For a few years now there have been indications from the SPL that one of its greatest teams is seeking pastures new. Celtic themselves do not want to relocate; they simply want a change of scenery on their away days. The proposition is for The Celts to leave their beloved Scottish Premier League and form a part of the English Premier League.
It’s perfectly logistical, assuming that Bournemouth vs Celtic wouldn’t be a lunchtime kick-off. Instead of playing the likes of St Mirren, The Hoops would face Manchester United and the other big teams of the Premier League, week in week out.
Celtic haven’t suddenly outgrown the Scottish Premier League, in fact, they are still second to Rangers in terms of league titles won. However, with each passing season, the TV rights for top-flight English football are auctioned all over the globe, at extortionate rates. Every time this happens, the EPL leaves the SPL further and further in its wake, and Celtic with it.
The situation in the SPL has been worsened since Rangers were terminated from Scottish football. This has left Celtic without a serious title challenger for the last few years. One of the reasons the EPL is so lucrative is because of its fierce competition between teams. The bereavement of Rangers has deprived Scottish football of its most famous rivalry, the Old Firm derby.
It is fully expected that the new Rangers will be promoted to the first tier this season, and many feel the traditional two-horse race in Glasgow will resume shortly after. If and when Rangers regain their elite status in Scotland, The Gers could also be considered for an EPL place, to rival Celtic for Scottish superiority in England.
However, the question remains; are Celtic even good enough to play in the best league in the world? Former manager Neil Lennon left the club to fulfil ambitions he had in England, although his next job was with Bolton Wanderers in the Championship. Of course, players like Virgil Van Dijk, Victor Wanayama and Fraser Forster have successfully graduated to the Premier League from Celtic.
Either way, the club has been used as a stepping-stone to English football for the last 10 years now. It is a long time ago since Celtic had the pedigree to hang onto world-class players like Henrik Larsson in the prime of their careers.
These are the setbacks that a move to the EPL would undoubtedly solve, with the immense increase in financial resources Celtic could hang onto its best players and invest in new talent as well. If fans don’t feel too homesick about the idea, then why not, why shouldn’t Celtic move to the Premier League?
Firstly, existing Premier League teams may fear for their place if Celtic and potentially Rangers come barging in. This would mean either an expansion of the league or for the two sides in question to begin life in the lower leagues of English football and work their way up.
Swansea City and Cardiff City have always been a part of the English football league, and have reaped the rewards. The two Welsh-based clubs still add an extra spice to their English league encounters, and this is something that Celtic would enjoy over in England as well.
However, for the last few years, Celtic’s season has hinged on one two-legged European tie in August. The Champions League qualifying round is the make or break of Celtic’s season, and a top-four finish in the EPL is undoubtedly beyond them at this point. Therefore Celtic Park would have to wait for its famous European entanglements with Barcelona.
The positives outweigh the negatives for a Celtic border cross, although it seems unlikely that the FA will sanction it. Perhaps they could invite Celtic to compete in the FA Cup as an initial experiment?
Scottish independence is a very significant issue at the moment, although in light of the growing insignificance of Scottish football, maybe this is the move that Celtic need, to remain relevant in the wide world of football.
A Celtic in the EPL is undoubtedly better than no Celtic at all.