I’ve pretty much given up on Scottish domestic football – well they never came to see me when I was crap – it’s bad enough with England but watching teams that make Roy’s boys look like Barcelona is too much to ask.
So it’s funny that the club that are responsible for the dire state of the game in Jockland have finally destroyed themselves.
A couple weeks back I was talking about all this stuff to do with Rangers’ financial woes and said that they killed Scottish football back in 1986 and it’s all their fault because it lead directly to where they are now. Bizarrely an article appeared on Sabotage Times a few days later, so no I haven’t just ripped that off – honest guv.
Of course they had some help, namely from the Liverpool fans who went on the rampage in Brussels resulting in the death of 39 fans at European Cup final at Heysel Stadium in 1985.
After that English teams were banned from European competition for an indefinite period – would be for the rest of the decade and only fully lifted nearly half way into the 90s. So with no European football on offer the newly installed Rangers player/manager Graeme Souness had a nice juicy carrot to dangle in front of England’s top players. The only option, other than staying put, would be a move abroad and well for many who struggle with the English language one of them foreign ones would be asking quite a bit. Saying that it ain’t exactly the Queen’s English over Hadrian’s Wall.
But with that carrot plus the even juicier incentive of a blank cheque from new chairman David Murray plenty of them reversed the usual trend of British footballers moving south of the border. Rangers won the title that season – 86/87 – for the first time in nearly a decade and bar one slip up in 87/88 they would keep it for the next decade.
Since that first season under Souness no team outside the Old Firm has won the Scottish title – Rangers 17 times and Celtic 9 times – and the domestic game has died. Since 95/96 only one other side has even denied either of them a place in the top two – Hearts in 05/06 finishes second with Rangers 3rd.
Could have been oh so different if Aberdeen had just got that draw or better they needed on the last day of the 90/91 season at Ibrox, bloody Mark Hateley, bloody Mark Walters
While, bar a run each to the UEFA Cup final from both Glasgow teams, the European outings have been laughable.
But before the revolution Aberdeen had been winning the title, Dundee United won it, the “New Firm” were on the up. They even looked the part on the continent, Aberdeen defeating Real Madrid to win the Cup Winner’s Cup. United getting past Barcelona 3-1 to reach the UEFA Cup final where I don’t know how they lost to IFK Göteborg.
Aberdeen kept it up somewhat during the early period of Rangers domination, finishing second a number of times but this was mainly due to Celtic’s own implosion when they were moments from going under trying to compete financially with their bitter rivals.
All the teams tried to compete but none of them really could and most nearly went over the edge splashing the cash. Rangers were out spending the lot. The problem being that 92/93 first season of the Champions League where they beat the last English champions before the introduction of the Premiership/Premier League, Leeds United. Leeds were pretty woeful that season finish just above the relegation places without a single away win I seem to recall. So beating them counted for nothing more than usual Scottish inferiority bragging rights. This was followed by the thought that with them finishing second in the group, the winner of which would go to the final, they’d effectively reached the semi and the good times were here.
Unfortunately even though more and more money was splashed on more big names, they would be an embarrassment and a new revolution was taking place south of the border which they thought they could compete with. But with the billions pumped into the Premier League as it became the biggest league in the world, money wise, the financial rewards in Scotland just weren’t there. TV didn’t want to pay for a dying uncompetitive, two team, product. While the Premier League are talking billions, £3.018 billion over 3 years, the SPL is talking millions, £80m over 5 years.
But the money kept being spent and now Rangers are a new company and enough of the SPL don’t want them back in the league. Which makes you ask what are these teams going to do for money now? Will broadcasters want a one team league. The money seems to break down for the other teams in the league in thirds. One third from games against Celtic, one third against Rangers and one third the rest of them.
Will Rangers’ expulsion turn round Scottish football or is it just the dying days of a game with no hope or real future?
What for Rangers? Well the bloke I was talking to way back at the beginning of this post said if he was in charge he would be shopping round to join a league in England. He said no matter how far down you went in the English leagues, even none league, it would still be higher up than any of the possibilities north of the border. And the pot at the end of the rainbow is a hell of a lot bigger.
Now I don’t know if that’s even possible but by christ it wouldn’t half put Celtic’s nose out of joint if a few years from now Rangers were in the English second flight aiming for promotion to the Premier League all through their financial incompetence and destruction of the Scottish game.