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for the Irish Pub Community





The Footie File



By David McBride




Riding Out The Storm Of The Century



Photo By David McBride      

A friendly game in Philadelphia



When Glasgow Rangers disappeared into the financial abyss, everyone across the world of football punditry agreed Celtic would suffer greatly as a result.  Everyone, that is, except most of the Celtic supporters who welcomed the idea of their rivals serving the maximum sentence for their crimes.  But would the loss of television cash, along with all the rest of the revenue generated from the Old Firm, prove crushing for Celtic as well?

Last week, The Bhoys took their first and most important step in stemming any financial tsunami by qualifying for the group stages of the UEFA Champions League.  By successfully navigating the qualifying rounds, Celtic now find themselves poised for a cash rich autumn of european football, and from the reaction of the crowd at Celtic Park last week, everyone knows what it means for the club and its future.

Personally, I never bought into the doom and gloom prophesy that accompanied Rangers demise.  Without knowing too much about the finances of the SPL, I am fairly certain any shrinking of the revenue caused by the loss of Rangers in the top flight would pale in comparison to the funds generated for Celtic by inclusion the Champions League proper.  And then there is the untold financial relief soon to be felt after the removal of the strain placed on Celtic and the other SPL clubs by the artificially inflated transfer and wage prices created by Rangers over the past few seasons.  

Celtic now enters Group G of the Champions League, where they will face Barcelona, Benfica and Spartak Moscow.  No group is easy for a club with limited funds compared to the rest of Europe’s Giants, and Group G is likely a bridge too far for Celtic.  But stranger things have happened in Glasgow on a European match night, and should they sneak a win against Benfica at Celtic Park all bets are off.  Either way, the Celtic hierarchy will be counting the cash, win or lose.

So after months of hearing about financial armageddon coming to Parkhead, the Hoops earned themselves something of a redemption.  Can Neil Lennon turn some heads in Europe this year?  In truth, it doesn’t really matter how the team performs.  The most important thing is that Celtic can end the month’s long speculation that they couldn’t survive without their crosstown rivals.  A few consecutive years of European competition can be the club’s reward for riding out the storm of the century.

                                                                                                                                                                                 



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