They’re Up to Their Knees in Nobody’s Blood What the relegation of Rangers Football Club means for the city of Glasgow Thomas L. McCarthy Rangers Football Club of Glasgow has a long history as a cultural and economic powerhouse in Glasgow. However, last year the club filed for bankruptcy and disqualified itself from first division and pan-European football for at least one season. This indefinite hiatus is being hailed as one of the most significant tragedies for the Glaswegian economy. However, the hiatus also presents the city with an absence of the bitter and infamously violent rivalry, known as the Old Firm, between “Nationalist-Protestant” Rangers and their Glaswegian neighbors, the “IrishCatholic” Celtic Football Club. This paper seeks to examine and (where possible) quantify the economic, sociological, and criminological impacts that Rangers relegation will have, and argue that while undoubtedly negative for Glasgow’s economy, it may offer positive opportunity for the city to reassess its perception of the issues and how to remedy them, as well as the rivalry’s influence, for better or worse, on the culture. “Hello, you’ll know us by our noise; we’re up to our knees in Fenian blood,” has long a commonplace chant in Ibrox Stadium, home to Glasgow Rangers Football Club, especially on “derby” days; matches versus their greatest rivals, Celtic Football Club, turning the term “Fenian,” formerly a reference to a member of Irish fraternal organization, into a bigoted insult. To be sure, the vitriolic chants were not one-sided; Celtic’s “Green Brigade” of hardcore fans chant about the glory of the Irish Republican Army, particularly their exploits during the Troubles, wherein they used bombs against law enforcement and civilians in an attempt to gain independence. Indeed, the Glaswegian rivalry, or “Old Firm” as it is commonly known as, was called “the oldest, and the most dangerous, crosstown rivalry in all of sports” in the American newspaper The New York Times (Burns 2011). However, as the derby (the British term for a rivalry match, usually between two clubs from the same city) has increased in international recognition, the Scottish Parliament has since passed legislation imposing criminal sanctions on sectarian and bigoted chants (BBC 2011). While the match does bring volatility to Glasgow in a way which is unprecedented in most sporting rivalries, it is also alleged to be a major economic force for Scotland. A recent report by the University of Strathclyde’s Frasier of Allander Institute claimed that the two clubs generated almost $200 million in economic activity for the country (BBC 2005). While the economic benefits for private commerce have been well-documented, the Scottish government is also suffering from the effects of the global recession, and as it looks for ways to reduce governmental expenditure, Rangers’ relegation may have inadvertently provided them with some relief (Fraser 2012). On February 13th, 2012, Rangers Football Club filed for administration, declaring itself bankrupt and effectively disqualifying itself from participation in Scotland’s highest footballing division. In doing so, the club eliminated at least four matchups between their rival each season 1
for an indefinite period. It is the effects of this relegation which are to be examined. First, historical background of the rivalry will be summarized to generate a context by which the severity of bigotry can be analyzed with a proper perspective. Then, the effect on crime in Glasgow with direct correlation to the rivalry will be examined in order to quantify the impact on crime without the contention coming to a head on match day. Then, the economic effect will be examined, attempting to establish a perspective between the relevance of the numbers at the time of publication of the oft-cited report in 2005 and today’s economic climate in Scotland. The Origins In their book “Fear and Loathing in World Football,” Gary Armstrong and Richard Giulianotti chronicle the history of sectarianism in Glasgow as it relates to the two football clubs (2001). Founded in 1873, Rangers Football Club originally had no (or at the very least, a thin) religious or national disposition. According to most historians, the club’s adoption of a pro-Protestant, pro-nationalistic stance was merely in response to the alignment of Celtic (whose own formation was a response to the dominance of Protestantism). Celtic, founded in 1888, was born out of sectarian ideals from its establishment. A Marist brother named Brother Walfrid, a Northern Ireland man who immigrated to Glasgow to teach at a Catholic institution, founded Celtic Football and Athletic Club with the intention of raising money to provide meals to the impoverished Catholic children of Glasgow (Armstrong and Giulianotti 2001, 24-25). The success of the Protestant denomination in Scotland as a result of John Knox and the Scottish Reformation established Protestantism as the dominant sect in Scotland (Donaldson 1960, 1). Brother Walfrid feared that the hungry Catholic children would flock to the Protestant soup kitchens, where they would be indoctrinated with Protestant beliefs in return for a meal (Foer 2004, 44). Championships for Celtic in four of their first five seasons as a club sparked a surge in loyalty to the crown and Protestantism, which manifested itself in support for the other Glaswegian club, Rangers, leaving Celtic to represent of the Irish-Catholic contingency of Glasgow. While Celtic rejected a proposal to limit the number of non-Catholic players, Rangers adopted an all-encompassing anti-Catholic policy; even marriage to a Catholic could affect employment at the club, and there was an unofficial policy, recognized and adhered to by the board of the club, to not sign Catholic players even into the 1970’s (Armstrong and Giulianotti 2001, 24-27). While the days of such policies have since passed, there remain tributes to the days of blatant sectarianism within each club; as recent as the turn of the 21st century, Rangers sported orange away uniforms, paying homage to the contribution of William of Orange in ousting the Catholic monarchy, while Celtic still use their 60,000-seat stadium to host Catholic Masses. Horror stories still circulate about people in Glasgow being denied jobs because of the club they support (Foer 2004, 36, 44-45). The match has become so prominent that men wearing jackets labeled “FBI” were seen monitoring the team areas on the sideline in a recent Old Firm match. The battle between clubs still rages on in Belfast, Northern Ireland, such is the historic nature of the rivalry (Foer 2004, 2
57). Legends of the sport like Brian Laudrup of Denmark and Gary Lineker of England, who have experience playing in other internationally renowned rivalries like El Clásico (Barcelona and Real Madrid), the Merseyside derby (Liverpool and Everton), Derby della Madonnina (Inter Milan and AC Milan), and the North London derby (Arsenal and Tottenham) all attest to the Old Firm’s pole position as the most culturally significant rivalry in the world, with Lineker remarking, “I can testify that there is nothing to compare with them in terms of intensity and ferocity, not to mention the sheer noise” (Wilson 2012, 20-24). The Sectarianism and Crime The derby’s infamous reputation is often talked down by those involved, with Neil Lennon, the manager of Celtic, saying of the group of hardcore Celtic supporters called the “Green Brigade,” “I just wanted to say thank you to them because they have, week in, week out, created a great atmosphere,” although he continued, “sometimes they are a little bit controversial” (McCarthy 2012). These remarks came a mere six months after Celtic was fined for chants reverberating from the Green Brigade’s corner, praising the acts of the IRA, a group classified by the University of Maryland’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism as a terrorist organization against British civilians and civil servants (Sportsmail reporter, 2011). To be sure, Lennon was accurate about the atmosphere: NFL commissioner Roger Goodell admitted that the contribution of European fans on game day is totally unparalleled by sporting atmospheres in the United States (Wahl 2012). Whether for sensational reasons or otherwise, attending the derby (or even being in Glasgow on derby day) is always discussed as a dangerous adventure; tourists are advised by hotel staff to avoid dressing in orange, blue, or green on Old Firm day, lest they be mistaken for being a supporter of the “wrong” team in a certain neighborhood (Foer 2004, 49). On December 14th, 2011, the BBC announced that the Scottish Parliament passed the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act of 2012, which aims to curb not just violence, but even vocalization of sectarian bigotry aimed at inciting violence. In doing so, Parliament made Scotland the only country in the world to pass an anti-sectarian law (Wilson 2012, 11). The Act aims to ban chants that sing the praises of the IRA and the bombings during the Troubles, the slaughter of Catholics during the Glorious Revolution, taunting references to the potato famine (“the famine is over, why don’t you go home?”), as well as the pedophilic scandal surrounding the Catholic church, or calling Rangers fans “huns.” While there are varying degrees of opinion on what is simple banter, the fans themselves, of both clubs, claim that there remains little actual religious vitriol in the rivalry, but that sectarianism as a pretext for division has simply been transposed from generation to generation, and as such, remains a key element of the rivalry (Vice 2012). A 2008 study by the University of Strathclyde entitled, “Territoriality and Sectarianism in Glasgow: A Qualitative Study” by Ross Deuchar and Chris Holligan attempted to determine the source of such hooliganistic activity. The findings of this study mirrored those theories held by supporters about themselves; the study, whose demographic under scrutiny was 16 to 18 year 3
olds in Glasgow, found that these young people had little interest in religion, and religion in turn played a very minimal part in recruitment for local “gangs.” However, the study found that violence between rival gangs would manifest itself under religious pretenses, an event which was hypothesized by the authors as transpiring under the guise of sectarianism due to the intertwined nature of the clubs and religion, which provides a convenient excuse for an altercation; however, religion was not necessarily a fundamental pretext for the altercation (Deuchar and Holligan 2008). What this study also revealed was that even these teenagers had a sense of territories; that is, areas in which it is safe, or unsafe, to be seen wearing certain colors (the orange or blue of Rangers, the green of Celtic), indicating that the stories about neighborhoods in which you should avoid donning certain colored apparel are not simply sensationalized anecdotes but rather very real warnings, and the adoption of this territorialism by such young members of society and (their admission that these beliefs are tradition passed down in each family) would indicate that the problem is well-cemented in the cultural identities of certain areas of the city (Wilson 2012, 11; Deuchar and Holligan 2008). While the sectarianism and national allegiance might