The Last Word: Rangers court the Premier League as a friend in greed

When it comes to delusions of grandeur, Charles Green might have found his niche

Glasgow Rangers are bigger than any Premier League club apart from Manchester United. Arsenal lack their fan base and global stature. Barcelona and Real Madrid, driving forces of a sport destined to be shaped by satellite TV viewers in the developing world, would welcome the Old Firm to La Liga.

There is a tiresome familiarity about the bombast of the Rangers chief executive, Charles Green, a man with an unimpressive past hawking an uncertain future. At times, his sales pitch for the shadow club's forthcoming share issue sounded as if it had been conceived during a particularly hectic happy hour on Sauchiehall Street.

United, with admirable comic timing, immediately rejected his claim that they favoured Rangers' installation in the Premier League. Other supposed allies – unidentified "big clubs" – spurned invitations to break cover. By contrast, Peter Lawwell, Green's counterpart at Celtic, appeared a little too desperate to join the debate when he refused to commit his club, long term, to Scottish football. Follow, follow, indeed.

After being condemned as a "hatchet man" and walking away from the wreckage of Sheffield United, Green's career was as a journeyman businessman. Suddenly, like many of his species, he claims a football club "is much more than a business opportunity" to him. He will not leave Ibrox until it echoes with the Champions' League anthem.

Inevitably, the business plan is dependent upon its delusions of grandeur being funded by fans, who are expected to contribute £21 million to Rangers' flotation on the AIM market.

There's enduring loyalty to the brand even if, officially, it no longer exists. The old Rangers, whose heritage Green is so eager to embrace and exploit, retain an emotional pull, despite leaving an unpaid tax bill of nearly £100m. The return of Walter Smith as a director cannily allows everyone to bask in the reflected glory of his 10 League titles as manager.

Green, to be frank, comes across as smug, materialistic and covetous. He may very well have found his niche. The Premier League was founded on greed. Its global success is a celebration of avarice. Its spin doctors have been busy briefing chief executive Richard Scudamore's opposition to the Old Firm's adoption, but it is wise never to say never.

Scudamore, whose achievement in pushing TV rights income beyond £5 billion is regarded as stellar, even by his enemies. His legacy is assured. Premier League club owners are as difficult to herd as goldfish, but they have unanimity of purpose when it comes to making money.

It is telling that the sudden interest in financial fair play has coincided with the realisation that the TV windfall is likely further to enrich players and agents. It is equally revealing that their refusal to reach a consensus is a consequence of individual circumstance. Self-interest is paramount.

The Old Firm are not big clubs in a competitive sense, but they have significant economic impact. There are two ways they can be accommodated in a reconstituted Premier League.

The simple solution, co-opting Celtic and Rangers, is inconvenient because the extra fixtures would expose the myth that the PL is committed to the welfare of the England team. The alternative, tossing the Wigans of this world aside in a breakaway, has powerful precedent.

The PL's ambition is limitless. Its influence grows by stealth. It has cleverly corporatised community projects, and annexed youth football through the ill-conceived Elite Player Performance Plan. It is only a matter of time before it seizes strategic control of coaching from the FA.

As bizarre as it seems, Green's vision is golden.

Please do not Don martyr's mantle

News just in: football, like life, is unfair. It is an imperfect world populated by individuals who lack class, conscience and moral compass. So please, AFC Wimbledon fans, spare us your theatrical martyrdom. Save your overwrought promises you will never darken the demon's door.

You have won the moral argument whatever the result of the FA Cup second- round tie at Milton Keynes Dons on 2 December.

The occasion will be a timely reminder of injustice, an invitation to celebrate a club conceived in the aftermath of deceit and betrayal.

Pete Winkelman, the man who created the MK Dons franchise, has been stupidly provocative. Yet his club are community-focused. They have attracted new fans, of all ages. They deserve a little respect too.

AFC's rise from the Combined Counties League has been inspirational, but money is tight. A good man, founding father Terry Brown, has been sacrificed because of the overriding need to stay in the Football League. Perspective, people.

The last time I gave the merest hint it was time to move on, the invective lasted for weeks. Feel free, if it makes you feel better.

Pompey power

Portsmouth have no manager and a random set of players. Yet their fans continue to justify the old 12th-man cliché. It is in football's best interests that the Power to the People fundraising campaign to underpin the Supporters Trust's share issue succeeds.

Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence