Celtic in Trouble

According to this interview over at ESPN, former Celtic (no, not those Celtics) standout Billy McNiell is worried that his former side just can’t compete anymore in Europe. He argued that “no Celtic manager in the modern era has had the resources to genuinely compete at European level and I don’t see that changing in the near future. We all know about the fantastic support around the world for the club, but it won’t count for anything as long as the current financial set-up is in place.”

Indeed, with a population of just over 5 million (and falling!), it’s hard to imagine how Scotland can support an entire domestic league of even twelve teams and expect its best to go head to head against even mid-level sides from Germany (82.4 million people), France (60.4), Italy (58), or even England (49.2). The money just isn’t going to be there for them to buy the top talent from Europe, the US, and South America. McNeill suggested that in order for Celtic (and, presumably, their Old Firm rivals Rangers) to survive they need to move to another league. However, as he rightly noted, “the Premiership would be the obvious choice, but I don’t see the English clubs welcoming Celtic and Rangers into their set-up in the near future.”

What’s a side to do?

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8 thoughts on “Celtic in Trouble

  1. I think a) there should be a drastic, wholesale merger of the Scottish and English leagues, and b) there should be a UK national team. Hardly anyone supports this, but I think it would help not only British football, but also heal the silly English-Scottish rift that has been going on too long (like since the Battle of Culloden). 

    <><><><>Posted by<><> <><>< HREF="http://www.blogger.com/r?headlife.blogspot.com" TITLE="ronan at jhu dot edu">Ronan<>

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  2. Yeah, merging the leagues would be great. And I also always wondered why Scotland, for instance, even wanted to have their own national team. Seems like they (or Wales, for that matter) will never stand a chance at the World Cup. Why not combine the resources of the whole country to field a better team? Perhaps UK jerseys would have a small English, Scottish, etc. flag on the arm or something to mark each player’s affilitation… 

    <><><><>Posted by<><> <><>Lance

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  3. Yes to merging leagues – although as for a national team – Scots and Welsh would rarely get any of their players on a national team, so they’d never go for it! 

    <><><><>Posted by<><> <><>< HREF="http://www.blogger.com/r?http%3A%2F%2Fheadlife.blogspot.com%2Funitedbrethren" TITLE="">Rebecca<>

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  4. Maybe, Becky, but in the long run I’d wager it’s better. Looking at the Scottish roster now (http://www.scottishfa.co.uk/squad/index.htm), I see that several of them play in the EPL (including 2 at Everton and one at ManU) or for one of the Old Firm teams. If the UK merged, you’d have fewer Scots at first getting caps, but you’d also get a much better allotment of resources in which to develop younger guys into talented players. Maybe. After awhile, I expect you’d see about 10% of a UK team to be made up of Scots. Not too bad, and then you’d get to root for a squad that stood a real chance at going to the World Cup! 

    <><><><>Posted by<><> <><>Lance

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  5. And occasionally you get a real gem who is otherwise wasted: Ryan Giggs (Wales), George Best (N.Ireland), and dlqwhdkwbhdf (Scotland!!) 

    <><><><>Posted by<><> <><>< HREF="http://www.blogger.com/r?headlife.blogspot.com" TITLE="ronan at jhu dot edu">Ronan<>

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  6. I couldn’t think of a world-class Scottish footballer! Maybe Kenny Dalglish. 

    <><><><>Posted by<><> <><>< HREF="http://www.blogger.com/r?headlife.blogspot.com" TITLE="ronan at jhu dot edu">Ronan<>

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  7. At a website that notes people in the Scottish football Hall of Fame, it says of Daglish:

    “[He] is widely-regarded as the greatest British player of his generation.”

    My _World Encyclopedia of Soccer_ (by Tom MacDonald, pub in 2001) lists several Scots in its “A to Z Great Players” section:

    Jim Baxter, Daglish, Alan Hansen, Alex James, Jimmy Johnstone, Denis Law, McNeill, and Graeme Souness.

    Some of the above might not be household names or have gotten votes for FIFA’s player of the year, but doubtless would have made England’s side better, no? 

    <><><><>Posted by<><> <><>Lance

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