Einstien’s fifth law: Football needs a crisis


A friend of mine who has lived on-and-off in the US watches their sports, but he is clear: the biggest US sport, American football, has vastly less significance to that society that football does across most of Europe.  In every city, town and village across Europe people gather in often miserable stadiums to bond with their neighbours and the generations gone before them.  Football defines us, in many cases more than our nationality does.

But look at US sports, even basketball and baseball, who are forever trying to compete with football, the money flowing through these industries is disproportionately high compared to the European game.  And it is not just the flow of money – it is the profits.

Without fear of relegation, or the need to perform in order to reach the profitable stages of competition, clubs can retain significant profits.  Sure, the players earn lots, but it is the shareholders who make the real money from sport in the US.

If you look at European football purely as an industry, you will come up with a plan that looks pretty much like the breakaway European Super League (ESL).  The ESL has the potential to propel the value of shares (when traded in quantity) in each of the proposed 15 permanent members (only 12 have so far committed, leaving space for Bayern Munich, PSG and Borussia Dortmund) by a factor of 10.  Your billion euro club is now worth 10 billion euros.  Do not for a second think you can appeal to their sense of tradition or decency.  I have never met anyone who has chosen not to become 10 times richer and none of these club owners are going to buck this trend.

Uefa has slowly eradicated meritocracy in the European game by conceding territory to these clubs for much of the last 20 years.  It was never going to satisfy them, all it did was rob European giants from small countries of a chance of competing at the highest level.

And while this proposal is for a midweek competition, be clear, Manchester United do not ever want to play Burnley on their weekends.  A game like this provides no commercial value, in fact, playing small English clubs denies them the opportunity cost of playing Real Madrid at the weekend.  A proposal to leave domestic football is in the post.

Sepp Blatter used to throw around that hoary old phrase “the football family”, which seemed empty until this week.  The response across the game has been universal, impressive and surprising.  The EPL, FA, Uefa, Fifa, national associations, the European Club Association and clubs across Europe were forthright in a combative response.  The football family found its voice.

The current landscape does not suit fans like me (or you, if you are reading this).  We lost an era of great clubs from small nations because our TV markets are not as valuable as other TV markets.  Titans became filler depending on which side of a border their home ground sat, it was that arbitrary.

Our ambitions are limited to hanging onto coattails of clubs who 20 years ago had scarcely won a domestic title; never mind won admiration and respect across Europe.  I want to see this changed and a return to meritocracy, where well-run clubs across the Continent can aspire to great things again.

The sovereign wealth and hedge funds that are behind this move will have run through every scenario.  This is a time to be a sports contract lawyer.  There will be money on the table to see them through some turbulence.  The rest of the football industry have legal and commercial options.  Fifa, Uefa, the ECA, the FAs and leagues of the ‘big five’ leagues must act in unison; a contractual obligation to block and ban would be a handy first step.  The game needs leadership of the Jules Rimet calibre.

It was Albert Einstien who said “every crisis in an opportunity”.  Most of our clubs need an opportunity to break free of the hegemony of these predatory clubs, so maybe Einstein’s fifth law would be ‘Football needs a crisis’.

Bring this decade’s long slide into the pockets of the hedge funds to an end.  I want a European Super League, but one based on merit, open to great and innovative clubs, that would inspire kids across the Continent to dream about winning the European Cup for their team the way I did once.

As an addendum, back in November 2004 CQN published a Plan for a European League.  The online version perished on our move away from Blogger, and I’ve not read it in 15 years, but here it is.


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  1. Once again someone with influence mentioning Celtic & *Rangers in the same breath – UEFA President Ceferin.



    This of course sits alongside almost every media operation in the UK referring to Celtic & *Rangers, as the ‘old firm’.



    The vast majority of us now hate this inference and terminology due to the corruption at the Ibrox club in the last twenty years, however it clearly illustrates that Scottish football is widely seen through an ‘old firm’ prism.