not still exist as a preeminent motive for violence, the historical magnitude of the divide establishes a perfect backdrop for committing violence in the name of the club, country, and religion. As recently as 2011, four mail bombs were intercepted by the Glaswegian police, sent to the manager of Celtic, Neil Lennon, and to several prominent Celtic supporters (Burns 2011). Some reports tabulate increases in hospital admittances as much as nine-fold on Old Firm match nights, with the police attributing eight deaths directly to the Old Firm in the last seven years (Foer 2004, 36-37). According to data assembled by the Strathclyde police department (whose territory of responsibility includes Glasgow), the average weekend will generate about 67 violent abuse calls. However, on weekends during which an Old Firm match is occurring, that average rises to 107 calls (Cramb 2011). According to data broken down by the British Broadcasting Corporation, the total estimated cost of policing a year’s worth of Old Firm matches was roughly £2.4 million, or about $3.9 million. This averages to about $650,000 per match, with the clubs contributing a mere 12.5% of that total. In contrast, other domestic league matches cost the police a mere $27,000 to maintain and monitor (Cook, 2011). While the math clearly shows that in 2011, Old Firm matches were more than 24 times more expensive to police than other average matches, that number still does not include expenses accrued by the government from incarcerating, prosecuting, and punishing arrested individuals. According to the chairman of the Scottish Policing Federation, Les Gray, the actual cost per serious assault is over $403,000 per case, with that number estimating the total expenses accrued between police, the courts, hospitalization and prolonged health care (such as rehabilitation for victims), as well as social services (responsible for monitoring probationary sentences). Mr. Gray himself estimates that there are roughly 30 to 50 “serious assaults” each derby (Cook 2011). Assuming that there are 30 serious assaults, this equates to an additional cost of nearly $12 million in governmental expenses, not just annually, but per match. While there is the possibility of over exaggeration for the sake “sticker shock,” no reports have repudiated this claim. Mr. 4
Gray also estimates that “a straightforward murder investigation can cost the taxpayer £1 million,” or roughly $1.6 million. Neither of those numbers count the cost of simple assault arrests; even when there is no hospitalization of the victim, an arrest still requires that the suspect be apprehended, transported to the holding facility, booked, held, and sentenced. After an Old Firm match on February 20th, 2011, every single jail cell in Glasgow was reported as occupied. Ambulance dispatchers reported an 18% increase in calls. An unidentified police officer claimed to a reporter that the 2010/2011 season, in which there were seven Old Firm derbies, could cost as much as $65 million for the year, with expenses covering the cost of policing as well as both the legal and medical aspects of an assault (Stewart 2011). The violence has had such a catastrophic affect on the Scottish government’s coffers that the police have called for an end to the violence by banning the Old Firm all together (Stewart 2011). The police already invoked legal authority over the clubs by banning evening matches, theorizing that midday kickoff times would prevent fans from spending the entire day consuming alcohol, and data shows that midweek fixtures (matches on working weekdays) lead to a lower crime rate for the same reason (Johnson 2011). While the violence has stained Scotland’s international reputation and cost the government exorbitant amounts of money to manage, ensure justice, and mind the injured, the success of the two clubs does contain a beneficial side. The Economy The cost of violence, in terms of hard dollars, has been estimated by the police and produced a staggering number. However, the positive effect of the Old Firm on the economy of Glasgow has also been scrutinized. Attention will shift temporarily away from the derby and towards the effect at large of the two clubs on the economy of Glasgow. An oft-cited study by the Fraser of Allander Institute at the University of Strathclyde by Grant Allan, Stewart Dunlop, and Kim Swales published in 2004 attempted to quantify the monetary value of the Old Firm according to revenue generated by fans alone during the 2003-2004 season. The study determined that the Old Firm clubs were worth almost £120 million per year to the Scottish economy, or nearly $200 million, calculated using a conversion rate of 1.6 United States dollars per British pound sterling (CNN n.d.), This contribution “[generated] triple the cash brought in by the Edinburgh festivals, [creating] 3,056 jobs along the way” (BBC 2005). There are several concepts which are foreign to American sports which require comprehension to follow the rest of the paper. One such phrase is “domestic competition.” To understand the usage of the phrase, an explanation is in order: American football progresses in unidimensional fashion, with round-robin league play determining seeding for tournament play, or the “playoffs.” The Scottish Football Association formats its competitions using the European model, with league play running concurrently with not one, but two playoff-style tournaments (one open to league clubs only, the other open to all association clubs). Hence, when the term “domestic competition” is mentioned, it refers to both league and cup tournaments occurring simultaneously. Table 1 compares the two league formats.
