when Celtic or Rangers games against Scottish opponents become more of a scarcity.

 

It should also be remembered that Celtic and Rangers are far and away the best-supported teams in Scotland. Anything that improves the opportunity of those two teams also generally improves the experience of a large section of Scotland’s football fan-base de facto.

 

By playing in a stronger league, the cap that currently exists on the potential of the Old Firm would be lifted. All the good that can arise from strong, well-supported, well-run, competitive teams with strong roots in the community, will be harnessed in a way not possible in the current domestic set-up.

 

A new playing environment for Celtic and Rangers would be good for Glasgow and for Scotland. Good for fans and for players. It would also be good for the rest of the SPL. Shorn of the need to compete with the commercially-dominant Old Firm, Scotland’s other teams will finally have the chance to compete for the title and a place in Europe and all on the basis of a more realistic – and more sustainable – financial model. 

 

Of course, that was then, and this is now.

Any plans that the two had to join the English set up were scuppered when Rangers went into liquidation, bit one question immediately pops up…

When this plan was discussed, did Lawwell know about the impending crisis at Ibrox, and was it part of a plan to save them ?

Which begs the question, how far will Lawwell go to ensure that the Old Firm cash cow is preserved ?

 

Which, in turn, casts doubt on Lawwell’s claim at the AGM that he had not seen the 5 way agreement, a claim that might yet blow up in his face.

 

Back to the present day, and the media now have the new old firm more or less as equal participants in the 2019/20 title race.

In fairness, “rangers ” are not only still clinging on, but should they win their game in hand, they will go top of the table.

There is a real danger that nine in a row will not happen.

I’m not suggesting that Celtic are deliberately encouraging this title race, but the worrying part is that there seems little urgency to put things right.

There’s a malaise running through the club, a complacency brought about by three years of co,plete dominance, and some point to the tenth succesive trophy which was landed a few weeks ago, although the signs were there that Steven Gerrard and his crew had finally got the measure of Celtic, and so it was seen last sunday when they came into Celtic Park armed with enthusiasm and confidence, and got the result they needed.

We are faced with a team that has enough spirit to make up for the fact that they aren’t very good, a spirit that has landed them a place in knockout European football, so maybe we should stop laughing at them and start taking things seriously.

Celtic need to fond their spirit over the winter break, and come back looking like a team that has won ten consecutive trophies, and not one who thinks eeryone should bow down to them because of that feat.

 

Meanwhile the PR department at Ibrox showed us yet again why they are streets ahead pf the Parkhead counterparts.

Alfredo Morelos and Ryan Kent both made unacceptable getsures to the Celtic fans on Sunday. If that sort of thing offends you then fair enough.

I couldn’t care less but I am aware that these sort of gestures, Kent pretending to shoot the crowd and Morelos drawing a finger across his throat to imitate having it cut, can cause trouble in the stands and in the streets and pubs after the game, so action must be taken.

But before the SFA could even comment, Level 5 swung into action…

 

RANGERS is today repeating its call for the introduction of VAR (Video Assistant Referee) following Sunday’s Premiership victory at Parkhead.

Rangers believes Scottish referees need additional help if match officials are to get more of the big decisions correct and the club is convinced VAR would provide that extra assistance.

Rangers Managing Director Stewart Robertson said: “This is not a criticism of referees because they often have to perform under very difficult conditions and in a highly emotive environment, as do our players and coaches.

“The speed at which the modern game is played also means it is extremely difficult to make split-second calls with the degree of certainty required.

“We believe the introduction of VAR would help referees enormously and reduce the number of wrong decisions which sometimes have a dramatic effect on the outcome of matches. In recent weeks, Rangers has suffered from errors of judgement but it is our strong view that VAR would be to the benefit of everyone and in particular the referees themselves.”

In this month (December) alone, Rangers has suffered from three glaring errors in key matches. On December 4 at Pittodrie the referee failed to see Alfredo Morelos had been fouled inside the box and awarded a free kick outside the penalty area. The referee apologised to Steven Gerrard after the match but the damage had been done and Rangers had to settle for a 2-2 draw and the loss of two points.

Then, just four days later at Hampden, Rangers lost the Betfred Cup final when the officials failed to see that not just one, but three players were clearly offside when the only goal of the final was scored.

On Sunday, during the final game before the January break, the referee and his assistants awarded a goal even though the ball had been deflected into Allan McGregor’s net off a hand of an opposing player. That goal should never have stood and would undoubtedly have been overturned had VAR been in use.

