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MOST football fans in Scotland do not support Celtic.

 

The majority are not Rangers fans either. MORI and Gallup do not exactly do polls on this sort of stuff so there is no way to be scientific about it, but maybe each of them has about 35-40% of the people who follow a team and the rest are shared around all the other clubs. What those of all allegiances are coming to terms with - whether they rejoice in the fact or resent it - is that Celtic have turned the Scottish game into a one-party state.

 

For most of its history the league title has been an endless tennis rally between Celtic and Rangers, the championship switching from one to the other every year or two. Only now and again has one of them emerged into the clear daylight of a sustained period of dominance. Celtic won six in a row from 1905, Rangers five from 1927. In the late 1960s and early '70s there were times when it looked as if Jock Stein had built a force that would never be caught.

 

When Rangers emulated Stein's nine consecutive titles - latterly buttressed by the bountiful revenue stream of the Champions League - it felt as if Sir David Murray, Graeme Souness and Walter Smith had moved the Ibrox club to a position of power which would obliterate any competition. And what happened? The Lisbon Lions era was built around Stein's individual genius and when his powers waned Celtic were drawn back into the pack. In the late 1990s Rangers grew old and tired, and misspent their resources, to the point a rebuilt Celtic got back among the titles.

 

Currently the record books show only two consecutive league wins for Celtic but that is the equivalent of taking a snapshot of Usain Bolt in the early stages of a 100m race. Everyone can be pretty sure of what is coming next. At Tannadice on Saturday there were the latest renditions of a tune that the Celtic support has been singing for quite a while: "Here we go, 10 in a row." It's part-celebration, part-triumphalism, part-threat to you-know-who.

 

There are 40 clubs which have long grown accustomed to the idea of having no real chance of being Scottish champions any time soon, and one which has a demanding fanbase unused to being denied anything for long. It is common these days to hear people talk about how Celtic have the potential to begin a period of unprecedented domination "if they use their money wisely". What they mean is that if Celtic keep running themselves prudently, employing the right manager and players, staying out of debt and always having money to spend to replenish a winning squad, it is going to take an almighty effort for Rangers to ever catch them.

 

The apocalyptic scenario for Rangers is that Celtic keep getting into the Champions League group every year. They secured £20m in Uefa money alone last season and now they have another £16m this season. That is almost twice as much dough as Rangers raised from a one-off share issue. If Celtic pull off another two qualifications in 2014 and 2015 that would amount to around £80m washing into the club before Rangers even have the chance to take them on in the league.

 

Given that all the fundamentals - season-ticket, commercial and sponsorship income - are otherwise broadly comparable between the Glasgow clubs, the long-term difference between them will be Champions League income. And that means that when a player's agent tries to bring a talent to Glasgow (the same player is often offered to both clubs at the same time), Celtic should be able to pay higher transfer fees and wages every time they both want the same man.

 

All of this is a chilling thought around Ibrox. Horrifying, in fact. The Uefa golden goose that was once Rangers', and then shared, is now exclusively Celtic's. They can thank David Murray and Craig Whyte for that. It used to be the rest of Scottish football that was excluded at one or both of the Old Firm's expense; now Rangers are out in the cold too. Rangers have been in the Champions League group stage 10 times and Celtic are about to play in it for the eighth time.

 

At a very conservative estimate (Champions League income has grown over the past 20 years) that is about £180m of Uefa money the Old Firm have enjoyed, in addition to their already vastly superior regular income. Last season Motherwell made around £195,000 from Uefa, and Hearts and St Johnstone £75,000 each - a tiny fraction of Celtic's £20m. The champions' excellent campaign also meant £100,000 in "solidarity" payments from Uefa for all other top-flight clubs, but that amounts to (welcome) crumbs. The Champions League embodies the concept of a self-perpetuating elite in which the rich get richer.

 

When I spoke to a couple of SPFL Premiership club directors about how they reacted to Celtic generating Uefa income on a scale which makes it impossible for them to be given anything more than the odd bloody nose over the course of a season, one said: "It almost doesn't concern us. We're resigned to them always winning the league now and our competition is to finish second. Most clubs are happy for them to get into the group because it means a bit of Uefa money for us. It's probably very different for Rangers."

 

Every empire falls eventually. The eras of Stein and Souness/Smith came to natural ends. Rosenborg show that even monopolising a country's Champions League access does not guarantee permanent rule. But Celtic's position of strength, and their advantages, are greater than any board of directors have known since Scottish football began.

 

By Michael Grant (Herald)

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I mean no offence, but really. Ugh.

 

Were my laptop only wipe clean

 

BRAHIM HEMDANI STOP READING HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I would only use that article to clean up after doing my No.2's.

Edited by andy steel
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And they wonder why no one will sponsor the SPFL ? Who will sponsor a one horse race where 11 of the 12 teams in the so-called showpiece premiership league have no ambition to win it?

That's why SPFL clubs are giving away so many freebies and 'buy one get three free' season tickets. The SPFL premiership attendances are fictitious for many of the clubs.

