Scottish Football at its very core spoke
on Friday with the almost unanimous decision that Rangers FC must pay for their sins and be demoted to the
bottom tier of professional football in the country.
For weeks football fans, including
Rangers fans, across our great nation have been commenting on and giving their
general opinions of how the Rangers situation should be handled. Friday 13th
July marked the day that football supporters’ feelings were eventually listened
to and accepted as the correct course of action.
In a meeting at Hampden Park between the
SFL chairmen, 29 of the 30 agreed to allow the new Rangers into the Scottish
Football Leagues. Then 25 of the 30 agreed that the correct place for them to
start participating was indeed the Third Division and not the First as had been
hoped by both the SPL and SFA.
This is a move that Rangers manager Ally
McCoist had asked for. It’s the move that most Rangers supporters had also
asked for. It’s the move that most, if not all, supporters from every Scottish
Football League had been demanding for since it was announced that the decision
would rest on their club chairmen’s shoulders since the SPL washed their hands of
the whole situation by not allowing Rangers to transfer the SPL registration
spot to the newco.
Ally McCoist spoke publicly afterwards
“I fully accept the decision of the SFL today and
thank them for allowing us into the SFL.
“Clearly, starting again from the bottom league
is not ideal and makes the task of rebuilding Rangers a longer one but the SFL
was placed in an impossible situation and I respect its decision.
“I fully supported the fans views that starting
again in Division 3 maintains the sporting integrity that the SPL clubs were so
“The SPL clubs and the SFA have made their
positions clear over the last few weeks and it remains to be seen what the
long-term effects of their decisions will be.
“Rangers has been severely punished for the
actions of some individuals who previously ran the club and it will take time
for us to recover but we will come back stronger thanks to the loyalty of the
fans and the commitment of everyone at Ibrox who are working tirelessly to
bring stability and success back to Rangers.
“I will be carefully monitoring events and
reactions over the new few days and will be making further comments probably
early next week.”
With Rangers being demoted, it now opens up
a spot for others to get promoted into open spots in SPL, Div 1 & Div 2. A
decision on that has yet to be taken.
what now for SPL?
It appears that SKY & ESPN have yet to
make a decision over their TV deal they have with SPL and if, as expected, they
pull out, it could spell financial disaster for some of the top flight teams.
The loss of Rangers from the top flight
could also affect current sponsorship deals at the SPL clubs and the SPL as an
organization. Again, this could spell a financial meltdown at several SPL clubs.
There has also been speculation that a
number of SPL clubs, the SFA, and the SPL themselves holding secret talks to try
and hastily arrange an SPL2 where they would invite 9 other SFL Division 1
clubs to join Rangers in setting up this new league.
Any truth to this rumour seems speculative
and until there is any hard evidence to back this up, it is surely rumour mills
trying to continue this Rangers story with further mileage where none exists.
The SPL’s loss could ultimately benefit the
SFL clubs as a collective group.
TV companies may be willing to shell out
for coverage of Rangers matches with the cash being split between all the clubs
involved. More sponsors may be brought on board by Rangers opponents in the
coming seasons, therefore generating much needed cash at the lower echelons of
Scottish Football. More merchandise will be sold on game days when Rangers are
visiting. More hospitality boxes will be sold when Rangers are visiting. And
ultimately more supporters will turn up to home games when Rangers are on the
road around Scotland, giving the smaller clubs revenue that they have never
seen before. Expect full houses wherever Rangers are playing.
It may also allow many so called Rangers
fans to start getting out to support their local teams instead of following
Rangers to the four corners of the country, as many glory hunters will leave
the sunken ship in search of pastures new.
This could be a win-win for the smaller
clubs as whether Rangers play in the SPL or Division 3, huge crowds
follow and beginning at the bottom could ultimately save Scottish Football and
not destroy it as many soothsayers have predicted.
There can be no doubt that Rangers deserve
this punishment, but it’s up to the clubs to adjust accordingly. From the SPL to
the SFL, the decision has been made and they must move on. After all, the SFL
kicks off in two weeks’ time and everyone, including Rangers, must start planning
Talk of a late re-emergence of the SPL2 is
futile and stinks of a bunch of power brokers in the PSL & SFA struggling
to come to terms with the decision that was taken out of their hands by a bunch
of chairmen strong enough to do exactly as their own fans had wanted them to do
and they acted accordingly.
This situation could have ended with league
re-structure if approached when the whole problem raised its ugly head, but
small minds failed to grasp the huge impact remaining silent would cause.
On Saturday 14th July, Rangers
found themselves outside of the top flight of Scottish football for the first
time in their long illustrious history but they’ll survive and so will Scottish
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