A number of other incidents, including the clear foul by Julien on Alfredo Morelos as he attempted to break clear, were also missed. Instead, and inexplicably, a foul was given against Alfredo. There can be little doubt Alfredo is singled out for special attention, on and off the field of play. Indeed, some of the things said and written about him leave a lot to be desired and do nothing to suggest Scottish football is the most welcoming of environments.

Even Alfredo’s gesture as he left the pitch is now being portrayed in some quarters as something sinister when, in fact, it is a gesture used commonly throughout South America to indicate quite simply that something – in this case, the match – is finished.

However, the main point is that VAR, which is now used in many leagues throughout Europe, would help eradicate refereeing mistakes and greatly assist our match officials. At the very least, the SFA/SPFL must now seriously consider the introduction of the system at the earliest opportunity otherwise the Scottish game is in danger of being left behind.

Rangers has already written to SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell asking that the association look at consideration the introduction of VAR and the club is once again urging both governing bodies to give this matter serious consideration and study.

Rangers is aware of the financial argument against VAR but the cost to clubs which suffer from such game-changing decisions and the integrity of our game must also be given priority.

 

Morelos has let himself down again, and there’s now even more chance that a club with 20/30/40 million pounds to spend may look elsewhere as Morelos simply cannot be trusted to behave.

Level 5, however, are determined to patch up the guys reputation, and show he’s really a nice guy…

Alfredo Morelos shows class as Rangers star returns to Colombia for charity event

The 23-year-old returned to Colombia and immediately took part in an event for his charity foundation. 

While he’s over there, he might want to have a look at the papers… one of which doesn’t seem to know that his throat slitting gesture means something is finished…

Gol Caracol
@GolCaracol
#VIDEO Alfredo Morelos cierra el año con críticas e investigado por polémico gesto tras ser expulsado bit.ly/39x5Hyy #DeColombianos
Translated from Spanish by
#VIDEO Alfredo Morelos closes the year with criticism and investigated for controversial gesture after being expelled bit.ly/39x5Hyy#DeColombianos

 

That won’t bother Level 5, as none of the SMSM have the balls to question Morelos’s behaviour, because if he’s not sold, there is next to no chance that should “rangers ” qualify for Europe next season, they won’t be eligible for a licence..

Image result for deja vu quotes

 

 

Scottish football is all about Celtic and “rangers “. The other clubsneed the Old Firm pound, whereas Celtic want it. There is next to no chance of the clubs moving to england as the police would put a block on it.

English police do not want thousands of Scottish fans in their town centres on a weekly basis, and so the ugly sisters must remain, and the cash they generate is needed to keep the league afloat.

Thats what Lawwell will tell you, and thats what everyone else will tell you.

In 2012, there was an opportunity to clean out the SFa and for “rangers ” to start afresh, removing themselves from the mess Murray created and doing things legally and transparently.

But no, we have an even more extreme version of Raners, one which is brazenly ignoring the rules, certainly where finance is cincerned, and actu=ivey protecting and encouraging a support which triumphantly sings about their hatred of all things Irish and all things catholic.

So when they accused the Celtic support of racially abusing Alfredo Morelos one has to shake one;s head in bewilderment.

Here’s an example of how they behave-at the game and at their keyboards…

Image

apparently a journalist has a video that proves that Morelos was abused, but, for whatever reason, is reluctant to show it, which casts doubt on its existence…

Peter A Smith
@PeterAdamSmith
I’ve seen the video of racist and sectarian insults being shouted at Alfredo Morelos yesterday. It has been sent to me but I am not sharing it because it doesn’t deserve the platform. It is horrendous and it needs to be stamped out by all clubs and by all reasonable fans quickly. 
I’ve been on this long enough to know fans of [insert club here] will now send videos of fans of [insert club here] shouting racist or sectarian abuse, asking why that’s not reported. Can we just agree racism is always unacceptable & it doesn’t support any team? Here’s to 2020.

Racism is unacceptable, as is accusing someone of it, and refusing to share the evidence….

 

One last thing, Ryan christie had to have an emergency operation last night on is groin as a result of a “collision ” with Alfredo Morelos.

Our man at the hospital told us this last night, and what he also said is it may rule Christie out for some time…

 

Yesterday, we had this…

Image result for Lennon Lawwell

 

Henrik
Today…
Image