Scottish football began its slow, lingering death when Rangers were voted out the SPL in summer 2012. You may not agree with much of what CG said but he was bang on about trying to get Rangers out of Scottish football. It's commercial madness for Rangers to be playing against Stenhousemuir & Arbroath. England may not be an option but some newly-formed Northern European league from the benelux & scandanavian countries may be an option in the future.

Celtic ? couldn't give a damn about them. We don't need them as our attendances show. As their domestic attendances decline and they cover empty seats with flags(a premiership practice it seems) they rely on CL participation but for how long will the easy passage be there for them ? why should clubs like lyon & PSV be given harder qualification ties after coming second in much stronger leagues than the SPFL? How much longer will they accept that? We shall see

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I simply C&P what I wrote over on FF ...

 

Did the Old Firm receive 180m from CL appearances? That would mean that CL money was always as much as we or them receive for continued presence in that league. But neither we nor them made the group stages all too regularly and even if, received anywhere of the money that was shelled out these last few years.

 

It is of course early days yet in the season, but I look at the table and see ICT sitting at the top, with Scum FC keeping pace thanks to a very late goal at Tannadice. They even had to do the same at home against ICT the week before. Obviously, no-one imagines that ICT will sustain this challenge for long, but football fortune is capricious (just ask Barca).

 

As for us ... we still attract the Laws and Templetons and Peraltas and Dalys. We need to be shrewd here still, but it is not that because of their money that Scum FC is awash with quality or can attract über-players.

 

And while I am at iot ...

PAUL PATON believes a blatant dive from Anthony Stokes cost Dundee United a point.

 

The Tannadice midfielder was angry after the Irishman tumbled to the deck under a challenge from Stuart Armstrong with just three minutes to go.

 

Stokes then rubbed salt in the wound by curling home the free-kick awarded by referee Crawford Allen, having also moved the ball back a yard before hitting it.

 

Paton said: “It wasn’t me who made the tackle but I could see it was clearly a dive.

 

“I don’t think there was any contact but you still have to put the ball in the net and Stokes did that superbly.

 

“At the end of the day he has gone down, there is nothing we can do about that.

 

“As I say, I felt it was a dive but that’s balanced by the fact it was a great free-kick.

 

“We had a similar free-kick in the same position and hit the wall. That’s the difference.

 

“Maybe that’s why they are the champions and we aren’t.”

 

When told Stokes had moved the ball, Paton said: “Maybe that’s why our wall was about 15 yards away when he hit it. I don’t know what the ref was doing for that free-kick with the wall but it seemed pretty far away.

 

“We just have to take it on the chin and move on. We can’t hold a grudge over these things as they happen in a game.”

 

Paton preferred to concentrate on the positives for United.

 

For long periods, the hosts matched Celtic, with the midfielder enjoying a terrific battle with Joe Ledley and Scot Brown in the engine room. Paton said: “The boys were excellent, they worked hard and limited Celtic to very few chances.

 

“I think we can feel a wee bit unfortunate.

 

Will Lunny cite Stokes, I wonder ...

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It was a dozen years past that saw the Dandy Dons visit ra Stydome and whilst suffering the usual several goal thrashing, the travelling support sand, "we hate Rangers more than you", with unmatched gusto. The usual suspects in the media thought this was capital, their green'n'grey hooped heroes won handsomely and the red and white clad sheepies provided the comic cabaret.

 

The Dandies in both print and broadcast media remain anxious to be seen to fellate their Yahoo superiors. Willing catamites, one and all. Michael Grant lionises ra Sellik in the Herald and on BBC Radio Scotland. Liam McLeod's commentary last week against Shakhtar was overwrought with superlatives. Rheinhart Gordon pleaded with ra Sellik, "to do it for Scotland"; then opened the mic' for the listenership, "to drink in the incredible atmosphere".

 

Abergreen supporters equal green'n'grey hooped aspirations by proxy.

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This is the reason we need a Dave King figure.

 

A man who can offset the financial gulf by investing his own cash.

 

I disagree entirely with that. We need a club that is self-sustaining, we should never, ever get back to requiring external investment to compete. If King (or anyone else) comes into the club it should be to ensure it is run correctly, not to become another sugar-daddy. One of the things I like about McColl is his insistence that he doesn't want to put money (or take it out). Grant overplays the gulf, we are still very capable of competing with the Tims over a season.

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Did the Old Firm receive 180m from CL appearances? That would mean that CL money was always as much as we or them receive for continued presence in that league. But neither we nor them made the group stages all too regularly and even if, received anywhere of the money that was shelled out these last few years.

 

. . .

 

As for us ... we still attract the Laws and Templetons and Peraltas and Dalys. We need to be shrewd here still, but it is not that because of their money that Scum FC is awash with quality or can attract über-players.

 

You're right about Champions League money. It doesn't guarantee success. It's very easy to make bad purchases.

 

We need to learn from what has happened to us and make better use of our resources.

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