    The UEFA president’s comments once again show in the eyes of the world that Scottish football is the ‘big two’ – SFA/SPFL know this to be the case and that a set-up with one, or, other permanently missing, could not viable.



    The majority of our support accept this too – so why is there this constant campaign on here and other Celtic social media sites to denigrate those who run our club who in one way, or, another, have a similar view?



    The wellbeing of Scottish football is an existential necessity for Celtic. We have nowhere else to go – the current ESL proposal will surely increase the difficulty of the task to keep Scottish football relevant in the modern game.



    If anyone truly believes that there was a conspiracy within our club involving officers, management & players to ‘throw’ the title challenge in this 10iar year in order to complete the Ibrox ‘comeback’, then they should seek medical advice.



    This season the football department must shoulder 90% of the blame – the other 10% is due to selective & unfair treatment by SFA & SNPcult which impacted on our progress at important times during the season.

  2. HANKRAY on 20TH APRIL 2021 5:49 PM


    This proposed new football league is being run by the Americans. Celtic has a worldwide support with a sizeable fanbase in America and Canada and as one of the elite to have actually won the European Cup in historic circumstances, it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that the club could be invited into this league. The big problem of course would be where the players to compete at this level and the money to sign them would come from?






    A cautionary tale would be the famous rebels that were the Oakland Raiders…..



    Now the Las Vegas Raiders cos the city of Vegas seduced the franchise with the lure of a brand new stadium.



    I don’t want us to become the second Boston Celtics….



    HH jg

  3. Which side of the boardroom will win the argument ? Will it be Keane or Kennedy ? The suspense is not killing me…

  4. this is the perfect opportunity for clubs like celtic and Ajax to call out the current “champions” league structure. Champions should ALWAYS auto qualify – the rest can co-efficient for places.



    Unfortunately , greed and power favors the big money leagues!



    Similar situation than the ESL although ESL is more of a closed shop and will NEVER happen. Its scaremongering tactic to get even more power with UEFA

  5. UEFA have already conceded the principle of sporting merit with the two wild card invites for the next CL tv deal. The door has been opened now and while it may not happen this year, it will happen. UEFA should have faced these sides down a long time ago. They’ve now holed themselves below the waterline in their attempts to placate them.

  6. There is one constant OldFirm supporter on here for sure.



    I couldnt give a rat-ass if we never played them again.



    I was quite inspired by the Derry City documentary last night, I wish we would pack on up and apply to another league, but the PLC wont ever do it.

  7. Gene……….good point, as a recent poster gave me a laugh when he described the current European competition as the Non Champions League.


    If Celtic did get an invite as former European Cup winners into the proposed American elite league i can imagine a rush of investors being attracted to Celtic Park.

  8. Guardiola dissing the Super League on the news.


    He does everything for football purity apparently

  9. lets all do the huddle on




    Las Vegas Celtic would have a nice ring to it



    ive always wanted to go there



    it has all my favourite vices



    and add Celtic into that and im in



    midweek games might be a struggle to get to though!

  10. Gene on 20th April 2021 6:01 pm



    Elite clubs my arse



    Spurs last league win in 1961





    And in 1951 making twice in total

  11. JHB on 20th April 2021 6:03 pm



    This of course sits alongside almost every media operation in the UK referring to Celtic & *Rangers, as the ‘old firm’.





    As they also talk about 55 Championships lie. Should we just accept that as well?

  12. It seems Sky may be softening their rhetoric re the new super league.



    I presume their presenters were venting personally before the exec were able to digest and frame the message.



    Developing story

  13. GENE on 20TH APRIL 2021 6:01 PM



    Elite clubs my arse Spurs last league win in 1961



    *won the double that year, first club in the 20th century tae dae that. First team in the UK tae win a European trophy, the Lavvy Cup in in 1963 and the UEFA Cup twice in 1972 and 1984.

