Belfast Telegraph

Friday 11 July 2014

Celtic and Rangers urged to continue bid to play in England

Celtic manager Tony Mowbray

The Old Firm should not give up their dream of playing in England, according to Stephen Morrow, head of the Department of Sports Studies at Stirling University.

At a London hotel this afternoon, Premier League clubs overwhelmingly rejected a proposal by Bolton chairman Phil Gartside to allow Celtic and Rangers to join the English top flight.

The idea was dismissed as neither "desirable or viable" and appeared to end hopes, in the short-to-medium term at least, of the Glasgow giants moving to more lucrative pastures.

The rejection is a particular blow to Rangers, whose financial results released this morning showed net debt to June 30, 2009 had increased by around £10million to £31.1million.

However, Morrow still believes the Old Firm's move to England is an idea whose time has yet to come.

"I'm not too sure that the door has been closed on the Old Firm," he told Press Association Sport.

"I think today's decision came too prematurely.

"I don't think anyone was expecting anything different; this was the start of the process.

"In my opinion, what will happen is that the pressure for change will come from other places, from someone like Sky television.

"Interest may come in the future when the product needs freshening up.

"It has to be a win-win situation for teams but any talk of the Old Firm at this time could mean a lose-situation for some of the clubs.

"But today's meeting was a bit of a side-show."

Morrow believes Rangers will have to work hard under the current circumstances to clear their debt.

"Today's decision leaves Celtic and Rangers where they were," he said.

"They have to work within the Scottish marketplace.

"Rangers' debt will be hard to eradicate playing in Scotland.

"The key to it is Champions League football but the Old Firm are constrained by the media monies in Scotland so that can only go so far.

"What is also needed is a better management of the cost base."

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