The two biggest rival clubs in Scotland, Rangers and Celtics FC could play in the same league as England’s top clubs, if plans to move the teams south succeed. The predicament could come to fruition in the next decade, according to Celtic majority shareholder, Dermot Desmond. Desmond was quoted on OmniSport proposing that such a move would benefit the two Scottish sides, by placing them side by side among the 10 greatest football clubs in the UK. Supporters of the move believe Celtic and Rangers, unlike their peers in England have been deprived of crucial resources and finances that could help them play successful in top flight European games. To put matters into perspective, Bleacherreport.com estimates that every season, Scottish clubs share a paltry £16 million, compared to television revenues amounting to £10 million that is paid for every Premier League fixture on the cards.
Recent statistics on football clubs net worth estimates that Celtic is worth about £79 million, while Rangers stands out as one of the most recognized football clubs in the world. This means the brand advantages Celtic and Rangers football clubs will bring to the Premier League will bode well for the two Scottish sides as well as the Premier League. Other notable voices, who have aired support for the idea of Celtic and Rangers joining the Premier League in the past, include Arsenal football club manager Arsene Wenger and the former Queens Park Rangers manager, Harry Redknapp. The idea to move the two Old Firm rivals to the English leagues was first mooted in 2009; however, the decision came to naught after it failed to garner support. The proposition regarding the inclusion of Celtic and Rangers was formally tabled by Bolton Wanderers chairman Phil Gartside. During the vote count, 14 English Premier League clubs voted against the decision to have Rangers and Celtic join the top English division.
Despite the failed decision, similar precedence has been set elsewhere. Case in point is the joint Belgium and Netherlands Women Football Division league that kicked off in 2012. It has also been argued that the English premier league in not strictly English; this is evident in the inclusion of Swansea City and Cardiff City from Wales a while back among the 20 Premier League member clubs. The riddle could, however, have a lot to do with history. For instance, Swansea City became a member of the Football League in 1920, while the two Old Firm clubs have always been part of the Scottish League since its inception. Desmond is optimistic that Rangers and Celtic will join the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal before 2025 in what he calls the “British Premiership”. He reiterates that his inevitable desire to have Rangers and Celtic in the Holy Grail in England will also bolster the pedigree of Scottish football.
Desmond’s sentiments were echoed by Celtic boss Ronny Deila. He however, argues that such a move will take a lot of time to come to fruition because things do not work quite as fast in Britain. Deila is, however, hopeful that Celtic will one day join the Premier League or a reorganized British League because his team would very much prefer to play in the best league. Rangers boss Mark Warburton also agrees that his club should join the leading English clubs in the Premier League in spite of the club’s current woes. Besides the much touted financial rewards, critics of the move to have Celtic and Rangers in the English Premier League question whether such a move will be in sync with the native fan base of the two Scottish clubs. Matters may prove even more complicated bearing in mind the fact that Celtic and Rangers are used to sharing the spoils in the Scottish league, while the same cannot be predicted after the changeover.
Others critics point, it would be better for the two clubs to boost their game in their traditional turf, rather than entertain a wild goose ambition that may end up hurting the clubs. In terms of accomplishments, Celtic Football Club is a well-established club in the Scottish league having won the Scottish Cup 36 times and the Scottish League Championship 46 times including the recent 2014 to 2015 league season. The good run has however, not been replicated in Europe, even though Celtic was the first British team to win the European Cup in the 1966/1967 campaign. Rangers Football Club, on the other hand, is the most successful football club in Scotland having won the Scottish league 54 times and the Scottish Cup 33 times. The club plays in the Scottish Championship after it was relegated from the top tier Scottish Professional Football League.
In the European scene, Rangers became the first British side to feature in the finals of the UEFA tournament. The club won the European Cup Winners Cup in 1972. Rangers and Celtic have played against each other 400 times, with Rangers having a clear lead over their bitter rivals Celtic when it comes to the number of wins. One of the most remarkable matches pitting the two clubs was the Scottish Cup final of 1969. The game was played at the Hampden Stadium in front of a record breaking crowd of 132,000 fans. The two highest scoring Old Firm players in the derby’s history are Jimmy McGrory of Celtic with 27 goals and R.C. Hamilton of Rangers with 35 goals.