  14. Tontine Tim………..fair enough but they never got next nor near the final of the European Cup.

  15. The copying over of the American Sports franchise model is the ultimate game for these billionaires.


    They buy the brand name, and have seen the global interest in that brand, and know they can sell everything and anything on that name, the actual game is a side show.



    Sure they may even take it on the road, clubs with their own planes, half the matches at a home stadium, but the other half on tour ala Les Mis.



    United v Real, in a 5 game play offs , in Shangia, Beijing, Hong Kong , Singapore and Macau.



    Look at the idiocy of Wrestling, that will be the outcome.

  16. This may be a bit long, didnae start out that way until I took the dug out and usually that’s when my mind starts tae clear up, so bear with me or as Dionne Warwick would say “just walk/scroll on by”.



    Woke up this morning and didnae feel fine and I didnae have anything special on my mind, in fact there was nothing there, nae anger, hurt or even disappointment.



    As I said yesterday prior tae ko if we don’t win there should be a stewards inquiry and as it turns out no intae the mitb who was his usual devious scheitd but into what has turned good players intae a bunch of fearties, especially within goal range.



    I’ve been searching my mind tae find a season that mirrored this and couldnae find one, the closest I could get was our failure tae win the 10 but we were top of the League going intae the second half of the season, Davie Hay’s request for money tae buy Stevie Clarke and Joe McLaughlin was another when we were in a similar position, and of course Black Sunday a further collapse by us.



    Let’s not forget our stopping their 10, even though bader handed naesurname his jotters in October announcing the appointment of aardvark who wisnae coming until the season was over but demanded the fat geordie bassa and the flying pig be dumped as well, the former with around 9 league games left to play as well as possibly 3 SC ties, we only won the title by 2 points and a 2 goal difference.



    But nowhere could I find a total collapse like has just occurred, this time last year it was all about TIAR, trebles and slippy with his motley crew heading back home tae think again, as it turned out for sevco it was the perfect storm.



    It was only when I read this post this morning that another woeful season came tae mind.



    PAUL THE SPARK on 19TH APRIL 2021 6:46 AM


    The rebuild is probably the biggest we have required for a long time. It’s almost criminal the way the squad has been managed. We are now left with loanees, want aways and players of limited ability. When Martin O’Neill arrived he already had Lambert, Lubo, Henrik, Petrov, Mjallby and Jackie.



    *Yet each of those with the exception of our wee talisman played in the 0-4 humiliation at hades one week after Lubo collected his first winner’s medal against the sheep. Included in that side were Tom Boyd and Mark Viduka.



    That hun side incidentally, even though it contained amaloser, wilson and dodds, was a lot better than the one we faced yesterday.



    Yet that season initially promised so much. We had brought back the legendary Kenny as Director of Football; although the Bunnet wanted an EGM called in Dublin tae prevent us appointing that “effin golf pro” allegedly his words.



    However, Chief Executive Alan McDonald got his way in hiring his hero. Frank O’Callaghan was named Chairman.



    Alan straight away extended Henrik’s contract including a substantial salary raise even though the board, including the Bunnet, had already decided to sell him as Manure and the Arse were prepared to pay the big penny for him, however the appointment of Kenny would eventually come back tae bite him in the chorus and verse.



    Kenny for some inexplicable reason brought in the untested barnes as head coach who signed big Tebily, Bobby Petta, Stan Petrov, Kharin, Berkovic, Ian Wright, and the appropriately named Scheitd. So the biscuit tin was well and truly opened.



    Of those signings, at the time, if we had been given the chance tae drive them tae the airport there would have been no shortage of volunteers.



    And yet at the end of the year barnes had been voted manager of the month for December, even without the injured Henrik the smsm indicated the winter break had come at the wrong time for us as we headed off tae Portugal.



    Now we have no idea what transpired out there but on return we dropped 2 points at Rugby Park and a further 3 at home tae the calvinists after being 2 up.



    That wasn’t the worse though as 3 days later it was supercaley etc, 6 of the team that had wiped the floor with deidco, on the last game of the millennium, who were saved by the woodwork in a 1-1 draw, capitulated tae the jacobites.



