Guest Blog by Ryan McGinlay (@NewsOfCeltic and @ryanmcginlayy):
Watching my beloved Glasgow Celtic recently has become much more of a chore than it ever has been before. With Rangers out of contention for this season, we are expected to win the Scottish Premiership for the fifth year in a row in a bit of a canter. Yes, the emergence of Aberdeen as a possible title contender has been a wake-up call in a sense but do they really have the resources to compete with us? This brings about the question of whether or not there is a potential for us playing on a bigger stage: The Barclays Premier League.
In my opinion, Celtic would bring about far more positives than negatives in terms of what they would add to the already prestigious line-up of teams in the league such as Chelsea, Arsenal, the two Manchester giants, and of course the emerging teams such as Tottenham and Leicester. Yes, our reputation you could say has been tarnished over the past couple of years with fan trouble in domestic and international competition but in terms of stature I feel that we would be a welcoming fit in the BPL.
If Celtic were to go into the English Premier League in the near future, it would totally revitalise and rejuvenate the Parkhead faithful. It is no secret that our crowds are decreasing year upon year but if we were in an exciting and dynamic league brimming with top talent then this wouldn’t be a problem! No disrespect to teams such as Motherwell and Kilmarnock, but who would punters be more inclined to watch their team come up against: them or European heavyweights like Liverpool or Manchester United? There is no comparison.
The answer is clear for all to see not just in a competitive sense but financially as well. With the new television deal set to come into play next season, English teams will become even more powerful in the transfer market while we’re left languishing on the scraps that the big boys leave us. We find ourselves in the mind-blowing times where teams such as Bournemouth, Norwich and Watford can spend more cash on one player than we can all season. An example of this would be AFC Bournemouth’s recent signing of Arsenal reject Benik Afobe, who was seen as a ‘steal’ at £10 million, while my team is always looking to buy potential rather than forking out the cash for proven talent. There is simply no need to, as we are overwhelming favourites to win the league every year with the squad we have when compared to the other teams. Competition is needed.
It’s a move which I feel that would be definitely supported by our fans and by emerging teams such as Hearts and Aberdeen, who would have a far bigger chance of winning the Scottish league if we were gone. The people who would probably not support this monumental move would be the higher order in charge of the Scottish league as I’m sure they would not want to lose one of their biggest sources of revenue to their arch-rivals down south who are outperforming them on every front. Of course, it would be damaging to the league in a financial sense but in terms of long-term ambitions in sustaining our 128-year history then this move could prove pivotal to that.
In terms of who would be our main rivals in the Premier League, the obvious one would be Chelsea. The Blues are known for being friendly with our arch-rivals Rangers and our fans famously just don’t get on with friends of the other side of Glasgow. Another rivalry would between us and Manchester United, due to the Scottish links such as Denis Law and more famously the main man himself, Sir Alex Ferguson, not to mention former Celt David Moyes and his infamous tenure as the Red Devils’ manager.
Realistically, I think our aim position-wise would be to firstly establish ourselves in the league and possibly look for success in the cup competitions like the FA Cup. From then on we should look up rather than down the table. In order to do this, we would probably need to change our management to one which is experienced at this level. My personal pick would be former Porto, Chelsea and Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas, currently managing Zenit Saint Petersburg. Yes, he got sacked by both Spurs and Chelsea but give him time and he will emulate the huge success he achieved at FC Porto. Other realistic candidates in my view would be Brendan Rodgers and of course David Moyes, who used to play for the Hoops.
All in all, I hope that in time my team will be playing in the English Premier League or that a merge of Scotland and England’s league merge together to create a British league, along with Wales and Ireland. It would maximise profits for both the businessmen and for all clubs rather than restricting the big bucks to teams down south and would make for some great new rivalries, as well as rekindling old ones.