Table 1. Comparison of the progression of play in each format League play Playoffs AMERICAN FORMAT: League play League Cup EUROPEAN FORMAT: Association Cup Secondly is the concept of “relegation.” In American professional sports, there is only one division (the National Football League, Major League Baseball). Franchises in these sports do not change leagues. However, in European football, the structure is more akin to the sports system of American Universities, with different divisions. Every season, the most successful clubs (the exact number is decided by each country’s Football Association) are promoted to the next division up (called the Premier League in Scotland), while the least successful are demoted, or “relegated,” to the next division down based on their performance in the league (Culpepper 2007, 14-15). Oddly, while the Premier League is the top division, the next one down is called the First Division, with the third league called the “Second Division,” and the fourth league is called the “Third Division,” (based on and identical to England’s organizational structure, but on a much smaller scale) (Culpepper 2007, xv-xvi). While Rangers have always qualified for the top division, the declaration of bankruptcy resulted in a revocation of their “license to operate,” so to speak, and they had to reapply for a place in the Scottish football league system after the Premier League voted not to readmit them, finally being accepted into the Third Division (BBC 2012; Majoribanks 2012). To return to the Premier League, Rangers must finish at least fourth in each division, and unless they are first (who are promoted outright, must go through a playoff phase with the other top finishers (the Scottish Football League n.d. 1). Because the Third Division is technically the fourth-ranked league, this means that it will take Rangers no fewer than three years to regain promotion into the Premier League. With regards to the Strathclyde study, there are two considerations to make. First, it must be prefaced that the study was referential to all matches involving either Celtic or Rangers, not just the traditional Old Firm derby. While this may not have directly relevant data on the effect of derby matches, it can speak to the effect that the relegation of Rangers will have on Glasgow. Second, the inclusion of Partick Thistle Football Club (also from Glasgow) in calculating sports tourism expenditures in Glasgow may have diluted the results a bit for Glaswegian spending in Glasgow, such as Rangers supporters going away to Thistle but still spending in Glasgow, or Thistle supporters playing away to Celtic, again, still in Glasgow. However, as focus was on the two Old Firm clubs, supporters of the clubs going to away fixtures outside of Glasgow would not be affected, nor would calculations about spending in Glasgow by non-Glaswegians, who were only asked about spending habits relative to matches versus either Celtic or Rangers. However, the concern here is not the effect on the Scottish economy as a whole but on the Glaswegian economy specifically. 6
To generate a crude estimate of the effect each club will have on the city, their individual affects on tourism to the city must be proportioned. For the 2003/04, Celtic had an average attendance of 58,000 spectators per match, while Rangers averaged 49,000 (Scottish Premier League n.d.). Based on these figures, Rangers averaged 85% of the attendance compared to Celtic. As mentioned above, it should be noted that the study does not discern between spending by Rangers or Celtic supporters attending matches against each other’s clubs versus those of Partick Thistle Football Club, another Glaswegian team. However, the following calculations will make no attempt to discern between any potential Partick Thistle contribution to the Glaswegian economy and that of Old Firm matches, as this produces a worst-case scenario. According to the Strathclyde study, participation in the pan-European competition in the season observed generated GDP of roughly £12.22 million for Glasgow over 12 matches during the 2003/04 season. This equates to £1.02 million per match. As noted previously, Rangers’ stadium has 85% of the capacity of that of Celtic, so Rangers matches were responsible for about £937,000 per match to Celtic’s £1.10 million. Participation in a pan-European competition guarantees at least three home matches against a foreign club, and this number increases with every round the club progresses through, not to mention any potential qualifying matches. Additionally, the study estimated that the tourism generated by these intra-continental matches created 661 full-time jobs during the 2003/04 season, with roughly £18,500 in GDP creating one job. With Rangers’ relegation rendering the club ineligible to participate in intra-continental European matches for at least one season, this would equate to a loss of about £2.81million annually from three matches, totaling to about $4.5 million, which could result in the loss of 150 jobs per year for every season Rangers do not host European sides. Table 2 shows the results from European participation during the 2003/04 season based on the averages. Table 2. Intra-continental contributions to Glasgow’s economy Averages per match
GDP (in £000)
Full-time jobs per GDP
Total contribution to GDP/jobs
Note: totals may not sum due to rounding of GDP and jobs to a whole number.
