The world's most-read Scottish politics website

Wings Over Scotland

Why Scotland doesn’t need Rangers

Posted on February 15, 2012 by

Scottish politics seems to be having a wee holiday this week. The First Minister has a little chat with the Scottish Secretary over the referendum, deciding nothing, the Unionists demand “answers” to questions on a completely different subject, Jim Sillars witters on about something or other in yet another bitter rage about how well the SNP’s doing without him, and the Scotsman quietly admits that some of its previous scare stories (this time the ones about Scottish membership of the EU) were cobblers and hopes nobody notices. In other words, business as usual.

The reason everyone’s putting out a skeleton service operating on auto-pilot is, of course, that they’re all transfixed with the goings-on at Ibrox. And rightly so, because it’s an enormous story which reaches out and touches the entire population in a way that politics almost never does.

For fans of Rangers, their entire world has fallen in. For fans of other clubs it’s either hilarious, or a time for rising above petty rivalries and showing solidarity with their fellow supporters, ie it’s secretly hilarious. For Rangers employees it’s a worry, for battered wives, social services and hard-pressed A&E staff it’s a blessing and for booze retailers it’s a catastrophe.

We also can’t ignore the possible political consequences. For decades Rangers FC has served as a weekly indoctrination service for the defenders of the Union – you can’t spend a large proportion of your leisure time waving Union Jacks and singing “Rule Britannia” with thousands of fellow loyal subjects of Her Majesty (she of the Revenue and Customs) without it having some sort of effect on your worldview.

But for the media, which for months on end has largely turned a blind eye to the scale of Rangers’ problems and left the blogosphere to pick up the slack, it’s a time of panic. If Rangers fall they’ll probably take half the circulation (and pagecount) of the Daily Record with them, and the tabloid media in general is desperate for the club to survive in something as close to its present form as possible.

So the story, told loudly and relentlessly, is that Scottish football couldn’t live by Celtic alone. Rangers, it’s insisted over and over, are vital to the continued health – nay, the very survival – of the domestic game.

Their friendly, loveable fans, we hear, are the lifeblood of every other club in the league as they turn up twice a season to swell the stands and consume the Scotch pies and Bovril that pay the wages of the home side’s gangly centre-half. The TV riches that pour into SPL coffers would vanish too, without the juicy prize of four Old Firm games a year to tempt Sky into opening their gold-plated chequebook. All in all, take Rangers away and you might as well padlock the turnstiles from Inverness Caley Thistle to Queen Of The South and call it a day.

But is it true? No. It’s a load of balls.

This blog loves nothing more than a good delve in some stats, so we’ve been wading waist-deep in them this week. And the conclusion we’ve reached is that the collapse of Rangers would in all probability be the best thing to happen to Scottish football this century. Along with its Parkhead twin, the club is a giant vampire squid choking the Scottish game to death, and history strongly suggests that Scottish football can ONLY flourish if one or both of the Gruesome Twosome is in poor health.

Firstly, let’s look at some of the myths.

We’re told that the smaller clubs need the influx of cash generated by home games against the Old Firm every year. But how much is that really worth? Under the current SPL structure, there’s no guaranteed number of such fixtures each season. Aberdeen, for example, got just three last year (two against Rangers, one against Celtic), because they were in the bottom six of the league at the time of the “split”.

In season 2010/11, the Dons had an average attendance at Pittodrie of just under 9,000. For the three Old Firm games, the average attendance was 13,378. That’s 4,504 extra punters through the gates per match, or a total for the season of 13,512. In other words, having Rangers and Celtic come to visit was effectively worth the equivalent of about 1.5 extra home games a year. (1.52, if you want to be picky.)

Now, for a club on a tight budget like Aberdeen, 1.5 extra home games a season is a handy bit of cash. If we assume that the average spectator spends £40 on their ticket, programme, refreshments and whatnot, it’s over half a million quid in (gross) revenue.

But it’s not the difference between life and death. It could be achieved just as easily by an extended cup run or qualification for Europe – things which are significantly more likely to happen if you take one or both of the Old Firm out of the picture.

Indeed, just a modest amount of progress in Europe can effortlessly eclipse a season’s worth of Rangers and Celtic ties. In season 2007/08 Aberdeen reached the last 32 of the Europa League, which is very much the poor relation of UEFA’s club competitions compared to the cash cow of the Champions’ League. Getting to the last 32 of it isn’t exactly spectacular success, but it nevertheless brought the Dons four extra home games that season, which drew a total of 74,767 paying customers.

Alert viewers will have noticed that even this humble adventure was therefore worth almost SIX TIMES as much to the Pittodrie club as an entire season of Old Firm fixtures, and that’s before you factor in the considerable matter of extra TV money and participation bonuses, surely boosting that multiplier to 10 or more.

(It’s perhaps also worth noting that even the first-round first-leg tie against the unglamorous FC Dnipro of Ukraine attracted a larger crowd than any of 2010/11’s games against Rangers or Celtic, despite having thousands fewer away fans.)

From this we can see that if a team like Aberdeen qualified for Europe just fractionally more often, as a result of the demise of one or both of the Old Firm making places more easily attainable – maybe once every five or six years – the rewards could easily eclipse the losses. But there’s more to it than that, because the Europa League jaunt had a knock-on effect on domestic attendances too.

When Hearts came to Pittodrie in the middle of the Europa run, the gate was 14,000. The corresponding fixture in 2010/11, around the same time of year, saw just 9,100 show up. In other words, a tiny glimpse of success saw attendance over 50% higher – exactly the sort of boost delivered in a normal season by the visits of the Old Firm.

Even two months after the Dons were knocked out of the tournament by Bayern Munich, a home game against Falkirk could pull a crowd of 11,484 – a comparable late-season match (vs Hibernian) in 2010/11 managed just 7,400.

Of course, you could argue that the higher attendances in 2007/08 were a result of a better season in general (Aberdeen finished 4th that year, compared to 9th in 2011). But then, that’s the point – fans are much more likely to turn up to watch games in a competition where their team has a fighting chance of achieving something than in a league where they’re just making up the numbers. Take one or both of the Old Firm out of the league and you instantly make it far more competitive, which makes it far more exciting, which makes it far more attractive for people to come and watch.

This isn’t just an idle theory. Within living memory, Scottish football has actually experienced an extended period where one or other of the Old Firm was in dire straits, and the result was a far more competitive league with substantially bigger attendances for the non-OF clubs. While this era is often dismissed as a brief Alex-Ferguson-inspired flicker in the mid-80s, it in fact lasted for almost 20 years.

The first phase was around the creation of the old Scottish Premier Division, running from the tail end of the 1970s and right through the 1980s, before David Murray and his bottomless wallet turned up at Ibrox around the turn of the decade. Rangers were in a woeful state at the time, winning the league just once in a 10-season spell between 1979 and 1988, and with crowds at Ibrox regularly dropping below 10,000.

(One 1979 league game against Partick Thistle brought fewer than 2,000 loyal Gers fans to the stadium, and no, that’s not a typo – we really mean TWO thousand.)

But it wasn’t just Celtic who took advantage – in four of the other nine seasons of that decade the league title went to the smaller clubs (Aberdeen three times, Dundee Utd once), and it would have been five if not for the most infamous last-day implosion in Scottish football history robbing Hearts of the 1985/86 flag.

In other words, in a 10-team division fully 50% of the participants were mounting realistic challenges for the title – a feat probably never replicated anywhere else in the world in the history of football. The Scottish Premier Division was almost certainly the most competitive club league on the face of the planet, and such a healthy state of affairs was reflected on the broader stage.

Aberdeen won the European Cup-Winners’ Cup (with an all-Scottish team) in 1983, defeating Bayern Munich and Real Madrid to secure the trophy, and also beat that year’s European Cup champions SV Hamburg to join the illustrious list of winners of the Super Cup.

The next season Dundee United got to the semi-final of the European Cup (with the Dons making the Cup-Winners’ Cup semis), and three years later Jim McLean’s men reached the final of the UEFA Cup, knocking out Barcelona along the way but losing the final 2-1 to IFK Goteborg.

The nature of Old Firm weakness changed between the late 1980s and the mid-1990s. David Murray had arrived at Rangers and was pouring money into the club, attracting big-name England internationals with the promise of European competition after English clubs were banned in the aftermath of Heysel. But while Rangers grew stronger Celtic weakened, and the Parkhead side hovered on the brink of bankruptcy for several years before being rescued by Fergus McCann in 1994.

As a result, the Scottish Premier Division remained competitive. Although that sounds a daft assertion in the wake of Rangers’ nine-in-a-row of league triumphs (1989-97), the fact remains that four different teams finished in second place over the period, with Celtic not managing to do it until 1996.

Rangers’ average margin of victory in the league race during the nine-season run was under 7 points, which contrasts sharply with the typical modern-day gap between the Old Firm and the rest of 30+ points. In four of the nine seasons, a single game going the other way between Rangers and the runners-up would have changed the destination of the title.

Indeed, over the entire 22-season lifespan of the old Premier Division, the Old Firm (in either order) took the top two spots just seven times, and five of those comprised the first two and last three seasons of the competition. Over a 17-year stretch in between, the Old Firm secured the 1 and 2 positions just twice. (Celtic-Rangers in 1978/79, and Rangers-Celtic in 1986/87.) Close to half the time – nine seasons from the 22 – the Old Firm couldn’t even both get into the top 3.

The SPL era, on the other hand, has seen Tweedlehun and Tweedlydee cosily slice up first and second place in 12 of its 13 seasons (the only blip being Hearts pipping Rangers to the runner-up spot by a single point in 2005/06). Where the Scottish Premier Division was the most competitive league in the world, the SPL is now the least competitive, and therefore one of the least healthy.

(During the life of the old SPD the Scotland international side qualified for World Cups in 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990 and 1998, and for European Championships in 1992 and 1996. Since the advent of the SPL in 1999, with the Old Firm hurling most of their money at foreign players, the national side hasn’t reached a single tournament finals.)

Of course, the game has changed since the Premier Division. The SPL, Sky TV, Champions League and Bosman have all conspired – entirely by design – to make life harder for the smaller teams and cement the dominance of the bigger ones who can command higher TV audiences. Even this, though, is a slightly misleading picture.

Media pundits are fond of pointing out that Sky’s interest in the SPL would plummet if it no longer had Old Firm games to offer its subscribers, and this is very likely true. What nobody points out, however, is that the OF hog so much of the Sky money for themselves that even a substantially-reduced deal from broadcasters would be more evenly distributed in a notional post-Rangers world, and so would likely end up with the smaller teams seeing fairly similar amounts of money to what they get now.

By way of illustration of the sort of sums involved, we examined the 2010 public accounts of Motherwell, who finished 6th in the SPL in 2010/11. Their total income from TV and radio was just over £1.2m. The bulk of that will have come from the Sky deal, but some will also be from elsewhere, eg the BBC rights to highlights packages and radio coverage. Arbitrarily, then, let’s say Sky is worth £1m a year to Motherwell.

A typical home game at the average 2010/11 Fir Park attendance of 5,660 will generate something very roughly in the region of £225,000. If Sky backed out and nobody took up the live-TV rights at all (the latter part being a highly unlikely scenario), the club would need to either play four extra home games OR attract an extra 1300 fans to each game to compensate, OR reduce its annual wage bill of a startling £3.3m, or some combination of the three.

In a more competitive league with more chance of European football and an increased likelihood of cup runs, that’s hardly an impossible dream – for reference, in 2007/08 when Motherwell finished 3rd their average attendance was around 1000 higher, at 6,600. The further 300 extra was achieved as recently as 2004/05.

And all that’s without considering extra prize money. The current structure awards the team finishing 3rd in the league 9.5% of the SPL’s “Net Commercial Revenues” – ie all sponsorship money including, but not limited to, TV receipts. The team finishing 2nd sees that sum boosted hugely, to 15%.

For perspective, that jump from 3rd to 2nd is by far the biggest gap between any two positions in the league, at 5.5%. (Payouts are very roughly £2.5m for 2nd and £1.6m for 3rd, a drop in cash terms of around £900,000.)

By comparison the gap between 3rd and 4th is only 1% and each subsequent place 0.5% less, so the drop between 3rd and the team relegated all the way down in 12th place is just 5%.

The difference between 2nd and 1st place, however, is a mere 2%. It’s almost as if the structure was deliberately designed to ensure that the top two teams got the lion’s share of the money regardless of which order they finished in, neither ever benefitting massively over the other, while the rest fell further and further behind every year.

Without Rangers, whoever finishes second will get a whopping cash injection – though without Sky it could obviously be significantly less than the current £900,000 – even before they play a single game in Europe. (And in the SPL’s 13-year history, SEVEN different clubs have occupied the “best of the rest” spot in the final league table. The bounty would be shared around.)

But even beyond that, the data in the early part of this feature (which is broadly reflected for all other Scottish sides, not just Aberdeen, but we’d be here all day if we were to list every one) proves that the crucial core principle remains the same – a team with a better chance of even the mildest definition of success, eg qualifying for Europe or reaching a domestic cup final, will see a large upshoot in its attendance figures, more than enough to compensate for the less-frequent visits of Rangers/Celtic fans or a drop in TV money. And the prime driver of that increased prospect of success is the weakness (or absence) of at least one of the Old Firm.

For all the commentators asserting that Scottish football would collapse – either in footballing terms or economic ones – should Rangers FC not make it out of season 2011/12 alive, the numbers simply don’t add up.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

1 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 28 04 15 13:29

    The Scottish Premier League without Rangers – Success or Distress? |

103 to “Why Scotland doesn’t need Rangers”

  1. Aldos Rendos

    Great piece, although I would point out Hearts pipped Rangers not Celtic to 2nd in 2006.

  2. RevStu

    Whoops. Fixed, ta.

  3. GreenBhoy

    CELTIC 2012 WINNERS. We have the power, Rev Stu is a brother from another mother.
    Lets get right intae them Blues, You ken what I mean, You hate them as well. we ALL do, God bless the pope!

  4. ArabsUnited

    Usually this is a website for thoughtful, intellegent debate, but it seems that the lunatics have taken over the asylum with todays posting.

  5. STTM

    Good piece RevStu. I'd ignore the lazy journalism comment – good references and historical trends.

  6. RevStu

    ***EDITED BY REVSTU: Numerous comments have now been deleted for being gibberish, and for all being from the same address using dozens of different usernames.***

    I trust people DO all realise the piece would read more or less identically if the words "Celtic" and "Rangers" were transposed, right?

  7. Kyle

    Can't help but think that the gloating Celtic fans have rather missed the main point of this article.

  8. afljdvbd

    Have any of these Celtic fans actually read the article?

  9. Bob Leslie

    This is usually a site for intelligent discussion of Scottish issues. I have avoided supporting one team or another all my life as it is so obviously used as part of the State's "divide and rule" tactics. The degenerate morons posting about this issue have made it pretty clear that the State hardly needed to bother. 

  10. DougtheDug

    Rev Stu, have you checked the IP number's on the "Bhoys" posts?
    They are all written in a very similar, "nutter from Father Ted", style and it's odd that none of them (or him) seem have worked out that your post is anti-old firm not just anti-Rangers.

  11. ShedRule

    Nice article, I thought it didn't quite add up what the doomsayers were on about.

  12. Craig

    I'm a Celtic fan, and I accept the premise of this article, that either of the Old Firm being in decline would help the overall picture of the Scottish Premier League. Obviously I would rather it was Rangers in decline or crisis than my club, which is both a selfish point and one about their rather more unsavoury brand of politics, which seems to be to be based more in an imperial doctrine of hatred than the slightly less poisonous Irish Republican thesis that used to dominate our terraces. I also firmly believe we've moved with the times a lot better on sectarianism, both in terms of improving our global brand and stamping out the excesses.
    That said, a club the size of Celtic are always going to have our share of fudds supporting us. These commenters who appear to have completely missed the point of the piece don't speak for me or the club. I want Rangers to go bust and be eradicated because they're a hateful unionist anachronism, not because of any malice I feel towards them as people. I question the life choices of someone who is a Rangers fan, yes, but I can't say I feel any serious dislike for them. They're not worth that kind of emotion.
    A great piece all round, but can't you filter the comments?

  13. John Galt

    Doug, I wondered if I was the only one who noticed that!
    The old firm total domination throttles our game, they don't make it thrive. It turns out Rangers are doing it by  apparently not paying their tax dues – £9m so far this season? If Celtic are dominating it through proper means then fair enough….but lets not pretend its good for our league!

  14. Foreign Spade

    Terrific article showing not only how other teams can survive and surge without the OF (and how) but also how the national side truly thrives as well. Without BOTH the OF it would give smaller teams a bigger prize to play for, thus increasing prize money, attendances and in some cases European run money.
    Typical deluded Tims can't see that it equally implies how Celtic are just as opressing to the Scottish game as the Huns.

  15. wattyler

    Replies to this good article is just wierd.

  16. Longshanker

    If your  ploy has been to squirm your way into journalism in Scotland, I think you've just about found your level. Not exactly helpful for career progression I'd wager, but you never know.
    As a 'diddy' team supporter I can't fault the sentiment.of the piece – but you'd have to be pretty dumb not to have foreseen the sectarian/drivel storm headed your way. Presumably you like it  this way. Eh?

  17. Shodan

    Actually a rather good post. It's just a shame that most people commenting probably aren't reading it all. You've a knack for delving into the stats.

  18. RevStu

    Comments somewhat pruned for IP duplication. Well spotted, DougtheDug, I'd pretty much just skimmed them, don’t censor anything as a rule unless it’s very offensive or pure trolling.

  19. Jen

    Good article, very interesting points.  I have alwasy though the dominance of the OF bad for football as a whole in Scotland. 

  20. 0&Counting

    I think if you look at Dundee United recent game against Rangers where they won 2-0 you can see the difference already.  This media campaign is pathetic, it is this exact attitude that has allowed this problem to get this far. The latest is that they need to be saved for economic reasons, this is the club that will  shortly owe the tax payers near on 100 million  pound. They will go bust owing money to struggling clubs and companies. The best thing that could happen to scottish football is their demise.

  21. Avion

    I'd say the dominance of the OF is largely due to (obviously) the increased number of fans and the impartial interest in the rivalry between the two. It also does seem to follow the old saying about how "The rich get richer, the poor get poorer". Of course these days in football, money pretty much dictates the quality on the pitch.

    Another thing worth noting is that a "league without rangers" would not be a permenant thing. We could probably all agree that rangers in some form or another, will be in the spl in 4 years' time. And indeed if/when this time comes, they will likely be a diminished side that any other spl team could give a run for their money. But, even a diminished bottom 6 rangers, is still rangers. They still have a massive support, with thousands willing to travel. There would still be the intense rivalry with celtic. Even if celtic were far superior, football fans love a derby, and it would still bring in a lot of money. 

    With all of the points raised in the article and the points i've raised, how can it still be spun that scottish football would fall into an inescapable pit with the temporary loss of rangers? I'm a celtic fan, but not one of the deluded ones who say we won't be affected financially by this. Infact i think we're the only club who stand to lose from this. But if it creates a more competitive exciting spl then i'm all for it, even if it does mean we see a slight dip in revenue and our performance on the pitch. It's a small price to pay for bringing up the standards of our national game.

    Rangers out = temporary. When back, they will be mediocre.
    Everyone wins, except celtic. I'm tim and don't care bout losing, for good of spl.

  22. Anon

    I'm looking on at this with a lot of interest as as a supporter of a small club I'm obviously worried in case this does indeed impact on others. I think the article is very well written but there's a couple of things I thought I'd query
    Teams charge more for Old Firm match tickets, making them more valuable than a direct comparison with attendances at normal home games.
    Surely it’s slightly unfair that you have rounded up Aberdeen’s average attendance to 9000 and yet given an exact figure for the Old Firm average attendance? Aberdeen’s actual average attendance was 8874. Using your inflated figure and the £40 value assertion distorts the value of Aberdeen’s average ticket sales by around £90,000 per season.
    The European argument is indeed solid one and I agree with that, however even without the Old Firm, the quality of teams isn’t going to dramatically increase overnight. The performance of Scottish clubs in Europe recently has been terrible and if this continues then by the time the teams improve to a level to compete in Europe we’ll be lucky to have places left.
    The article also makes no attempt to balance the improved attendances or European home games with the cost of putting on these games. It costs more to put on European games and costs more to Police and manage higher attendances so this surely needs to factor into any money potentially earned.
    Regarding the point of national success, in the 4 years mentioned where we qualified for the World Cup only an average 43% of the players in the 22 man squads were actually playing in Scotland. Even now, the large proportion of Scotland’s players are playing in England. This shows that Scotland’s success seems to more stem not from players playing for the Old Firm but playing in other countries against a more varied type of player, including those of other nationalities. You seem to intimate that by having players from abroad the OF are stifeling the national team, but that doesn't hold up as it's not been a factor as the squad has been picked from talented teams in England & Europe in the past. Recently the OF have actually had a lot more Scottish players (Rangers more so than Celtic) and the national team still hasn't improved much.
    While it’s true that removing both Old Firms teams would lead to a newly competitive league, the removal of just one wouldn’t necessarily do anything positive for competition. Over the last 5 seasons the Old Firm have ended the season with an average (rounded down) of 85 points, with the 3rd placed team gaining an average of 62. This is a difference of 23 points. Assuming trends continue there will be even less competition than there is now. At least now teams have a chance of splitting the Old Firm. Even when Hearts managed that they were 17 points behind winners Celtic. Given the current climate (it’s difficult to directly compare the old league and the new one given the differences in economic climate and how the clubs are at present) Celtic could run away with the league every year.
    Looking at the point regarding the loss of TV revenue, to gain another 4 home games you’d need to restructure the league. Gaining more fans per game is indeed achievable, but to lower the wage bill substantially you’d have to lower the calibre of player. This drops the quality of the team meaning less chance of the success or attractive football to entice the extra fans needed as the only team who’d probably manage to retain their fan base or monetary structure in line with a strong quality of player would be Celtic, thus continuing their dominance. The poorer quality of players would dent the clubs chance of any kind of European run, scuppering their chances of offsetting the money lost mentioned previously. This knock on effect could eventually mean less places and more qualification games, likely leading to little or no European competition for Scottish clubs other that the league winners, likely to be Celtic, and cup winners/runners up.
    Where’s the competition in that?

  23. RevStu

    “But, even a diminished bottom 6 rangers, is still rangers. They still have a massive support”

    As noted in the piece, this won’t necessarily be true. The Rangers support vanishes extremely quickly in the absence of trophies.

  24. RevStu

    "Surely it’s slightly unfair that you have rounded up Aberdeen’s average attendance to 9000 and yet given an exact figure for the Old Firm average attendance? Aberdeen’s actual average attendance was 8874. Using your inflated figure and the £40 value assertion distorts the value of Aberdeen’s average ticket sales by around £90,000 per season."

    In the text I used the rounded-up figure for simplicity, but as you'll see if you look at the numbers (subtract 4,504 from 13,378), the actual calculations are based on the precise stats.

  25. Jock MacSporran

    The funny part would both Rangers and Celtic supporters asking themselves: who are we going hate NOW?
    You really feel for them. Not.

  26. RevStu

    "Looking at the point regarding the loss of TV revenue, to gain another 4 home games you’d need to restructure the league."

    You misunderstand. The point is to get extra home games from longer cup runs or European matches, or to get the equivalent of extra home games by increasing general attendance. You only need about 5% onto your average crowd to effectively be getting one extra home game for the purposes of these equations.

  27. Avion

    You're talking many many years ago. Things have changed, people have changed, and circumstances have changed. You may like to believe that OF fans are simply glory hunters, but there is a large number of devoted fanatics who would follow blindly anywhere, no matter what the performance. Certainly a larger number than aberdeen. I still think they could conjure up 2 or 3 thousand fans to travel up there.

    My point is that even a "diminished rangers", is not a financial disaster. I'm somewhat agreeing with you, but in my opinion the negative factors would not be as extreme. These hypothetical situations of "no rangers" seem to all assume that rangers and their fans have been wiped off the face of the earth. Even a diminished rangers would still have one of the largest supports in Scotland. They would still attract spectators to games. And old firm games would not lose all that much appeal.

  28. Avion

    I'd just like to say i don't mean any disrespect by that first paragraph. It's just my opinion.

  29. MarzipanJoe

    Great article, thanks. I am under no illusion that Ranger NewCo will be allowed to join the SPL. Sporting Integrity? Morality? Don' make me laugh…anyway, the point I really want to make is that Scottish Football does also exist outside the SPL and I might suggest that the SFL clubs would greatly benefit from a Rangers NewCo having to play their way through the leagues. Two bis attendances for the visit of Rangers would make a huge difference to teams in the SFL. Also there might also by a wee TV deal on a niche channel like PremierSports in it for them. Don't see how that would do Scottish Football any harm?

  30. RevStu

    "I'd just like to say i don't mean any disrespect by that first paragraph. It's just my opinion."

    Absolutely none inferred. But I don't for a moment dispute the Old Firm have a fanatic and genuinely loyal fanbase – they're the ones who were still turning up at Ibrox in the 1980s. That hardcore is also doubtless bigger than that of most other clubs, because Glasgow is Scotland's biggest city and because it's drawing on decades of success. 

    And I also agree with you that SOME kind of Rangers will almost certainly continue. The feature wasn't a prediction of their extinction, just a counterpoint to all the media bollocks that says they're indispensable. If they're reborn as some sort of middle-of-the-table outfit with an average gate of 15-20,000 then Scottish football will do just fine.

  31. RevStu

    “I might suggest that the SFL clubs would greatly benefit from a Rangers NewCo having to play their way through the leagues. Two bis attendances for the visit of Rangers would make a huge difference to teams in the SFL. Also there might also by a wee TV deal on a niche channel like PremierSports in it for them. Don’t see how that would do Scottish Football any harm?”

    Completely agree. It would be good for absolutely everyone, both morally and financially. But I’d bet a pound to a penny that the SPL will bend over and admit New Rangers directly all the same. They’re the most gutless bunch of craven, greedy idiots going.

  32. Bakunin

    I can see no reason why Scottish football can't cope without Rangers. As a Celtic fan I'd love to go back to the days of being regularly beaten by Dundee United and Aberdeen. Well maybe not, but you see my point.

  33. Scott

    Scottish football is goosed, and Rangers going to the wall inst going to fix it.
    What this country needs is some sort of equality to arise again, like the 80s. However, as well we know, the 80s was a long time ago and a different era to what we are in now. Hearts owe millions, Kilmarnock owe millions…Hibs have made millions over the past few seasons, but seem unwilling to put themselves into any major debt. Aberdeen, well Aberdeen fans still look at pics of Alex Ferguson and cry. Gretna overstretched on the back on a millionaires dream, and faced the consequences.
    Celtic arent going anywhere, the EPL dont want nor need us, talk of the Atlantic league is now bordering on 15 years. They are a PLC which are intent on making money. That isnt going to change. Its like the Spanish league non runners asking for more share of the booty as Real/Barca decry them for not making a decent challenge. Celtic FC, like most other clubs, are going to look after no.1.
    A start however, would be fresh blood at the top..Neil Doncasters and Stuart Regans introduction into Scottish Football should have been a great move, but they have, imo, been dragged down by the old school. Campbell Ogilvie replacing the hateful George Peat is another 'job for the boys' in the SFA. There are too many people running this countries game with too much to lose or too bitter to change.
    I dont think Rangers demise, or indeeds Celtic, is going to make Scottish football anything it isnt already, a football backwater.

  34. reffer

    good interesting article. Is there a list of average attendances OF v non-OF for all clubs. Just wondering if you picked aberdeen for any reason. just think the difference might be more pronounced for clubs near Glasgow, like motherwell or killie?
    but good to see some facts in the argument anyway. 
    I would personally rather see Rangers play through the SFL upwards, rather than being in the SPL, and facing a European ban, and 15 points or whatever penalty a year (I'm a rangers fan, btw).

  35. RevStu

    “good interesting article. Is there a list of average attendances OF v non-OF for all clubs. Just wondering if you picked aberdeen for any reason. just think the difference might be more pronounced for clubs near Glasgow, like motherwell or killie?”

    No, it’s much the same. The Kerrydale Street forum (which I’m sure you read regularly :D) did an interesting analysis which provided exactly that data for all the SPL clubs, and also calculated each club’s average attendance across a whole season with and without the Old Firm. The difference in all cases was a few hundred punters per game. I’ll see if I can find it again.

    And I picked Aberdeen because it was easiest – I’m an Aberdeen fan and I know more about them than about anyone else.

  36. jock the cock

    what  stu  is realy saying  here,  is he  wants the  winners of the  third divison  to  go and represent  scotland in the   ueffa  cup, and all fans  go  and  pay  money to  watch   it.. not sure  what  he  wants  from the   spl  winners,  but   i  think  he  would  be  thinking  of  money   nothing else,   2-3 qualifying  rounds max  no change  there.

  37. RevStu

    Ah, here we go:

    Aberdeen would in fact be one of the MOST affected if Rangers were to disappear/be replaced by a mid-table New Rangers. The difference made to each team's average home SPL attendance (all negative) would be:

    Hearts 162
    Hibs 137
    Aberdeen 499
    Dundee Utd 218
    Motherwell 426
    Dunfermline 808
    Kilmarnock 353
    St Mirren 154
    Inverness CT 225
    St Johnstone 466

  38. John

    Good article. I am a Celtic supporter and i am absolutely loving the demise of those sectarian anti catholic bigots.
    I know the other teams and supporters don't like my team either (Go figure).
    I posted on Celtic site that i hope that Rankers lose their titles from 2001 when the EBT started.
    This would give Celtic 5 more titles and would be on 12 in a row this season.
    It would also give Celtic 1 Scottish Cup and 2 League cups. As for other teams it would give the following
    Dundee , Queen of the South and Falkirk 1 Scottish Cup each and
    Ayr, Motherwell and St Mirren 1 League Cup each.
    As for Scottish Cup goes, just think how much European revenue Dundee, Queen of the South and Falkirk lost because of Rankers cheating.
    I would welcome the fact that the Scottish league would be more competitive without Rankers and it will benefit Scottish football as a whole.

  39. Squire

    Outstanding piece here RevStu, thanks a million for that.

  40. Luiz

    Great post, very clarifying. Just for curiosity, RevStu, which team you support?

  41. Luiz

    I just read the comments more carefully and discovered you are a sheep-shagger 😛 Anyway, once again, congratulations for the analysis

  42. Shodan

    We can only hope and pray that Rangers crash and burn, never to recover to their previous state and that Celtic go down rapidly with them. Best outcome to hope for.

  43. Paulbhoy

    First time ever on this site im from Ireland and youve probably worked out im a celtic fan i get over to games maybe two-three times a season because that is all i can afford workin 12 hours a week after house keepin n tht anyways i often wonder even though im from ireland and support celtic why people in scotland dont support ther local team for instance people from motherwell supporting celtic? i know its passed from your parents but i think if i was from some place in scotland i would support my local team. id b happy enoough for rangers to survive this crisis and if they went to the wall id be happy as well from reading your article it seems a nonsense that the league would suffer if the shame go bust and in all honesty id love a more competative league as my intrest over the last two-three years in the spl has begun to wane least its better to watch than the pri-madonna arseholes that play in the epl


  44. AllyArab

    Excellent article.
    We should not forget to add that the loss of the Old Firm from Scottish football would finally rid us of the vile sectarianism and bigotry which has poisoned our game for decades.

  45. Phil Boswell

    Excellent piece, as a Celtic fan I fully appreciate that it works just as well if Celtic were in demise. Most significantly these facts will not get in the way of current orchestrated media hype around Rangers FC plc (In Administration) being "essential" to the survival of Scottish football, in spite of the evidence to the contrary excellently presented in this article.  Most significant for me is the performance of teh National team through this "evolution"

  46. VictorVictor

    Excellent article.  Well researched and well put together but for me, a Tim, the highlight was the expression "Tweedlehun and Tweedlydee".

  47. Harry

    Great article, and to further support the argument, look no further than Hibs most recent demise when relegated to the Scottish 1st Division..
    The year they won the Scottish 1st Div under big Eck (of EBT fame :), and returned to the SPL brought huge % attandance increases at Easter Rd and, driven by the chance of success,  saw the Hibees flock in their droves!

  48. mick mcnulty

    Nice bit of posting there, well done you.

  49. Kenny Campbell

    SPL wil bend over backwards for Rangers the same way they did to keep Aberdeen in the SPL at the expense of Falkirk the year Aberdeen should have been relegated.(season 1999-2000)

  50. RevStu

    I agree that the SPL’s refusal to accept Falkirk’s groundshare at Murrayfield in 2000 was very shady, but in fairness Aberdeen wouldn’t necessarily have been relegated that season – at worst, they’d have entered into a three-way playoff with Falkirk and Dunfermline for the two available SPL spots. As Falkirk had only managed to finish 3rd in the First Division, it’s far from a foregone conclusion who’d have come through those playoffs. (The Dons had been in a playoff with Dunfermline a few seasons earlier and ran out 6-2 winners.)

