Are the Old Firm On the Finacial Slide?

Brian RhodesSenior Analyst IJune 27, 2009

GLASGOW, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 15: Scott McDonald of Celtic tackles Pedro Mendes of Rangers during the Scottish Premier League match between Celtic and Rangers at Celtic Park on February 15, 2009 in Glasgow, Scotland.  (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

This is a question that has been niggling me for sometime, but recent comments from Glasgow Celtic's new boss Tony Mowbray has made me think this could be true.

In days gone by, the old firm of Glasgow Rangers and Glasgow Celtic have been able to duke it out with the the elite of English football on a relatively level playing field when it came to transfers and income.

You only have to look at Andreas Thom, Henrik Larsson, and Stiliyan Petrov for Celtic and Terry Butcher, Ray Wilkins, Paul Gascoigne, Lorenzo Amoruso, Giovanni Van Bronckhorst, and Ronald De Boar at Rangers to see that both clubs have up until recently they have both had some great pulling power in the transfer market.

However, with only four huge games in the Scottish Premier League every season, the classic "Old Fird Derby" where Glasgow's finest clash head to head. There is little else in the way of substantial revenue in the SPL from playing revenue.

The lucrative television rights for the SPL are nowhere near as high as any of the big leagues in Europe. The English Premier League for example, gains £625 million from overseas television rights alone.The EPL earns approximately £2.7 billion from all sources per year, with individual clubs earning in the region of £45 million.

In 2004, the SPL agreed a television deal with Irish broadcaster Setanta Sports worth £54m over four years. In 2008, it was announced that a further four-year deal would commence for the 2010/11 season, with the deal worth £125m.

Unfortunately for the SPL, Setanta has gone into administration so that revenue stream has now disappeared and the SPL are currently in negotiations to find a new broadcaster.

This has lead to a drop off of the quality of players that the Glasgow clubs can actually afford to bring in. This week Celtic's new manager Tony Mowbray has been in a transfer "Tug-O-War" with Hull City over Marc-Antoine Fortune.

Mowbray had been Fortune's manager whilst on loan at West Bromwich Albion last season from French club Nancy, and had agreed a fee in the region of £1.5 million for him if WBA managed to retain Premier League status. Unfortunately for Mowbray and the Baggies this wasn't the case and the team were relegated.

However, in his time with Mowbray, Fortune made a favourable impression on the gifted manager who hoped to make Fortune his first signing at his new club.

Lamentably for Celtic they appear to have been out bid to the tune of £2.5 million by the Premiership club. More worrying for Mowbray and Celtic is that they appear not to be able to lure players to the club even though they have the offer or European Football, the great chance of winning Silverware.

The fact that Hull City, (however ambitious they are) one of the smaller Premiership clubs can take the lead over Celtic when it comes to transfers then the future doesn't look rosie for the famous old club.