The only way for Rangers to participate in an intra-continental competition next year is to win the Scottish Cup; a prospect adjudged by betting companies as having a likelihood of 8% (Oddschecker n.d.). Failure to win the cup would require that the club regains promotion to the Premier League and finish in the top four, which can take no fewer than three seasons, totaling a deduction of from the Glaswegian GDP of £8.43 million (roughly $13.5 million). While this revenue is theoretical in the sense that it is not already calculated into Scotland’s economy, a fraction of it is also a total loss; foreigners supporting European clubs are not likely to spend 7
money elsewhere in Scotland without a football match at the Ibrox providing a reason to travel to the country, unlike supporters from around Scotland. An example of this loss can be demonstrated by examining the hospitality sector of the Glaswegian economy, granting that two general assumptions be made. First, it must be assumed that the clubs acted in accordance with UEFA’s ticketing guidelines for away matches, allocating 5% of the stadium’s capacity to away fans (Mitten 2012). This would equate to 2,500 away seats at the Ibrox and 3,000 at Celtic Park. Second, it must be assumed that away supporters travelling to Glasgow all stayed at hotels, including supporters of Manchester United (from the English city of Manchester, only 215 miles away from Glasgow), who Rangers played in the group round of the Champions League during the 2003-04 season. According to the Strathclyde study, the average reported amount spent on a hotel in Glasgow was £59 per night. This averages out to about £147,500 per match spent on hotels per Rangers home match. This calculation means that Rangers’ discontinuation of participation in pan-European competitions could equate to a loss of at least £442,500 annually on hotels alone (or roughly $708,000) in foreign, non-displaced expenditure in Glasgow (that is: money which is not assumed to be circulating in the Scottish economy until it is actually spent), and more if the club was to advance to the latter stages of the tournament. Domestically, Rangers’ demotion has an even greater effect on Glasgow. With the Strathclyde study calculating that two clubs generated £33.46 million in GDP over the course of the 2003/04 season in domestic competitions alone, and 54 home matches between them, each match contributed an average of £620,000 to the GDP of Glasgow. Adjusting the figures to reflect the 15% difference in average attendance, Celtic contributed £670,000 per match to the GDP while Rangers contributed £570,000 per match during the season studied. With Rangers’ relegation to the Third Division, their home attendance average has dropped from 49,000 to 37,000 (as of October 1st, 2012), constituting a roughly 25% decrease in admissions. It is unclear if the reduction in attendance is due to a decrease in travelling support (supporters of Third Division clubs may not be able to afford to travel to watch their club play at the Ibrox) or due to apathy towards Third Division football from some Rangers fans. Regardless of the reason for the decrease, this reduction sees Rangers’ estimated average drop to £427,500 per match, which is a per match loss of £142,500, still a significant loss for Glasgow. To put this amount into context, clubs are to play 19 home matches per season (Scottish Premier League 2012). With Rangers playing nineteen home matches in the Premier League, this would equate to £10.83 million annually. However, with reduction in attendance for Third Division football, the total after nineteen matches is £8.12 million, meaning the annual loss in GDP for Glasgow as a result of Rangers’ relegation is £2.71 million, or about $4.34 million per year, a number which does not include cup matches. The study also calculated that the £33.46 million in GDP the clubs generated created 1761 full-time jobs in Glasgow per annum. This equates to £19,000 in GDP per job. With £2.71 million eliminated from the Glaswegian GDP per each season Rangers remains relegated, this means that as many as 142 jobs could be eliminated per year. 8
Table 3. Differences in Glaswegian economy relative to Rangers’ division Rangers division Premier League 2003/04 Third Division 2012/13* Annual GDP of Glasgow £10.83 £8.12 (in millions) Full-time jobs in Glasgow 1761 1619
Total loss -£2.71 -142
.Note: based on league play only (19 home matches, 19 away matches). *Predicted totals for the current season, in progress s.
