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.

Sport
Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Voices
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
Sport
world cup 2014
Sport
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
books
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
News
business
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Sport
Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal launch the new Puma Arsenal kits at the Puma Store on Carnaby Street
sportMassive deal worth £150m over the next five years
Arts and Entertainment
Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins
musicHolyrood MPs 'staggered' at lack of Scottish artists performing
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
Sport
Germany's Andre Greipel crosses the finish line to win the sixth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 194 kilometers (120.5 miles) with start in Arras and finish in Reims, France
tour de franceGerman champion achieves sixth Tour stage win in Reims
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice