Do Celtic Really Want Life Without Rangers?
As Rangers edge closer to administration I look at the consequences if they were to go out of existence.
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As Rangers move towards administration a lot has understandably been made of the impact on Rangers as a football club, but if the process goes through the wider impact, on Celtic and the Scottish Premier League as a whole could be unimaginable.
I’ve heard a lot from Celtic fans who are friends and on the internet that suggests they will be pleased if Rangers FC ceases to exist. In fact, pleased is definitely understatement. Of course, there are some level headed fans who have thought about what it could mean, but on the whole the reaction from Celtic fans has been that of jubilation.
Clubs going into administration isn’t a new thing, it has happened to different clubs a number of times but the long lasting effects on the leagues the clubs were in, and the teams surrounding them were generally minimal. But Rangers are a different beast entirely. It wasn’t long ago when Rangers and Celtic could seriously be considered challengers in Europe and on a par with the best teams in the Premier League. Things have changed drastically since then though. The two clubs still pull in huge audiences for matches, and have enormous fan bases around the world, but their footballing impact has softened to such an extent where now people wonder about whether or not the clubs can be compared to teams in the upper echelon of the Championship. The money and publicity that Celtic and Rangers attract are a major driving force behind the SPL as a whole. It does make you wonder though how a team with an average attendance of around 45000 (over 30000 more than the league’s average) and the greater revenues that come with that get in such a state whereby they have to consider administration.
Without Rangers the SPL would undoubtedly paint a very different picture. From being a two horse race for as long as I can remember it would turn into a complete joke of a league, with absolutely no competition for Celtic. The league would be almost impossibly hard to package and sell TV rights for without Rangers and the Old Firm derby. And where would it leave Celtic? A football club is defined almost as much by their rivalries as by their successes. You can’t have Real Madrid without Barcelona, or AC Milan without Inter. Celtic vs. Hearts doesn’t have quite the same ring to it does it?
This debacle could mark a fundamental change to the shape of the Scottish Premier League, and the sooner that Celtic fans realise they may not be better off without Rangers, the better.