    But it would (and should) have been decided on the field, which won’t be the case with Rangers by any interpretation.

  51. pat

    Excellent post.
    Unlike the rest of the "deluded tims" poster and the 'who would we hate now" poster. That sounds to me like you are the one who is hating.
    I read it twice.
    My one point I would like to make to these people is , "at least read the headline before commenting". This is not about Celtic or the O.F. This is about rangers fc ( in administration) and rangers ONLY, only one club has cheated here. Celtic are not in financial trouble, they have paid their taxes, and their debt is manageable. Lets not make this a Celtic /rangers thing. there is no O.F. neither one of them want that tag.

  52. Tam

    Regarding your example of Aberdeen's average attendance: If Aberdeen were challenging somewhere near the top of the league and their average attendance increased by just 1,000 fans per game to 10,000 that would more than cover any loss of revenue from Rangers games.

  53. Kenny Campbell

    The point was just that money talks in football as its a business and the bigger you are the more you have bent in your favour.
    I know I was being a bit cheeky using Aberdeen as an example, too much northern glee coming through at Rangers demise :O)
    BTW as a fan its an embarassment to see your club in this state and I can assure you that being a Rangers fan does not always equal being a unionist….
    My daughter asked me last night who'll I'll support now… little chance of avoidance of the issue.

  54. Kenny Campbell

    BTW I can back what Harry says, my mate is a season ticket holder at Easter road and says the year they were in the 1st division was the most enjoyable he can remember He did say it was a miserable summer before it right enough.

  55. RevStu

    “Regarding your example of Aberdeen’s average attendance: If Aberdeen were challenging somewhere near the top of the league and their average attendance increased by just 1,000 fans per game to 10,000 that would more than cover any loss of revenue from Rangers games.”

    In fact, as I’ve noted further up the comments, it’d need an increase of less than half that – 499 to be precise – to compensate for the lost Rangers revenue.

  56. RevStu

    “The point was just that money talks in football as its a business and the bigger you are the more you have bent in your favour.”

    Heh. Whatever else you could level at Aberdeen, it seems a bit harsh to say they’ve been given special treatment on the grounds of money. This, after all, is the club that not so long ago banned players from using the club toaster as an economy measure…

  57. Kenny Campbell

    Internal wranglings of the cuisine variety aside, Aberdeen are higher up the pecking order than Falkirk, especially as they were already in the cosy SPL club…..clearly though if we'd had some men of the calibre of Mr Bennet running Rangers then things may have turned out better.
    Here is a thought to cheer you up, think of some of the real donkeys that Rangers signed to get themselves into this mess. Flo,Ball,Nerlinger and Gayle….about 20M right there.
    For every Gazza or Laudrup there were 10 total duds. So not just lived beyond our means but did so badly.

  58. Vambo57

    Great Article mate, and should be required reading for all Scottish football fans.
    If only!  I suspect Celtic's crowds would drop considerably over time.
    If it comes to a cowardly SPL allowing Rangers in through the back door – so to speak – they should at least take the opportunity to introduce new and equitable voting, laws, and  sensible admission prices to promote a more level playing field.
    An SPL without either, or both of the OF, might just be very attractive to the likes of SKY… IF… the league goes for Summer Soccer.
    BTW Rangers lowest home league attendance (2,000) was on 23rd May 1979 against Partick Thistle!  

  59. Vambo57

    … or was it 1973 ??

  60. donald

    unfortunately your excellent article hijacked for haters of all types. Celtic have paid their taxes and havent cheated anyone but some try to lump together rather curiously…or maybe just showing Scotlands inherent bigotry in many clubs..experienced it many times round spl grounds. What doing without celtic has to do with this disgrace at present is beyond me.

  61. ElZorro

    Great piece, I'm a Celtic fan and would not only love to see Rangers end, for good, but for the SPL to become more competitive as a result.

  62. Gary

    good article. I completley agree with everything you are saying, I also believe that with the potential demise of rangers, people who travel to ibrox from all over scotland will hopefully start to take more of an interest in their local club, bosting attendances nationwide.
    I also believe that Celtic have been expecting this for a while now and are trying to put together a good young squad to challenge in europe for 2 reasons: 1) to raise the co-efficent and guarantee champions league money every season and 2) a good performance in the champions league can double a players value and generate extra revenue because like it or not to being a selling club and being sustainable now go hand in hand. off the beaten track a little there i know but if celtic are successful in raising the co-efficient it means more european opportunities for the rest of the league, suddenly hearts, aberdeen, dundee united e.t.c could realistically be challenging for a champions league spot and get a better crack at what is looking to be a quickly expanding second teir competition in the europa league.
    In all honesty i believe there will be a rangers next season, either the club that exists now or a new club (with a slightly different name with all the same colours and beliefs) will be voted straight into the spl. but given the club have to strip 10 million from their running costs regardless of what happens with any outstanding debts, results on the pitch will suffer and it will be years before they can look to be challenging for a title. there is a real chance here for the other clubs in the spl to become stronger if they go about it the right way, trying to pick up stray rangers fans (disillusioned with the ibrox club) and challenging for europe must be top of the agenda if they are going to re-ignite a passion and interest in our league that hasn't been seen for years.

  63. Neilius

    Good article!
    Could you clarify a couple of things though?
    Firstly, where did you get the average attendance figure of 8874 from? On ScotPrem this figure is given as 9129. Another figure is given in KerryDaleStreet
    Secondly, does this figure account for non-old firm games only? If not, then the results are skewed after all!
    By the way, according to the ScotPrem stats, AFC actually had a lower average attendance in 07/08 than the year before. It did bounce back a little a year later but purely in terms of spl games it's far from clear there was any gain from the European feel-good factor.

  64. RevStu

    I got most of the stats from Wikipedia, so naturally they may be inaccurate, but I can see no reason why they would be.

    Aberdeen average attendance 2010-11:

    Other places may be counting attendances this season to date, I’ve restricted myself to complete ones.

    League attendances were strong in 2006-07 because Aberdeen came 3rd, and went out of both cups at the first time of asking, leaving the fans nothing else to focus on.

  65. Neilius

    Just for reference: scotprem site has complete attendance records for all seasons since 2001/02. official spl site so I would hope it is a bit more accurate than wikipedia (although it is the spl so this may not be the case).
    Agree with most of what you are saying. I think its perfectly plausable (not to mention desireable) that the other teams in the league would be just as well off without one or both of them. I really did enjoy the article, its a well written, generally sound argument, but a few things don't seem quite right to me. With regards to the specific match attendances you use – and your response – it is still the case that the attendance for that season was less than the year previous. Yet you give the impression that vast improvements in attendance resulted. I do accept that it may have kept the attendance figures up and have helped boost attendence for the subsequent season.
    On another subject: the overall average attendance already includes the rangers fans, so the average non-OF attendance should by worked out by: (8874*19 – 13378*3)/16. Nineteen home matches, three of which were OF games, using the same stats. This makes the overall gain from the OF  16047 ticket sales rather than 13,512, equivalent to 2.00 non-OF matches rather than 1.52 – the average non-OF attendance being 8029. I know I'm being exceptionally picky here but it does mean your figures are exaggerated.

  66. RevStu

    "Nineteen home matches, three of which were OF games, using the same stats. This makes the overall gain from the OF  16047 ticket sales rather than 13,512, equivalent to 2.00 non-OF matches rather than 1.52"

    Fair point, but remember the main focus of the article (and indeed the real-life possibility) is about doing without ONE of them – in this case Rangers – rather than both.

  67. Brain Cass Capacity

    Time is now ripe for Celtic to seriously cosy up to the G14 – now the European Club Association – using their own global fan base as leverage – and/or promote their way up through the lower echelons of the English Leagues, to achieve an eventual status in the Premiership, whilst fielding a Scots born U23 team in the SPL.- avoiding the wrath of European employment by just saying 'sorry, the lad from Antwerp etc is not as good as the bairn from Brora!'
    I couldn't stomach it being said that Celtic were only in any English League by invitation and not by merit. Besides no football Chairman is going to vote to increase the relegation places to allow Celtic and/or A.N.Other into their brethern.  

  68. Parsman

    For evidence that the effect a competitive League can make to a team just look at the Pars last season.
    challenging at the top against teams similar to us (Falkirk, Dundee & Rovers) we were pulling in capacity crowds. Crowds in excess on anything we have had in the SPL this season. Away attendances in these games were also great.
    Things will only change when the League is seen as the product and effort goes into giving us a competitive League – and by that i mean with more than two teams with a chance of winning it.
    Until the focus of Scottish Football is actually the good of SCOTTISH football and not just two teams in Glasgow then things will continue on a downward spiral.

  69. I am pleased that the SNP won Glasgow Anniesland from Labour Party.
    I support more home rule for Scotland inside the UK or Britain.
    The SNP won 69 seats in Scottish Parliament.


    Enjoyed the read, first time on this site. I'm living in London and I'm shocked and stunned that no media, Scottish or English, mentioned the jailing of Robert Green on a trumped up charge of Breach of the Peace on Friday last!
    "Robert Green, one of the most decent people you could ever wish to meet, has been jailed for 12 months as a consequence of his campaign to secure justice for Hollie Greig and a proper investigation (the first) into her claims to have been sexually and violently abused by members of the Scottish establishment."

  71. Mike

    Fantastic article that is packed with stats that I've been spouting for years! 
    I'll be emailing this link to everyone I know that might be romotely interested or that should be interested!

  72. Mackie

    I'm I the only person who wanders who the masses of Rangers fans would support if Rangers where to be eradicated from the game or thrown into the a lower league.
    I know a few loyalists would stand by any newly formed Rangers but for the most part I hope that they might end up watching their local team (Motherwell, KIlmarnock etc). That is of course if they don't just jump ship and support Man Utd instead.
    These new supporters that Scottish teams would gain would more than make up for the extra gate reciepts that the few Rangers games would have brought any SPL team pre-demise.

  73. Mark

    Dumb dumb article.
    The attendance is only worth 1.5 extra home games.  More like 3 extra home games when you consider that most SPL clubs raise their prices for the Old Firm.  What about directors boxes?  Matchday sponsership?  All that will dwindle too with less Old Firm games.  That's not even mentioning the TV deal.  Because there probably won't be a TV deal.  Or at best it will be £3million a season on ITV.

    Extended cup runs?  Pointing to Aberdeen getting to the last 32 as moderate success?  That was an incredible achievement at the time, and it has only got more difficult with a much worse coefficient.  Rangers dying will not increase the likelyhood of other teams getting into the Europe League in the next ten years due to the coefficient being lower.  Non Old Firms getting into the group stages happened twice in the last ten years.  Twice.  If we are being wildly optimistic at best in the next ten years, non old Firm clubs will be in the Europe League Group stages four times.  So what's that increased value worth  between ten SPL clubs over ten years?  I doubt it's as much as two games against Rangers a season.

    I didn't read bother to read the rest of the article.  SPL teams will not prosper without Rangers, they will definately lose money, but I don't think the product on show will change much.  But to think they will actually get better is demented.  The  50,000 Rangers fans a week would be lost to the Premiership.  At best 5,000 might start following another Scottish team.  But the slow death of Scottish football will continue unless some drastic changes are made…. British Cup, European League, Summer football…. the only real way we will compete with the big leagues is if all our mountains collapse in on themselves, the land becomes inhabitable, the weather becomes fantastic and we have a sudden huge population increase.

  74. MarkyBoy

    Fantastic article Stu which serves to confirm what all us Non OF supporters have known and spouted for years, but couldn't be bothered to prove.
    My on criticism of the piece was that you never saw fit to give a liitle mention to St. Mirren's excellent 1979/80 3rd place finish, just 6 points behind winners Aberdeen, with Rangers languishing back in 5th place. I remember Aberdeen beating us 2-0 in a cracking match at Pittodrie with about 3 games to go and that victory went a long way to deciding the title that year. Otherwise you might have had another team to add to your stats of non OF winners.

  75. The_Quiet_Man

    Well said that man..  Ta Ta Gers please!

  76. Hooperswan

    With Rangers defunkt. Celtic are expected to win league every season ,but just  think with ,a second  place to play for and entry to CL,Hibs Hearts Dons  with a big dormont fan base and other top SPL teams fans would return in increased numbers,whereas with Rangers  there ,their gates were down ,for there was  less chance of beating  Rangers So increased gates, and increased revenue.So with Rangers kaput,they wont be missed.So—-
    Let The People Sing
    Hail Hail

  77. Marko

    Excellent article, although once again many seem to work on the assumption that our love of our club is overweighted by our hatred of rangers. 
    Im not a kick in the arse off 40 now and I am the proud father of two young bhoys, one of whom is in the Celtic academy. Great to see, but it wouldn't matter to me who he was playing for, so long as he's enjoying the game. Would also be excellent if, at ten years old, adults could restrain themselves from shouting obscenities like "half that wee Fenian bastard" or the likes and I genuinely believe a world without Rangers would go a long, long way towards this nonsense being wiped out.
    I look forward to a healthy rivalry based on competition and possibly locale too with genuine Fitba punters and we can maybe progress in some kind of unison and our national side can progress to a similar position to where it was when we had the greats like Souness, Miller, Strachan, Aitken, McStay, Auld, McNeill, Hay, Johnstone et al without the poisonous undertones so prevalent since the mid 90's and the emergence of the glory hunting Orc.
    Great article.

  78. Connor

    Celtic have just as much to be ashamed about as Scotland, seeking independence does not = Glasgow Celtic fc… get rid of the auld firm and send them down south to their fellow unionists, the independence cause had more class before the weegies got their hands on it and added their usual bile and hatred into the mix.

  79. Neil

    I really like this piece. I agree wholeheartedly with the anti-competitive thrust of the argument and I wish it were otherwise.
    A couple of points though:
    Celtic and Rangers are not in it for the sake of the sport, but nor are the Jambos or the Dons or the Arabs or anyone else. They are in it for themselves, playing the best hand they can for their own benefit. That C and R dominate is because they have a better hand – all the other teams would do the same.
    That said, the self-defeating nature of their tactics is the problem. It is pure game theory in practice. This moment offers an opportunity to change up and the cheats charter does exactly the opposite. It is massively disheartening. I love competitive football. I am also a Celtic fan. The two actually are not incompatible. I support a football club because I love the sport – if I loved winning I would be a Scottish Pub Sports fan instead.
    I am a Celtic fan and I am genuinely enjoying the demise of Rangers. I am not proud of that, but it is true. But in the interests of the league, the league must act – not the individual members who can only act out of self preservation for the individual, but the league which can preserve itself as a whole. The charter suggests this opportunity has been missed. Unless…… unless that much maligned 11-1 voting system actually works and Newco Rangers are vetoed. Wouldn't that be an interesting consequentialist problem! Embrace the unfairness of the voting structure to end the unfairness of the league as a whole. I hope the board of Celtic Football Club do us all a favour and listen to the fans – us childish, myopic, resentful souls who would toast that veto will Jelly and Ice Cream. 

  80. Billy Liar

    The Old Firms strangulating hold on Scottish football would not have been so severe had Rangers played by the rules. How many matches would they have lost (especially in cup games) had they only fielded players bought by fair means?
    Would Kilmarnock be the proud winners of the League Cup if Celtic had fielded a team full of highly paid top internationalists? Probably not.
    It will be interesting to see Kilmarnock's attendance figures for their remaning post split fixtures.
    I agree with the general thrust of the article, however it fails to take into account how heavily the odds were stacked in favour of Rangers (and by association, The Old Firm) by Murray's alleged cheating. Had Rangers lived within their means, Scottish Football would be in a much healthier state.  Celtic would not have signed so many foreigners in order to keep pace with Rangers; They'd have bought locally and reared more of their own (McGeady, Maloney, Forest etc)
    Whether or not a Newco replaces Rangers, their period of debt fuelled dominance is over. My team (Celtic) will probably be the main beneficiaries of this.
    The Diddy teams also stand to benefit, and so does the National team.

  81. Brain Cass Capacity

    Lenny’s  Rain Over….
    Celtic Chairman Ian Bankier summed up the feelings of the Celtic fans at this news.

    He said:
    ‘Thank you Lenny, for the happiness you’ve given us and everything you’ve brought to your Celtic.
    For perfecting a football model that will never again be questioned.’
    ‘For representing the institution in a model manner, putting our values that define us a club as your emblem.
    For all the support, affection and love.’
    ‘The gratitude of Celtic fans will be eternal, as will that of millions of neutrals around the world, who have loved watching Lenny’s Celtic strut their stuff.’

