Gulf In Class ( A Rant About Scottish Football)

The gulf in class between English and Scottish football has once again been demonstrated in the past two weeks.

This gap in terms of, wealth, quality of football and average attendances just continues to grow at an alarming rate. Well only alarming if you support a Scottish side. Of course Sky’s influence in the English game has seriously accelerated the growth of English football due to the ridiculous money it pays in TV rights to topflight clubs. Therefore it is harsh to seriously expect Scottish club sides to keep up with the likes of  Manchester City with their cash rich, Arab owners but surely teams the size of Celtic and Rangers should be able to at least match the Stoke’s of this world?

Sadly this is not the case, and it has become impossible for even the most deluded Old Firm fan (including myself) to argue otherwise. The evidence is horrifying for fans of Scottish football. While Stoke do play in the Premiership, they don’t have huge financial muscle of the top 6 or 7 teams and certainly do not have the tradition of the Old firm. However they still gain more money in television rights due to the league’s bumper deal with sky than either Rangers or Celtic could dream of. This article only demonstrates the poor financial situation the old firm find themselves in:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-14907874

While the article highlights the desperate situation Rangers find themselves in, it  also briefly mentions that other Scottish sides may be in financial peril. Celtic are the only side in the league who have a good looking balance sheet, but they are very cautious in spending money in case they find themselves in the same trouble, despite the fact they have a billionaire shareholder in Dermot Desmond.

In years gone by, I would have expected an Old Firm victory if either of Glasgow’s big two were to play Stoke but there is no case to say this would happen now. Only last week Stoke managed to hold Dynamo Kiev to a draw out in the Ukraine. In footballing terms this is a decent result but one that the Scottish sides most likely wouldn’t match. Celtic did also have a game in the Europa League on the same night; a defeat by an Atletico Madrid side who didn’t break sweat. While most teams would struggle against Madrid, the fact is that Celtic were only playing by default. Like the Rangers players, they should have been at home that evening as they technically didn’t qualify. As Rangers crashed out in the Europa league qualifying stage to Maribor of Slovenia, Celtic went down to Swiss minnows, Fc Sion. Celtic only progressed due to Sion breaking UEFA rules and the Swiss side therefore were expelled from the competition. Celtic’s luck was in, however the Sion result shows that they really weren’t good enough to take part.

Stoke’s result against quality opposition indicates just how far the Old Firm have fallen. A team that was only promoted a few years ago, and arguably have fewer resources than Celtic, are now out performing Scotland’s big two in Europe. Supporters have realised the quality on offer in Scotland isn’t really worth the admission fee with crowds at games dwindling. Many prefer to sit at home, or go the pub to get their weekly football intake as the quality of football shown on Sky often far exceeds that of their local game and is often much cheaper than forking out for a ticket.

In my opinion today was the perfect example of the chasm between the Premiership and the SPL. While a Scottish stadium was for once full for the Old Firm derby, the quality of football never came close to matching that of the two English games that followed on Sky Sports. Sure there is the (sometimes unpleasant) passion in the Old Firm game that no other can match but the two teams just don’t produce the same technical quality that was in both the Tottenham vs. Liverpool game and, the Man Utd vs. Chelsea game. I think today’s games finally proved that there is a lack of value in Scottish football and personally I believe if the people in charge at the SFA really cared about the game, they will act soon to try and close the gap.

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2 Responses

  1. Promise this will be my only football article!!!

  2. Good article mate. I won’t be making promises about non-football articles though 😛

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