Celtic, Rangers and the North Atlantic League

November 16, 2009 at 1:10 am | Posted in General Football | 8 Comments

Recently, the notion that Scottish powerhouses Glasgow Rangers and Glasgow Celtic could join the English Premier League was declared dead. The hope was that the Premier League would swallow the Championship and call it Premier League Two with Celtic and Rangers joining in at The Premier League Two level.   This hope has now been dashed.

I think it is time for Celtic and Rangers to look again at the notion of the North Atlantic League.  Recently, a Times Online article speculated a proposed North Atlantic League would include the following teams:

Atlantic League

Celtic (Scotland) Rangers (Scotland) Hearts (Scotland) Aberdeen (Scotland) FC Porto (Portugal) Sporting Lisbon (Portugal) Benfica (Portugal) Braga (Portugal) Anderlecht (Belgium) Genk (Belgium) FC Bruges (Belgium) Standard Liège (Belgium) Ajax (Netherlands) PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands) Feyenoord (Netherlands) Heerenveen (Netherlands)

It looks pretty attactive doesn’t it?

European football is dominated by the big leagues in England, Spain, Italy and Germany, with France making a possible argument for being included in this group too.  Big clubs playing in smaller leagues such as the Dutch, Belgian, Scottish and Portuguese leagues are seeing their revenues drop to the point where they cannot compete in the Champions League. One only has to look at how things have changed since the seventies when, in one final, England’s Nottingham Forrest beat Malmo of Sweden.

The big leagues have cajoled UEFA into stacking the Champions League  in their favour.   UEFA have set up the competition in such a manner that anyone outside of this privileged circle has very little hope of doing well.  UEFA seems to do exactly as the big leagues want. The money is pouring into their coffers while the smaller country’s teams wither on the vine.

How should teams such as Celtic, Ajax, PSV, Benefica, Anderlecht and others respond? By forming the North Atlantic League.   I would certainly have a look, and so would other fans.  Right now bigger clubs in smaller European countries are being swallowed whole by the big fish from Italy, England, Spain and Germany.  It is time they made themselves bigger by forming the North Atlantic League.  I’d watch it!

Here is the Times Online Article:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/football/article642556.ece

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8 Comments »

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  1. Not going to happen, and it shouldn’t. It would weaken national football in those countries, and fans would stop following teams to away matches. Rivalries would be non-existent (ooh, I really hate Standard Liege!).

    Check out twohundredpercent on the issue:
    http://www.twohundredpercent.net/?p=2517

    • Football in these countries is already weakened because they can’t compete with the big leagues, especially since the Bosman ruling. Look at Ajax: they won the champions league back in 1995 and then were torn apart because of the Bosman ruling. The Dutch league can’t hold on to their best players because they are immediately sucked up by big clubs in Italy, Germany, England and Spain. The only solution is to team up with other big European clubs in small countries to give them better competition, higher profile and more money. I say it is going to happen and perhaps sooner than we think.

      • All smaller leagues will bleed players to the bigger leagues. Forming some contrived regional league isn’t going to change that. More money will pour into the Premier League than anywhere else, no matter what these teams do. Also, what TV company is going to pay to televise weekly matches between these teams? If I’m a fan in Scotland and one weekend I can see Rangers play Standard Liege but then next weekend it’s PSV vs. Braga, why will I tune in? And what language will it be in? The other option would be a Scottish station paying for only the Scottish games, and that kind of defeats the purpose of a regional league.

  2. These teams have to do something Brenton. They are fighting a losing battle as the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. If I were a Celtic fan I would rather see them playing in a strong league with better players. The Problem is that there is a huge gap between what Celtic has to pay to win the Scots league as opposed to what they would have to pay to win the Champs league. They can’t attract the very best because are playing inferior opposition most of the time. If I were a player and had the choice of playing against Ajax rather than Hamilton, I would rather play against Ajax. I would also rather watch my team play against Ajax. If big teams in the smaller countries pooled their resources they could attract some of the talent that won’t now even consider playing in their countries because of the inferior overall quality of the league. If you have good players, fans show up to the ground and watch the league on the tele.

  3. I agree on reviving the atlantic league but I think a west european league would be a better name. Also one way to do it could be to run a scottish and european league at the same time. Cut the SPL season in half to 22 games. By playing twice a year instead of 4 times a year.
    Then use the extra weeks for a european league with big teams from other small european countries.
    That way the domestic league would remain but with some big european teams to play.
    brentonwalters says why would we watch Liege but why would we watch Hull v Watford?

    • I agree on reviving the atlantic league but I think a west european league would be a better name. Also one way to do it could be to run a scottish and european league at the same time. Cut the SPL season in half to 22 games. By playing twice a year instead of 4 times a year.
      Then use the extra weeks for a european league with big teams from other small european countries.
      That way the domestic league would remain but with some big european teams to play.
      brentonwalters says why would we watch Liege but why would we watch Hull v Watford?

      • Thanks, friend. I think the only way to revive the big teams in small countries is to have them play against each other in a league. If, as you propose, the two leagues could run parallel, more’s the better!

  4. Good to see someone agree.
    Hopefully the people at the top can be more creative and to these sorts of ideas the league is getting bit stale.


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