Monday, 25 June 2012

Et tu Brute? Rangers to be Demoted by their Scottish Premier League Foes

The world's most decorated football team is to be sensationally and humiliatingly demoted from its home of 122 years by its own Scottish Premier League rivals.

The disbelieving saga of Rangers' financial turmoil has today taken a severe turn for the worse as Aberdeen, St Johnstone and Inverness Caledonian Thistle joined the voices of Hearts, Dundee United and Hibernian by declaring that they will veto Rangers' application to be re-admitted to the Scottish Premier League as a new company.

This means that the 8-4 majority required can not be achieved with 6 clubs having now already publically stated their opposition to the new Rangers company's re-inclusion in Scotland's top flight.

A Proud History
Formed in 1872, Rangers were one of the 10 original members of the Scottish Football League and have won a world record 115 trophies including a world-record 54 domestic league championships - their last being in 2011. They have won 33 Scottish Cups, 27 Scottish League Cups and won the 1972 European Cup Winners' Cup.

Quite incredibly, they have only had 13 managers throughout this long and proud period of history.

An Uncertain Future for Rangers & Scottish Football
Despite having never played outside of Scotland's top footballing tier, they now face an uncertain future as the official vote on July 4th will formally require their replacement with either relegated Dunfermline or First Division Runners-Up Dundee.

Following the official confirmation of their refused application on 4th July, they will then need to apply to play in the Scottish Football League. Presuming that this is accepted, it will conceivably mean their demotion to the Scottish Third Division - Scotland's Fourth footballing tier.

It is likely to mean that the world's most successful league club with its iconic Ibrox home, could well be playing host next season to the likes of Montrose, Peterhead, East Stirling, Clyde and Annan Athletic.

But what of those still playing in the Scottish Premier League? The loss of such a great iconic, economic draw is going to hit their coffers badly. Celtic, Kilmarnock, Motherwell, Ross County and St Mirren have yet to announce how they would vote and for Celtic, this news would presumably cement their dominance of Scottish football for some years to come.

But there's no hiding from the negative conotations of this move.

As this BBC article states, Inverness' chairman Kenny Cameron has said: "Financially, we examined the various scenarios and, frankly, none of them were positive for our club. It is extremely disappointing to be adversely affected by something not of our doing".

St Johnstone added: "The board believes that sporting integrity should not be sacrificed in favour of economic expediency".

Hibernian added: "The board is also acutely aware that in making this decision, Hibernian - like other clubs in the SPL - will suffer collateral financial damage at a time of severe economic hardship and uncertainty".

There's no question that the decision being taken by some of Scotland's longest standing clubs against their greatest foe will have repercussions but they all feel, quite rightly in my opinion, that there is a greater issue at stake here.

As Hibernian stated: "This reaffirms the view of the board that the sporting integrity of the SPL is of paramount importance".

As St Johnstone added: "It is important that a clear and unambiguous message goes out from the custodians of Scottish football that this sort of scenario should never be allowed to happen again".

Well, quite.

Rangers' financial turmoil is a sporting tragedy and beyond that, a tragedy for their fierce community of fans.

But pride comes before the fall and even this sporting historian can not over rule the current financial mess in favour of an illustrious history.

In the final analysis, the Scottish Premier League 6 who have made their intentions for that 4th July meeting loud and clear in recent days have made the only moral choice available to them.

Good luck to Rangers in their new identity and in their new home, wherever that will be. Good luck to the remaining members of a very different Scottish Premier League.

Scottish football is about to experience the greatest shock to the nature of its very being in its 120 year+ history. Good luck all involved in the uncertain years ahead.


  1. But just think of the two revenue rich days that most of the lower league teams will benefit from in future seasons. They say one cup ties against a big club can really help a struggling team, here are two guaranteed. A far better distribution of wealth than the Self Preservation League has ever managed for the SFL.

  2. Plus it is possibly for a newco to survive a drop to Division 3 and rise once again to where it was before, I speak as a Livingston fan after an equally cavalier owner.

  3. Quite right Stephen. It is the financial flip side. If the SPL lose out on the Rangers pull, then at least some of those lower down the ladder can benefit from it.