Since October last year, when I first predicted the SPL would vote to gift a Newco-Rangers into the league, some people ‘close to Celtic’ have cynically held to the view that our club would be the only ones to vote against the proposal.
Plenty has happened since then, most notably fan pressure has been brought to bear on our SPL colleagues, so much so that a majority of them have publicly declared their intention to vote against admitting Newco. This should be a forgone conclusion.
There remains some unforeseen dynamics, however. We now know that the SPL were preparing the ground to present a fait accompli for the Scottish Football League to admit Newco directly into the First Division as far back as the first week in April, long before clubs lined up to reject Newco’s entrance to the SPL.
In short, you were sold a story of clubs choosing sport over money when, in fact, they planned to choose money with an accommodation they believed they could sell to their fans.
There remains plenty of uncertainty. Media reports from yesterday’s SFL meeting indicated that Newco would receive support to be placed into the First Division, however, media reports have often missed the target on this issue. The chance that SFL clubs will reject Newco is real enough, so much so that as recently as yesterday some of well-informed cynics remained to be convinced that there would be more than one vote against putting Newco into the SPL, despite public pronouncements.
I don’t believe any of the clubs who have publicly stated their intentions to vote No honestly believed they were consigning Newco to the Third Division, but none are now able to vote against the wishes of their fans. You can understand why some have briefed journalists that today’s vote might not happen.
If you are looking for some grand plan behind this, don’t bother, there isn’t one. Our game looks like a shambles because it is a shambles. Scottish football’s 768-game season is, in fact, a grand indulgence, paid for by just four games.
This fact is now inescapable and will ultimately be brought to bear on whatever cobbled-together accommodation emerges in the next few weeks. Let’s acknowledge our domestic sport is no longer viable and start asking the proper question: what next?