    Then I woke up…. Realising I’d received a Pep talk.

  82. Jim

    I see what you are saying that one team may get more supporters through the gates if they have a chance of getting to Europe or go further in the local cup games but honestly, what about the other teams who won’t do this just as usual and then not have the extra income from visiting Rangers fans. You picked one team but what about the rest? Are they all going to be competing for a place in Europe and get their at the same time and all earn more money. Of course they won’t. One team will replace Rangers for the next 3 seasons say. What about the rest? Teams at the moment are playing for third spot ( basically second) to get into Europe.
    Apart from the old firm game on Sunday, what was the biggest attendance at the weekend? 
    The Rangers protesters at Hampden. Think about that one. Playing for a place in Europe, playing to stop being relegated and they couldn’t muster up a decent support.
    Think again on your blog. Seriously. 

  83. Rev. Stuart Campbell

    “Apart from the old firm game on Sunday, what was the biggest attendance at the weekend?
    The Rangers protesters at Hampden.”

    Actually, the papers gave the figure for that as 7000, and the attendance at Dundee Utd-Hearts as 7,001…

    And you don’t seem to have paid much attention to Scottish football over the last couple of decades. No one team or even two teams have monopolised the “best of the rest” category. Aberdeen, Hearts, Dundee Utd, Hibs, Motherwell, Kilmarnock, St Johnstone and Livingston have all qualified for Europe from final SPL position – that’s eight teams out of 10 non-OF league slots in 13 seasons. Pretty damn good odds in anyone’s book.

    In the same period 11 different non-OF teams have reached the Scottish Cup final, and 10 non-OF teams have made the League Cup final.

    In 13 seasons that’s 26 cup final spots and 22 European qualifications for non-OF sides, shared between over a dozen clubs, and that’s WITH Rangers in the league. Without them we’d open up maybe 20 more “success” spots over the 13-year period, and that means a total of 68 or around five a season, giving just about anyone a decent chance of grabbing one. We’ve already seen teams like Gretna, Ross County and Queen Of The South get to the Scottish Cup final in recent years under the present setup, for heaven’s sake, so anyone CAN do it.

    There’s no guarantee that any particular club will achieve success, of course, but then there never is in any league, so what?

    “Playing for a place in Europe, playing to stop being relegated and they couldn’t muster up a decent support.”

    You miss the point. They don’t have to muster “a decent support”, just a slightly MORE decent one than they get now. And even if they get to Europe and get knocked straight out at the first time of asking, that ONE extra home game/TV money/prize money will easily cover the losses they make in an entire season from not playing Rangers.

  84. towser

    Love Craigs comment –

    “Obviously I would rather it was Rangers in decline or crisis than my club, which is both a selfish point and one about their rather more unsavoury brand of politics, which seems to be to be based more in an imperial doctrine of hatred than the slightly less poisonous Irish Republican thesis that used to dominate our terraces.”

    Try  justifying that to anyone with a relative or friend killed or maimed by an IRA bomb. They are both equally poisonous – an embarrasment to Scotland

  85. douglas clark

    Jim @ 5:59pm,
    It seems obvious to me that cheating – if it is proven – and not paying your dues to the Inland Revenue is cheating.
    I don’t care if there are 7,000 cheats or two cheats.
    Your club is probably about to bring EUFA down on Scotland. And you still bang on about how big you are? Your not that big.
    I, frankly, don’t give a shit how many people are deluded.
    I want a degree of integrity in the sport I follow. Your lot, numbers aside, do not care about that.

    It is completely unhealthy.

  86. Dave R

    Embarrassing article by a bitter Aberdonian who is clearly living in the 80s and genuinely believes getting rid of the Old Firm would be best for his club. If the extra gate money is so irrelevant, how could Dundee Utd not pay wages when Rangers defaulted? Because clubs, even your own “Rev Stu” budget for the extra gate money and the extra TV money. Whether you like it or not, your club need the Old Firm. The Celtic fans who think this is Anti-Rangers sums up their intelligence. Meanwhile the previous post from Douglas ‘Mastermind’ Clark can’t even spell UEFA.

    Away back to your independence rants and let the big boys of the Central belt concentrate on what really matters in everything Scottish.

  87. Rev. Stuart Campbell

    “If the extra gate money is so irrelevant, how could Dundee Utd not pay wages when Rangers defaulted? Because clubs, even your own “Rev Stu” budget for the extra gate money and the extra TV money.”

    No, because they budget for ANY gate money. If Rangers weren’t there Dundee Utd would have played someone else, who would have paid up rather than stealing the money from them, leaving Utd with no problems.

    “Whether you like it or not, your club need the Old Firm.”

    It plainly doesn’t, for the reasons patiently and clearly explained above.

    “a bitter Aberdonian who is clearly living in the 80s”

    I’m not from Aberdeen, and believe me, when I watch them play now I’m under no illusions whatsoever of it still being the 80s.

  88. Mike

    Are all of the teams in the other divisions (including the team relegated from the SPL) relient on the OF or do they just cut their cloth accordingly?   I think most teams outside the SPL survive without the OF.  So why cant the ‘top’ teams?

  89. James A Barr

    A very readable article and much more coherent than nearly anything that would appear in the Scottish Media. I have always believed that Scottish Football would be better without the duopoly but I am not certain if it would be better without BOTH the big Glasgow Clubs. I also feel it is unfair on Celtic to be branded alongside Rangers at the moment. As far as I am aware, Celtic have paid their dues and won trophies/League titles fairly (well, as fairly as a team with such a financial advantage can do!) . The topic at the moment is really only: Would Scottish Football without Rangers be such a bad thing? Bringing Celtic into it just because they are equally big is a tad unfair on that well run Club.
    Nevertheless, a fine article,
    J.A B

  90. Rev. Stuart Campbell

    There’s no connection between Rangers’ current financial situation and the widespread (I won’t say universal) distaste for both of the Old Firm. To most fans of Scotland’s other 40 clubs they’re equally toxic influences, regardless of whether they’re broke or rich. Both are more concerned with ancient Irish history than Scottish football, and a great many fans are sick to the back teeth of both of them. The current pitiful state of the SPL is entirely down to the short-sighted greed of both of them. It’s just that Rangers weren’t even very good at greed.

  91. Arbroath1320

    Not being someone who has an axe to grind, other than the fact that I’m sick up to the back teeth with the whole Ranger’s fiasco. Fiasco is the only word, I think, that can describe the current situation at Ibrox.
    I get the whole history of Rangers, with all the accompanying silverware etc, but it has got to the point where it is nauseous. In fairness to all the other Scottish clubs would any of them been allowed to struggle on in the same manner that Rangers have over the last few months? I don’t think so.
    I think that the point of no return has been passed. The time has come for Rangers to bite the bullet. I read recently that there have four other clubs who have gone through similar financial “problems” in recent years.
    Motherwell and Dundee, I believe, were able to resolve their financial situation in fairly short order however I understand. Gretna and Livingston were not so lucky and ended up being demoted to Division 3. I think, if most people were to compare Rangers current situation and the two situations I’ve just mentioned I think they would consider Rangers to be more inclined to the Gretna/Livingston rather than the Motherwell/Dundee situation.
    I think, therefore, there is only one possible outcome for Rangers that WILL be acceptable to everyone in Scottish football, perhaps with the exception of a significant number of Rangers fans. If Rangers somehow manages to remain in the Premiere League I have read reports that fans of all the other S.P.L. clubs are threatening to refuse to attend matches involving Rangers. Can this really be fair, to the other clubs?
    Surely for the safety/sanity of the other S.P.L. clubs Rangers MUST end up in division 3. Failure to do so will, in my view, turn the S.P.L. into a laughing stock.

  92. Rev Al

    The interesting thing for me is the flip side of the argument if a Newco Green Rangers is allowed back into the SPL.

    Rangers fans will boycott the other teams and from reading their forums the majority of other teams fans will be not attending either…. Sounds even worse! 

  93. jackofalltrades

    very good article but you got your figures wrong

    [quote]Alert viewers will have noticed that even this humble adventure was therefore worth almost SIX TIMES as much to the Pittodrie club as an entire season of Old Firm fixtures,[/quote]

    13,378 was ave attendance versus old firm for each of the 3 games that they played, if you multiply that figure by 4 = 53,512 this is the figure you should be comparing to the 74,767 aberdeen got for the 4 uefa league games

    so not worth almost SIX TIMES as much to the pittodrie club mentioned

    i think you were comparing one attendance to 4 european game attendances

  94. Rev. Stuart Campbell

    No, I was comparing to the number of EXTRA fans the OF bring, not the TOTAL number.

