I’ve said for a while that very few people realise the enormity of what happened in Scottish football in 2012. Some thought there would be a three-year blip before ‘normality’ was restored. Until very recently prevailing perception is that the current ‘abnormal’ circumstances may last 10 years. The old normal isn’t coming back.
When I talked about how few people realised the permanent consequences of Rangers liquidation on the Scottish football to my brother, he was of the view that the penny wouldn’t drop until Newco were in their second season in the Premiership.
They had all the excuses in the world when they were in the lower leagues, and a genuinely good excuse during their first season in the top flight, but when things don’t improve in the second season, a retrenchment will start.
By then it will be evident that the legendary gap below Celtic is huge, that Newco are effectively cannon fodder, that their fans are a cash cow topping up the coffers of every club they visit (including Celtic), but that no matter what they pay for their season tickets, Newco will always be underfunded.
Season ticket sales at current levels are not sustainable to watch a team fail so miserably. Even this miserable team is not sustainable with the current business model. The retrenchment will be real and painful. Questions are now being asked about how they get themselves out of this mess (16 years too late). There will be no answer.
They will win the odd game against Celtic, and pick up a cup occasionally (if Ross County can do it anyone can), but Newco will only win the league if Celtic get their big move. Many football fans in Scotland will live the rest of their lives only seeing Celtic win the league. Just think of that for a moment. Buying your losers ticket each season will be a painful business. Some will find other things to occupy themselves with.
The real question that should be asked, is how sustainable is a Rangers club that’s as much chance of winning the title as St Johnstone? The answer will be evident by this time next season.