|'Old Firm' soccer rivalry faces uncertainty||| Print ||
|Written by Emma Brown|
|Friday, 09 March 2012 09:24|
Dating back more than a century, the bitter rivalry between Glasgow football teams, Celtic and Rangers, better known in Scotland as ‘Old Firm,’ could be coming to end this month as the financially strapped Rangers face liquidation.
The club’s current predicament is largely being blamed on the financial mismanagement of Sir David Murray, Ranger’s chairman from 1988-2011, who announced when he took over that, "For every five pounds Celtic spend, we will spend 10."
According to BBC Scotland news website reporter Brian Ponsonby, “This cocktail of ego, success and unquestioning support, saw Murray sanction moves that would eventually push Rangers to the edge of the financial precipice.”
When Murray sold his majority shares last May, he left the team 75 million pounds ($117 million) in debt.
Under the 10-month stewardship of current chairman Craig Whyte, Rangers has accrued an additional 9 million pound debt.
Last month the team was forced into administration (similar to Chapter 11 in the U.S), but an agreement could not be reached between the administrators and creditors.
In a last-ditch effort to save the team, negotiations were entered into between the team's management and players over proposed salary cuts, but senior Rangers director Dave King announced yesterday that the negotiations were unsuccessful. Liquidation, he said, is 'inevitable.'
However, the administrators have refused to rule out the possibility of setting up a 'newco,' which is essentially a new company set up in the guise of an existing football club, with a view to assuming its likeness, assets and league membership; but, this 'newco' would have to apply to the Scottish Premier League for admittance, and that is not guaraneed.
In his column for the Scottish paper The Guardian, journalist Kevin McCarra wrote the demise of Rangers would have negative consequences for their hated rivals Celtic.
While Celtic's chief executive, Peter Lawwell, said his team is not dependent on Rangers, McCarra pointed out that, “His stadium would no longer be packed if Scottish Premier League titles became a foregone conclusion – given that the remaining clubs are too small and lacking in revenue to pose a sustained threat,” to Celtic.
Regardless, few Celtic fans seem saddened by the prospect that their bitter rivals could soon be no more.
This is due, in large part, to the religious animosity that exists between the teams' opposing fans, with Catholics supporting Celtic, and Protestants supporting Rangers.
Glasgow resident, and avid Celtic supporter, Conor O’Neill, told thedailyplanet.com that he looks forward to seeing Rangers go.
“I will be absolutely delighted to see them go as will almost anyone who supports Celtic, “ O’Neill told thedailyplanet.com.
“I'll miss the Old Firm games and the feeling of beating Rangers, but at Celtic Park the songs are all about Rangers dying; ‘Having a party, when Rangers die,’ and ‘Jelly and ice-cream when Rangers die.’”
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