Early Doors

‘Arry backs New Firm

Early Doors

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Spurs manager Harry Redknapp is no stranger to money-spinning ideas that get people's backs up, and he has waded into that most interminable of debates: should Celtic and Rangers join the Premier League.

Bolton chief Phil Gartside's ridiculous plan to add the Old Firm to a new two-tiered top flight has been endorsed by David Moyes and Martin O'Neill, but Redknapp is the first boss with no links to the Scottish game to come out and support the idea.

Redknapp, aiming to endear himself to fans north of the border by name-checking an obscure 1990s Scottish sketch show, said: "Absolutely, I would welcome Celtic and Rangers to English football if they wanted to play down here. No doubt about it. I'm sure they would be good for the English game.

"We are talking about two huge football clubs and if they were to join our league you would be looking at great games in great stadiums."

Redknapp is at least half-right; there would certainly be some games in great stadiums.

Under Gartside's proposal, no team in the new set-up would be able to get relegated, thereby instantly rendering the rest of the Football League and beyond utterly redundant.

And what of the SPL? Surely if the big two from Glasgow leave then it would only be a short time before the two Edinburgh sides took control of the league, and soon enough they would be pining to join the party.

Redknapp did at least qualify his statement, saying he was only looking at it from a Sassenach perspective.

He added: "The one worry I would have is what happens to the rest of Scottish football if the two of them are allowed to leave but only the people up there know the answer to that."

People may point to the geographical anomalies that are Swansea, Cardiff and Berwick Rangers as precedents, but the latter have been members of the Scottish League for over 50 years, and the two Welsh sides a generation before that. Besides, look how the Welsh league has turned out after years of its biggest teams playing in another competition.

The only plus point with Celtic joining the English league would be that it would exclude their involvement from the proposed Atlantic League, a clumsy amalgamation of Scottish, Scandinavian, Benelux and Portuguese clubs.

Still, perhaps in 50 years' time, Gers-Gent will be a red letter day on every fan's calendar.

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