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Please Ditch the Old Firm to English Football Talk for Good

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For years Celtic and Rangers fans have heard about a potential move to English Football, whether it is intimated by their own club directors, peddled by the Scottish media to sell a few more issues or proposed by the likes of Bolton chairman Phil Gartside. After the latest knock-back can we now put the idea to bed for good, Please!

As soon as Rangers entered administration last month, there was talk that Rangers could make the move down to the lower leagues of English football and just over the past week there was speculation that Celtic were in not-so-secret talks with the Football League to enter English football in League One.

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However, Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore believes that the Old Firm will never be allowed access to join the English top flight. Something which I am glad to hear and hope that this latest snub on top of all the other ones, finally gets through to the money men at both Celtic and Rangers that their place is in Scottish football nowhere else.

Scudamore said: "Our rules are simple. It says we're a league formed for clubs that play in England and Wales. I don't see that ever changing. I don't see that changing on my watch, not that my watch may last for long. There's more in it for them than there is for us."

In November 2009, after Bolton chairman Phil Gartside had proposed the Old Firm joining a two-tier Premier League, the EPL sides voted overwhelmingly against approving the plan.

The reason why the Old Firm are so hell bent on joining English football is money. Simple as that. The bottom clubs in the Premier League and even some clubs in the Championship earn significantly more money through TV revenue than the two Glasgow clubs.

English Football League chairman Greg Clarke commented on the Old Firm speculation, he said: "We have absolutely no intention of having any discussions with any club from another national league regarding membership of our competition.

"This would be highly disrespectful to the Scottish FA and Scottish Premier League and will not be countenanced by the Football League."

While fans of non-Old Firm clubs would welcome the departure of the Old Firm from Scottish football, the ugly sisters, as they are labelled by non-Old Firm fans, would also take the TV revenue, sponsorship and the crowds with them. A nightmare for the money men in Scottish football as many clubs in the SPL rely on the revenue brought in by Celtic and Rangers on match days, sponsorship and TV revenue.

The SPL recently signed an £80 million TV deal with Sky Sports and ESPN, but on the guarantee that the Old Firm are in the Scottish game and play four league games per season.

WIth the issue of Rangers in administration and facing the prospect of liquidation over debts owed to HMRC, that TV deal is at risk at any rate if Rangers go out of business or are relegated to the Third Division as punishment for breaching rules.

Despite their huge followings both at home and abroad - both clubs are cursed with the issue of sectarianism which would ultimately raise its ugly head in English football if such a move was made, something that the game down south does not need at this moment in time given their own problems with racism, football violence and homophobia.

One thing is clear though, both Celtic and Rangers are SCOTTISH football clubs, they were established in Glasgow and while there are examples of Welsh clubs playing in the English leagues, they started life in the English game not the Welsh leagues.

To make the move from the Scottish game to the English game, would not only destroy over a century of history at both clubs, but it would also prove that money is the sole objective of the powers-that-be at Celtic Park and at Ibrox rather than the silverware, the titles, the trophies, the honours and the bragging rights that the fans crave, year in, year out.

Rather than living in cloud cuckoo land, maybe, just maybe, the clubs should think about the fans rather than filling their wallets with as much money as they can. Ditch the idea of moving to the English leagues, concentrate on what is in front of you - playing in the Scottish Premier League.

If the money-men are so hell bent on getting into the English game let them take over a beleaguered club like Darlington, Port Vale or Portsmouth.

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