Ally McCoist backs Charles Green’s exit strategy but insists ‘Scotland is important’
Rangers manager Ally McCoist has added his tuppenceworth, saying he would “settle” for the top league in Scotland, although he backed Green’s right to explore the possibilities of a move down south. He also excoriated the lack of “sporting integrity” in restructuring leagues mid-season, and McCoist certainly has a valid point there.
Talk of Rangers moving south is all so much hot air, however. The migration to England will not happen, unless there is a referendum of a different kind and the people of Scotland vote to become English.
Ibrox chief executive Green, in particular, is wasting his breath because, as yet, he does not fully understand the true nature of football administrators.
Their self-preservation, their self-interest, comes before anything else and they are simply not going to allow a situation where clubs can join another country’s league on a whim.
For, if that were to happen, clubs would automatically gravitate to the big countries and there would be no need for so many men – and they nearly always are men – in blazers to run so many leagues.
The blazers will kill any extra-national move, for certain, but football is indeed a funny old game and McCoist, for one, has been ruminating on Green’s thoughts to see what could make a move to England possible. And first off, he accepts that Rangers would have to begin at the bottom tier all over again.
“Starting at the bottom in England would be the only way we could do it,” said McCoist.
“I can’t sit here and moan about sporting integrity and then try to go straight into the Premier League.
“That wouldn’t sit well with a lot of people and the irony wouldn’t be lost on them. But if you started in League Two and earned the right to work your way up – like, say, Cheltenham – then you can understand that concept better than Rangers and Celtic being shoved into the middle of the Premiership.”
And it would have to be both halves of the Old Firm who would move.
McCoist added: “I’m of the opinion that, if it were to happen, it would certainly have to involve both clubs, due to the appeal, size and stature of the clubs more than anything.”
Aware that he was directly contradicting Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell, who said his club are “going to look after our own business,” McCoist added: “I’m trying to put myself in the shoes of people down south and I don’t think they would do it twice.
“I don’t think they would take Rangers one year and then take Celtic in three years or vice-versa.
“I may be wrong but I think it would be more logical if it was to happen that they did the two of them at the same time.”
Attracting top players would be “100 times easier” if Rangers and Celtic went to England, said McCoist, pictured.
“Straightaway, if you get into England the sky is the limit,” he added.
“It’s all ifs and buts, but Rangers and Celtic in a top league in Britain would be as powerful as anything, apart from Manchester United who are arguably the biggest club in the world along with Real Madrid.”
Keeping a Rangers feeder team in the SFL might maintain the link to Scotland, mused McCoist: “Contrary to what a lot of people might think, Scottish football is very important to us all, and to me, so the conscience thing would play a part.
“Of course, the supporters of other clubs would think it was great for the Scottish game if Rangers and Celtic left – and that might be the case. But we’ve been part of Scottish football for 140 years so it’s not a relationship you would want to end without giving it some serious thought.”
McCoist did concede that some sort of European league might be the way ahead for Rangers and Celtic, saying: “I would think, and it’s just an opinion, if there was going to be something happening, it would be more European than British.”
A new European league would need a lot of new administrators, and Charles Green might note that, while turkeys wouldn’t vote for Christmas, they would certainly vote themselves more feed.
Time for a European charm offensive by the Yorkshireman?