    Kenny then was ordered back fae his golf trip tae take over the side with barnes, black and mcdermott sent back doon the road.



    First game in Kenny’s reign and we head up tae Dens Park, no a welcoming place for us in the past, and thump the home side 3-0, 4 days later with Ian Wright being also sent back south we dispatch the templars in a pretty drab semi at a hauf empty hunden with the only highlight being the joy on Lubo’s face at scoring the winner.



    So here we were in the final of another LC, we had found a wee bit of decent form and goals from big Vidar and Tommy Johnston handed us a trophy in this controversial season.



    I had been hame in the summer reveling in a 5-0 win up at the pen and here I was heading back right after this final.



    In a span of 12 years I was hame every year, sometimes twice a year and on one occasion 3 times and very few were for vacation, family concerns for the most and this was one of them.



    That Sunday I walked down fae the Vale Hospital tae the Station Bar, home of the Renton CSC at the time, tae watch the game, I was pretty confident we would do them, just as I was yesterday, although back then it was the aftermath of the LC success.



    I had forgotten how poor this sheep side were we had already taken 18 goals off them, 11 up at the pen, with none conceded, in fact they finished bottom of the League and were due to take part in a three-team play-off with Dunfermline and Falkirk, but the latters stadium did not meet SPL criteria, the play-off did not take place and the sheep were spared the ignominy of relegation for the first time in their history.



    Anyway we were well and truly gubbed, it was so bad that even the mercenary kannyselfish, scored for them, I knew then that my former idol Kenny’s tea was oot.



    That night in a local pub the early editions of the paper were out, one young lhad shouts me over, “hey Tontine come and see this” and it was bader announcing his 1000 year reich.



    Walking down the road on a dreich night dodging puddles and dug’s scheitd, how bad can this get I thought.



    That next day I went intae Dumbarton tae visit family, dreadful morning bucketing doon, could it get any worse.



    On the way back tae the station the sun was out, as I passed the Common young lads were playing fitba, an assortment of tops on with the majority Celtic ones, nae deidco though, this was Dumbarton right enough.



    On the train as we passed the Tontine, same scenario with Celtic tops tae the fore and nae hun ones, again this was the Renton birthplace of our first captain.



    Getting off the train at Balloch a young bhoy out on Station Brae was playing keepie up and you’ve got it wearing the hoops. We were down mibbees but not out.



    As we now know bader’s spoofing never happened as we went in search of a new manager and more heads would indeed roll, including Kenny, Frank O’Callaghan and Alan McDonald, you don’t spend 5 million on scheitd, pun intended, finish 21 points behind your greatest rivals and walk away scot free.



    As the season came tae a conclusion Alan McDonald was sent out tae find us a new manager, just when it looked as if he had secured Big Cup winner Guss Hiddink the Kaiser stepped in to bring in MON.



    Think about that for a minute, a EPL manager who had won his team two LC’s as well as promotion to the big League is preferred tae a well renowned manager at club and national level, the competition for the top job at Parkheid was breathtaking.



    As we all know the rest is history as we entered one of the best time in our lives although I sometimes wonder what would have happened should Guus been offered the job.



    Since we deferred tae MON his teams have won 3 Dutch titles, 1 Dutch Cup and 1 FA Cup as well as leading national sides’ tae 4th place in the WC as well as the semis of the Euros.



    Anyway, back tae MON, sure he made some great singings, Thommo, Joos, Didier, Ramon the Treble as he called him, Lenny and the big hunskelper who was financially swapped for big Mark who he initially wanted tae pair with Ghod.



    He didnae do a clear out as was anticipated just Mark as I mentioned above and Vidar were both sold. Scheitd, Burchill and Berkovic were loaned, the latter tae the beast.



    The Grim Reiper retired due tae injury, big Stubbsie was also lost tae illness which necessitated the signings of Ramon and Lenny.



    He turned wee Didier from a striker/winger intae one of the best right backs in my lifetime and rejuvenated the careers of big Dolph, Jackie Mac and Bobby Petta.



    This is what a good manager can do, also brought his own staff in and left the training tae them.



    Can this be replicated, why not, as the song says “we’ve done it before and we’ll do it again”.

  17. Radio Scotland have to put the deid team and their pitch before Celtic, although they were quoting the UEFA President who put CELTIC first. Says it all about Scottish media.

  18. Saint Stivs on 20th April 2021 6:14 pm



    There is one constant OldFirm supporter on here for sure.



    I couldnt give a rat-ass if we never played them again.



    I was quite inspired by the Derry City documentary last night, I wish we would pack on up and apply to another league, but the PLC wont ever do it.





    I would love to see Celtic join a lower tier of English football. Leave JHB’s 55 time Champions behind. We would soon grow and get the top of whatever pyramid would exist for us. Yes, forgo European football, but eventually get into some new form of it. Imagine, leaving JHBs (well seeming the majority of Celtic fans think like him) 55 time Champions to whither and die. We don’t need them, but sadly they need us and that is why they created the sectarian (Bill Struth?) rivalry in the first place.




  19. JHB on 20TH APRIL 2021 6:03 PM



    ‘The vast majority of us now hate this inference and terminology due to the corruption at the Ibrox club in the last twenty years, however it clearly illustrates that Scottish football is widely seen through an ‘old firm’ prism.’






    The reason people hate the old firm tag is that the huns died eight years ago and contemporaneous use of the term implies that they survived.



    They didn’t.



    They went out of existence and a new club was formed, but we are supposed to ignore that fact and pretend it never happened.

  20. morton v hearts on bbc alba.



    sunshine in greenock, surface looks great, a nice night for a game of fitba.



    craig gordon in a stupid orange kit, wtf.



    cmon the ton.

  21. Oh, Dear Was it all just a power play ?



    Sky News@SkyNews



    European Super League: Chelsea preparing documents to formally withdraw from competition, Sky News understands

  22. Sorry if already mentioned. But I read somewhere that lindsell train are sizeable shareholders in Juve.

  23. Saint Stivs on 20th April 2021 7:08 pm



    Scully – Primrose Ure, more than anyone created it.







    What a lovely name.



    Oh well, seems I have to accept that most Celtic supporters didn’t care if Celtic lost in a Derby, went out of the Cup, lost Broonie his chance of going out in the sun, and also shouldn’t have enjoyed the Beautiful Sundays, and best of all, feel ashamed of boasting about the historic Quadruple treble. Maybe those who say Celtic were lucky in 67 and didn’t beat any big teams on route to the final and then beat a complacent, ageing Milan in the Final were right – at least that’s what MOST Celtic supporters think.

  24. Saint Stivs, how often have you read me mention him. Ironically when the Renton proposed a professional league tae prevent the “scotch professors” from going south as well as their 2 best players heading up the road tae Jon a newly created club in the east end of the toon. They advocated that John Glass, the Peter Lawwell of his day, run the League with an unanimous agreement including Bob Wilson’s grampa.



    Also when the 2 bigots at the scottish freemason association wanted our flag pulled down it was the deid team backing us that eventually curtailed this, the reason as was told to me years later was financial, we are far more important than them.

  25. !!Bada Bing!! on

    Lennon quick enough to take the coin off Sky,weeks after calling them out,and banning them….aye right…

  26. GENE on 20TH APRIL 2021 7:26 PM


    Man citeh pulling out






    And Chelski.

  27. Athletico pulling out and Barca are having a fans vote.



    It’s dead in the water.

  28. The Media have certainly pulled out all the stops to ensure that the proposed ESL would not become a fact.

  29. “LETS ALL DO THE HUDDLE on 20TH APRIL 2021 6:17 PM




    Las Vegas Celtic would have a nice ring to it



    midweek games might be a struggle to get to though!”



    Huh! Call yourself a supporter?