Former Rangers hero on British League plans and why he wishes it had been in place seven years ago

Stuart McCall has poured cold water on renewed talk of Rangers and Celtic being parachuted into the English game to take part in a British league.
Stuart McCall played for both Everton and Rangers but thinks a British League is unrealistic  (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)Stuart McCall played for both Everton and Rangers but thinks a British League is unrealistic  (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
Stuart McCall played for both Everton and Rangers but thinks a British League is unrealistic (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

The subject has reared its head once again following the European Super League climbdown earlier this week. Six top English clubs announced their intention to join a new midweek competition before quickly withdrawing from the project following fierce criticism from fans.

McCall played on both sides of the Border for two of the biggest clubs in the land in Rangers and Everton. However, he’s not confident a plan to accommodate the Old Firm in England can ever become reality.

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“This has been going on for years now,” said the 56-year-old, whose third spell as Bradford City manager came to an end at the end of last year. “I remember being down in England and this being talked about around 20 years ago. I thought for the Scottish game financially it wouldn’t be good.

“But if I was a Motherwell, Aberdeen, Hibs, Hearts or Dundee United supporter then it gives you a real competitive edge to the league. If I was one of them then yeah, I would think we can go into the league season and think about winning it. It would be more of a level playing field. But if you look at the financial aspect for Scottish football, the big broadcasters, I would think, might go away from it. Fans of both clubs would enjoy something fresh and different, but I just can’t see it happening to be honest.

"How would they do if it did happen? Like most things it would come down to finances. There would be a couple of seasons to settle if they went in at the top end. They couldn’t afford to spend millions on players straight away like the Man City’s, Liverpool’s and Manchester United do. Then there’s the question of do they start at the bottom level or what? Just like the Super League, I don’t give it much thought as I don’t see it happening.”

Others believe it is inevitable. McCall wishes it had been established by 2014 because then he would have a Scottish title win with Motherwell on his managerial CV. With Rangers in League One that season as they climbed back up the pyramid, McCall led the Fir Park side to second that year behind Celtic. “I would have won the league with Motherwell a few seasons ago if they weren’t there!” he said.

The former Scotland midfielder believes it could re-energise the Scottish game if clubs other than Rangers and Celtic felt they had a chance of winning the league. Aberdeen were the last non-Old Firm side to do so under Alex Ferguson in 1985.

"What is the ambition of Aberdeen, Hearts and Hibs?” McCall asked. “They are aiming to be third. When I was at Motherwell we aimed to be in the top six. So if you took Rangers and Celtic out of it, I would imagine the fans of half a dozen or so clubs would think they can win the title.

“The league would be more competitive,” he added. “Imagine going on and winning the league. From a fan point of view that would be fantastic. You could actually say Motherwell won the league!”

Stuart McCall was promoting exclusively live Premier Sports coverage of Hibernian v Motherwell this Saturday from 4.30pm and Rangers v St Johnstone this Sunday from 6pm. Premier Sports is available on Sky, Virgin TV and the Premier Player. Prices start from £10.99 per month.

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