THE Scottish soccer season kicked off last Saturday, and set us along a road that could turn out to have some rather intriguing clashes, and maybe even a few controversies, while we’re at it. Naturally enough, the first match that was featured live on TV was that between Celtic and Aberdeen, which Celtic won with a late goal.
Well, as expected, the Parkhead outfit are off at a gallop in their quest for another title, the winning of which, I am told, they are at the incredible odds of 1/100 to do. Surely this should convey to soccer followers in general just how much of a farce this particular league is, and, while this is not Celtic’s fault, how could any soccer fan be interested in what is really only a one-horse race, having been reduced this year from what was effectively a two-horse race, now that the main rivals Rangers have been reduced in the ranks.
God be with the days, in the 50s and 60s when this league had many fine teams, like Aberdeen, Hearts, Hibernians, and Kilmarnock, all of whom would be regular challengers for the Premier pennant.
The game has been all the poorer, especially in recent years, since all of those teams began to lose ground on the main protagonists.
No wonder it was, in jocular fashion, nicknamed, since the turn of the century, the “Glasgow” Premier League!
While Celtic, of course, are the most supported team in Scottish football on this side of the water, and will virtually skate through their division, I would be inclined to forecast that, this season, the main interest of the average fan will be on how Rangers are faring in the Third Division, and what effect it will have on their erstwhile rivals in that lowly section, when those teams have the large task of going to Ibrox Park for their away matches.
There is one redeeming feature for those lowly graded teams, for the advent of Rangers will surely mean better gates for all of those teams, both in home and in away games.
Going back to the vote that the Premiership teams took to vote Rangers out of the section, is it possible that there was an ulterior motive in their action, for, in most premier leagues, there are generally four places up for grabs when trying to gain entry to the lucrative European competitions.
It surely follows that with Rangers now on the back burner, it should open the door for other teams, outside of Celtic, to make Europe their target for the year 2013.
Interestingly, while EPNS TV will be covering over 30 matches in the Scottish Premier League, they will also be covering more than ten of Rangers games.
By the way, the new name for the Ibrox team is “The Rangers”. Get used to it!
At this stage, you will all be familiar with the splendour of London’s Olympic Stadium, and the vast scope that is there for further development.
It is a fact that both West Ham and Spurs have put in bids to occupy the stadium, which is in Stratford, when the Olympic Games are over.
West Ham’s bid looks the more likely to succeed, for they, unlike Spurs, will retain the running track in the facility, which is one of the main contingencies for occupancy.
The crowd capacity in the stadium for soccer would be over 65,000, which is almost twice the capacity of the grounds of both applicants.
West Ham’s Boleyn Ground is about 3 miles from the stadium, while Spur’s White Hart Lane is about 6 miles.
Possibilities are endless, and no deal has been arrived at yet, but both teams could share the tenancy, in a week on, week off situation.
To me, these two teams, and their respective grounds, have characters all their own, and I do feel that to uproot your traditions sometimes does not go down to well with faithful supporters.
All options are still open, and developments should prove interesting. Our weekend wager slot begins next week. Bye!