RIP The Old Firm (1888-2012)

Rangers FC, the most successful football club in the world with 54 league titles, does not exist anymore.

Some have described it as the fall of a giant, but to me it is far more than the fall of a massive club. In general I don’t like to see great institutions of football go down, and well, practically cease to exist. I was depressed when West Ham went down,  hurt when Newcastle fell, and absolutely devastated when Juventus were relegated – but somehow I never worried for any of them, I always knew they would come back. One reason for this is that they still had the money and in some of those cases, big names decided to stick on with the club. The fall of Rangers FC worries me, for they do not have players (and are not allowed to sign new ones), do not have money and for all practical purposes have been disolved and will start afresh as a new club.

Needless to say this is very very bad for Rangers – but what should really worry football fans all over is that this is going the hurt Scottish football. The Scottish teams recently voted the Rangers out of the league by an overwhelming 10-1 majority. A very bad decision, if you ask me. The Scottish league is often called ‘boring’ because the same two teams keep winning over and over – the last time a team outside the Old Firm won was close to 30 years ago when Alex Fergusson led Aberdeen to the title in 1984 – but surely, it will be far far more boring to see one team win over and over. They might as well just give Celtic the title for the next 10 years – why bother even running the league? Lets face it, no team has come close to breaking the Old Firm dominance in Scottish football and no club will in the coming years. So with the league even more boring, how do the Scottish teams expect to raise money – a large chunk of which comes from broadcasting rights? And what about the massive amounts of money generated in ticket sales thanks to the large travelling contingent of the Rangers faithful?

The Scottish teams clearly have not thought through this decision and sometimes I wonder if the vote out was really about ‘fair play’ or simply about less competition in the league.

Agreed that Rangers, had players on salaries more than they could afford – but surely not allowing them to sign players and putting a cap on salary expense would have been enough – throwing out of the league? Ridiculous.

Football has always been arguably the strongest binding factor for people in that part of the world – and the supporters will rally and stand by their club. Rangers are too big to simply die – they will survive. One way or another. Can the same be said about the Scottish league?

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