Scottish Failures.

November 6, 2009

While life is largely constructed of a series of unpredictable events, we all need our certainties. We need to know, for example, that Monday is always preceded by Sunday and that the TV on Saturday night will be crap. Another one of life’s necessary certainties is that the Scottish clubs will perform dismally in Europe.

Rangers are currently propping up Group G, behind such Euro-powerhouses like Unirea Urziceni (no, me neither) and Celtic are languishing at the wrong end of Group C of the Europa League, let’s be honest, results are what matter, not performances.

Elsewhere in this rather fantastic blog, Mike McKenna eloquently discusses Hamburg and their investment of £12 million on the young forward Marcus Berg, for the apparent purpose of warming their bench. Mike then bemoans the lack of comparative investment in Celtic’s own squad, to a degree, Mike is absolutely correct in this. According to American money magazine, Forbes, Celtics’ revenue for 2009, so far, stands at $145 million (£87 million). Not a small amount of money, but Hamburg’s revenue currently stands at $202 million (£122 Million). 

However, to point the finger at a lack of investment is slightly avoiding the real reason why Scottish clubs fail to perform at the highest levels. The real reason that Scottish clubs bomb in Europe is because of the lack of competition in their domestic league.  Maybe it’s the case that us Sassenachs were spoiled down here with a “Big Four”, at least it’s twice as good as a “Big Two”, and with the mega-bucks of Manchester City, we may even see a “Big Five” down here, great stuff.

Of course, there’s none of that kind of drama up in Haggis-land. Our Scottish friends happily watch the likes of Georgios Samaras and Kenny Miller (12 Premiership goals between them) and they tolerate the bizarre Glasgow “cartel” that has seen the Scottish title dominated by the Glasgow clubs for the last 23 years. Sadly, as they play in Europe and get smashed most seasons, they’ll fail to attract the best players and they’ll continue to get beaten. It’s a vicious circle that’ll see the “Old Firm” clubs move down to the Premiership eventually.

It’s the best thing for them, they can compete on a genuine world stage in a genuinely competitive league. And who knows, maybe Celtic fans might be able to stop dining out on 1967 and Rangers fans might be able to celebrate winning something other than another Mickey Mouse league title.

But don’t count on that happening soon

Hi folks. Apologies for the gap in time since my last post, I’ve had a dissertation to finish and I’ve taken the dogs up north for a holiday. Which was fun. Anyway, back to the important stuff.

Much has happened since my last post, including Sol Campbell signing for- and promptly leaving- the mighty Notts County. Arsene Wenger proved the big clubs are more important than the integrity of the game when he forced UEFA to climbdown on Eduardo’s diving challenge, and the red nosed monster Fergie has slated the fitness of referees in a fairly unjustified attack on the men in black.

However, over the last couple of days the story which has caught my eye is the idea of the Old Firm moving south again, so that’s where I’ll start.

Firstly, yes I know I’m an Old Firm fan so straight away you may think I’m blinkered viweing this. I’ll take that point on board, but I firmly believe that Celtic and Rangers leaving would be good for Scottish football as a whole, not just the Old Firm.

Let’s look at the evidence. No team outside the Old Firm has won the Scottish championship since Aberdeen in 1984-85. That is a shocking state of play by anybody’s standards. A common argument is that the Old Firm are needed for commercial reasons, and without the Old Firm clubs won’t sell out their grounds. I think that idea is scaremongering at it’s worst, and Mr Thompson’s latest attack on the Old Firm shows a lack of creative thought on his part.

Right now, clubs like Aberdeen may sell out their ground 4 times a year when the Old Firm come to town. However, with the Old Firm gone they suddenly are in with a shout at the title and Champions League football. Fans want to see title winning sides, so within a few weeks, the gates on ‘average’ games against Falkirk and the like start to rocket. Next thing you know, every week is a sell out as the club chase the title. And this argument can be transfered to most SPL sides.

Within a few months, most grounds in the country are selling out, and interest in the game is restored. This in turn leads to businesses wanting to invest again, and commercial revenue picks up. We’d then have clubs like Hibs and Dundee United chasing Champions League spots, which would breathe a massive kiss of life into the club game, and hopefully the national game too.

As for the Old Firm, they then get their wish of going to England. Everybody is happy. Well, other than some of the English, who aren’t interested in the clubs, but that’s another debate entirely.

Let me know what you think, and please tell me who you support in your comment. I’ll do my best to respond to them all.