  95. jackofalltrades

    [quote]Rev. Stuart Campbell says:
    May 20, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    No, I was comparing to the number of EXTRA fans the OF bring, not the TOTAL number.[/quote]

    so your quoting comparing old firm fans only at pittodrie in 4 old firm SPL games, with the total amount of fans at pittodrie in 4 europa league games

    I don’t understand your logic your not comparing like with like

    if your gonna quote figures then do it on a like for like basis then! 4 europa games whole attendance was 74,767

    4 old firm fixtures at pittodrie going on your figures would have been 4 x 13,378 = 53,512

    so yes there is an increase in the european game attendances but nowhere near a 6 fold increase

  96. Rev. Stuart Campbell

    You’re missing the point. If Rangers were booted out of the league entirely or dumped in SFL3, Aberdeen wouldn’t only play 36 or 37 SPL games that season instead of 38. They’d play someone else instead of Rangers – so they’d get a crowd that was lower, but not zero, on those days. (On average somewhere in the region of 8000-9000.) Therefore the value to Aberdeen of Rangers being in the league is only the EXTRA fans they bring over and above what Dundee Utd or Hearts or St Mirren bring, not ALL the fans. The extra UEFA games, on the other hand, are 100% profit in terms of attendances, because if you don’t qualify you don’t have a game that night at all.

  97. jackofalltrades

    right you are, got you!

    i must try harder 😉

  98. Fudgefase

    I don’t know where all this talk of the other clubs getting money in from their games with Rangers and Celtic is coming from. Seems to me that Rangers at least haven’t been paying the other clubs for ages anyway. 

  99. romanista

    lovely report by dutch telly on the rangers in sfl3
    (in english, but not sure if it’s viewable abroad)

  100. Rod Mac

    Rev you know I do not comment very often ,you also know I get very upset when you use Better Together tactics against the famous Glasgow Rangers. (This is not the first time)
    Remember this,tomorrow when the team from the East of Glasgow step on to the pitch, more British Unionists MPs,ex Cabinet Ministers ,MSPs ,Concillors etc will be sitting in the stands.
    The Daily Heil witch hunt you have so wonderfully highlighted this week is no better, or worse than the anti Rangers bile you have shown over the months of our debate.
    You have the audacity to caution people on this site not to say or do anything that might ,perhaps offend a don’t know voter
    However you continue to offend us Rangers supporting Nationalists.
    While you, and your generation were nothing more than a glint in the eye of your father, “dirty filthy bluenoses” like me were fighting the fight for Scottish Independence.
    Unlike now it was not an “in thing” it was very much a “nutters ” preserve.
    How dare you insult many ,many bluenoses by this latest bile and venom.
    You behave and spew the same as, Ian Davidson, Anas Sarwar,Lamont ,Lord Laing, ,instead of maligning Scots, you malign RANGERS and their entire fanbase.
    Whether or not you like it, Rangers even in the third their are Scotland’s biggest supported team ,if you want to alienate that entire voting franchise ,then your entire alleged love of Scottish Independence is built on a pile of sand ,and personal arrogant bigotry.
    I have ,as a pensioner been huge advocate of this site ,and the movement(a member of the SNP since 1968) however if Independence means letting bigotry like this prevail ,maybe Britannia is not so bad.

    Maybe you all should look up Wikipedia and find the word hypocrisy.
    STOP THIS BIGOTED NONSENSE NOW!, ( I use the word bigot in it’s truest sense) ALL Scots are needed to push this over the line!
    I never thought that WOS could anger me so much ,ban me if you like ,however, for Scotland’s sake ,not a football team ,remember the BIG picture.

  101. Rev. Stuart Campbell

    “Latest”? You noticed that this was written in 2012, right?

  102. Rod Robertson

    I have been a “Winger ” for a long time now ,I have done my bit for the blog ,and irrespective of the reaction to this post I will continue to do so.
    For unlike you as the author of this stupidity I love Scotland more than my football team ,more than my particular very left of centre beliefs.
    I put Scotland before everything except my family of course
    As a Rangers fan and a Nationalist I am used to tiny bigots spewing their hatred and bile towards my beliefs and choice of team.
    I have indeed received some of my harshest criticism over the years from fellow Bluenoses.
    I have converted many along the way ,many of the closed minded idiotic Rule Brittania eejits I long ago gave up on.
    Whatever that hatred for my beloved club, which is evident in the writings of you here Stu, and the pea brains adding comments Rangers are the biggest supported club in Scotland.
    Rangers despite their present difficulties will survive.
    Even in the extremely unlikely event of the club failing those fans will still be here.
    Their support like me will have a vote on Sept 18th.
    Just like Labour voters we need a sizeable proportion of that support to vote YES.
    By pandering to your own narrow minded petty hatred you are doing your best to alienate that support from backing Scotland.
    I do hope you enjoy your own kick at Rangers and possibly the effect that may have on our vote in Sept.
    So many of your loyal sycophants on here have for months have been telling you
    “when we get Independence Stu they should build a statue to you ” etc etc
    It seems you have started to believe the pea brains and believe you are Mr Independence.
    Unlike those people I say what I think ,not what might please you, and your ego.
    Some on here have their noses so far up your arse they might see the soles of some of their fellow brown nosers shoes.
    I am appalled at your stupidity and this crass article .
    Your upsetting so many potential YES voters is complete self indulgence and idiocy.
    Why now , that is what I keep asking myself WHY?
    we have them on the run and you come out with this stupid article.
    Robertson ,Hammond , First Lord , Lamont at STUC you had so many other options.
    However you chose to have a go at a football team ,because it has always been bigger ,more successful ,better supported than your team.
    Like a playground bully,and a coward you saw an opportunity to hit someone while they were on the ground and you let that get in the way of the “big picture”
    It is like the hatred of some unionists regarding SNP/Scotland it would seem you hate the Rangers more than you love Scotland.
    Just as so many Unionists hate the SNP more than they love Scotland.
    That hatred that spews from Aberdeen fans you have allowed to cloud your judgement ,this kind of crass idiocy could put our countries Independence in jeopardy.
    Would you dare write a similarly vile narrow minded diatribe about Labour . Liberal ,Tory and Non aligned voters?
    You have done a magnificent job thus far ,you have galvanized so many of us into “Wingers” and you decide to put at risk this by allowing your personal hatred of a football team to enter the pages of this blog?
    I always thought it was a blog for Scottish independence ,not a blog for Aberdeen ,Rangers hating fuckwits.
    You have allowed your ego to outstrip the main prize, the Independence of our country.
    By this article you have alienated so many ,and allowed the enemies of our cause to give a clarion call to a vast number of voters.
    I do respect and admire this site , indeed as a pensioner and a devout Nationalist I have supported this site as much as I personally could afford.
    I first joined the SNP in 1968 I have the battle scars to prove it ,we are so close and it seems that some want to grab defeat from the jaws of victory.
    I cannot express enough, my annoyance ,and amazement that you have written such an article at this time.
    As to the rest of you clowns joining in because you think it gains you “brownie points” we need to carry ALL of Scotland , not just those you find acceptable.
    There a vast number of Rangers fans that will not under any circumstances support our cause.
    There are also a vast number as committed as me, and more importantly the same again waiting to be convinced.
    This stupid ,self indulgent article will do NOTHING to encourage those undecided within the Rangers support to vote yes ,indeed it will alienate them ,is that your intention?
    Is your football allegiance more important than our country?
    Should your ego decide my criticism is too much to allow me to continue commenting when I see fit ,so be it ,however in future please engage brain before allowing the keypad to be let loose.

  103. MJack

    15/09/2016 Wow thats an epic amount of research. Thats why we read your blogs and thats why your now nominated for political blogger of the year.

    Good luck with that btw.

Comment - please read this page for comment rules. HTML tags like <i> and <b> are permitted. Use paragraph breaks in long comments. DO NOT SIGN YOUR COMMENTS, either with a name or a slogan. If your comment does not appear immediately, DO NOT REPOST IT. Ignore these rules and I WILL KILL YOU WITH HAMMERS.

↑ Top