Old Firm To Face Royals Next Year?

Last updated : 12 May 2002 By Rob Cooper
One of the First Division Clubs is allegedly set to invite the Old Firm to play in the First Division next season. The idea will then be put to the 72 Football League Chairman on Friday who will vote on weather to allow the Glasgow Giants to move South of the border.

Should it get to that stage a resounding "YES" is expected partly down to the current financial state of many Football League clubs. Having two massive clubs in the league would surely raise the profile of the league.

However, The SFA and the English FA are likely to be sceptical. FIFA and UEFA have in the past said that they would be against the Old Firm moving south of the border, and they would have the power to stop the move.

Bradford City Chairman Geoffery Richmond told the Scottish Daily Mail "There has been no approach by either Rangers or Celtic to the Nationwide League."

"The Premiership made it clear they weren't interested in the Old Firm in December. The only way Celtic and Rangers can get there, therefore, is via the Football League."

"I have no doubt that the vast majority of the chairmen here would welcome Celtic and Rangers, for obvious reasons."

"It would have to be approved by both the SPL and SFA. But, after yesterday's events, I imagine that would now be forthcoming. With their support then I can't see any opposition coming either the Football League or even Uefa."

However, David Burns told Radio Five that the move will not happen "The story is absolute rubbish. Thursday is a regular meeting. Celtic and Rangers are not on the agenda and we will not be putting them on the agenda."

"Celtic and Rangers are the two biggest sides in Scotland, so should we say that moving Arsenal and Manchester United to the Spanish League would give that competition a boost?"

The SPL currently do not have a TV deal for next season after Rangers and Celtic used their veto to block it. Angry at their decision the other eight SPL teams have handed in their notice and will quit the league in two years time. The Football League's future has been plunged into doubt, there has been much talk of the First Division breaking away from leagues two and three, as well as the possibility of a Premiership Two.

There has also been speculation that if the Old Firm were to head south then in order to accomodate them two teams would have to be relegated to Division Two in order to keep the current format of just twenty-four teams in Division One. Newly promoted Reading and Stoke would surely be the favourites to play in Division Two next year.