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Rangers should be careful what they wish for before calling Saints a small club
According to Glasgow Rangers’ chief executive, Saints are a small club and are being subsidised by the likes of Arsenal.
Englishman Charles Green, the Ibrox supremo, thinks the big clubs don’t want this to continue and will soon be setting up a European Super League – naturally including the blue side of Glasgow.
Wildfire doesn’t begin to describe the reaction his remarks generated from Saints fans – understandably so.
But while Green, pictured, has made some incredibly stupid comments (“How can Manchester United’s revenues be £320million and Aston Villa, who are completely useless, get £250m?”), there are some worthwhile points in there – you just have to look very hard to find them.
Now, I don’t dispute that Rangers - and Celtic for that matter - are bigger clubs than Saints. Obviously, club size is a fairly arbitrary thing anyway, but most people would agree on that. They have larger fanbases and more honours, so that’s fair enough.
However, if Mr Green thinks Rangers (currently ranked 34 out of 42 teams in Scotland) are held in the same regard as the likes of Manchester United and Barcelona, he has another thing coming.
For example, in recent years Rangers have reached the final of the UEFA Cup – an achievement I’d be thrilled with if Saints did it. At the same time, Middlesbrough and Fulham have done likewise. I don’t see Europe’s elite breaking down their doors to drag them to the promised land of milk and honey.
Rangers have one European title to their name – the 1972 Cup Winners Cup. The ‘useless’ Aston Villa have three, including the European Cup (now known, rather ungrammatically, as the Champions League). Nottingham Forest won it twice.
Ibrox may indeed regularly hold almost 50,000 fans, but then so does the Stadium of Light – I would think it a bit odd if Sunderland were included ahead of someone like Chelsea or Juventus on the grounds of having a bigger stadium.
Finally, the problem with a European Super League is one of feasibility. Last season’s final, won by Chelsea, attracted an average TV audience of around of 6.5million in the UK. That’s the final and it involved a British team. The FA Cup final was watched by an average of 8.9m.
Sadly, I don’t have the figures for the recent Champions League group matches, but I’d be surprised if they attracted any more than the average Sunday Premier League game on Sky – despite being relatively rare events.
With that in mind, it’s hard to see the appeal for broadcasters and advertisers of a Euro League.
Less appeal means smaller TV deals, resulting less revenue for the big teams. Why would Arsenal and Real Madrid quit the current system if they can’t guarantee a big cash bonus for themselves?
This is before you even consider how many fans would be willing or able to travel across Europe every other week.
A do-or-die UEFA Cup tie may well get thousands of fans flocking to Glasgow, but would a run-of-the-mill league match? In a Euro Super League, Rangers would be far from the most attractive of fixtures.
It’s all well and good for Rangers to start dreaming about untold riches – you can’t blame them when you look at what they’ve lost.
But Green should be a bit more concerned with the here-and-now before trying to lord it over clubs like Saints and Swansea.
More than anything, Green would do well to be careful what he wishes for. Should the long-talked about European Super League ever come to fruition, Rangers may just find out they are not quite as big as they think.