The losses in GPD and jobs have particular impacts on certain industries. During the 2003/04 season, there were 54 matches played in Glasgow between Rangers and Celtic over the three domestic competitions. Table 4, below, (replicated from the Strathclyde report and adjusted to present GDP generated from domestic matches only) contains several pieces of data: the “sports tourism expenditure” column shows the amount of expenditure generated by football supporters (both home and away in Glasgow) for each sector. The “displaced expenditure” column indicates the amount of expenditure which would have been spent elsewhere by Glaswegians had there not been a football match. The third column represents the net total. The “displacement effect” requires an explanation; it is, according to the Strathclyde study, a calculation of an event “where local supporters of the Old Firm were not attending games there would be alternative local expenditures;” that is, purchases made by Glaswegians which would have occurred in the respective sectors had they not spent it at a football match. This column only applies to Glaswegian expenditure, including Partick Thistle supporters attending matches as away fans at the Ibrox or Celtic Park, but not Partick Thistle supporters when they host Rangers or Celtic at their home ground in Glasgow. As such, those matches in which Rangers or Celtic hosted Partick Thistle would account for slightly higher displacement than matches in which only the home support (Celtic or Rangers supporters) is from Glasgow. However, assuming that 5% of fans were away supporters for the four matches between Rangers and Thistle or Celtic and Thistle, the effect is nominal and any inclusion would dilute the negative impact on the economy, producing a more beneficial effect for Glasgow than predicted here. All totals in table 4 have been adjusted from the unweighted net average between Celtic and Rangers to reflect the 15% difference between Rangers’ and Celtic’s average attendance, then calculated to show Rangers’ contribution over 21 home matches in all domestic competitions. Table 4. The effect on Glasgow's GDP from Rangers' total home matches (21) in all domestic competitions for the season of 2003/04 Sports tourism Displaced Net impact Sector expenditure expenditure (in £ millions) (in £ millions) (in £ millions) Primary and manufacturing 0.17 -0.05 0.12 Utilities and construction 0.34 -0.17 0.17 9
Food and drink Wholesale and retail Hotels and restaurants Transport Private business services Public services Total
0.58 4.68 5.28 1.08 1.74 0.46 14.33
-0.04 -0.58 -0.20 -0.07 -0.88 -0.35 -2.34
0.54 4.10 5.08 1.01 0.86 0.11 11.99
£25,900 £195,600 £241,900 £48,000 £40,700 £5,400 £571,300*
Note: all quantities designated as “(in £ millions)” are rounded to the nearest 10⁴. *Previously rounded to £570,000.
Table 3 shows that the average loss in annual GDP for Glasgow as a result of Rangers’ relegation is roughly £2.71 million per season of normal league play (19 home matches), which equates to about £142,500 per match. Like Partick Thistle, Queen’s Park Football Club (currently in the Third Division with Rangers) also resides in Glasgow (the Scottish Football League n.d. 2). As with Thistle, any potential effect they may have will be ignored for the same reason; any such effect would be positive for Glasgow. Therefore, assuming that average attendance holds and that expenditure calculations from the 2003/04 season are relatively equivalent to the expenditure of Premier League supporters today, the effects of relegation on certain sectors can be estimated. As calculated above, Rangers in the Third Division are averaging 75% of the attendance previously averaged in the Premier League. Sectors with the most apparent relation to football tourism could see decreases as follows: Wholesale and retail: -£48,900 per match (-$78,200) Hotels and restaurants: -£60,500 per match (-$96,800) Food and drink (such as pubs): -£6,500 per match (-$10,400) Transportation: -£12,000 per match (-$19,200) While “food and drink” may appear to be a negligible sum, it is worth considering that these expenses are incurred over, at most, two days, typically, with only the most “hardcore” supporters spending multiple days in Glasgow drinking, or families turning a trip to Glasgow for football into an excuse to shop (Foer 2004, 57-58). Thus, these sums are particularly impressive for one or two nights of business. Conclusion While the economy will surely hurt, the elimination of the Old Firm (with the possible exception of intra-divisional cup matches) should certainly lead to a decrease in crime. As noted, there is little left of the sectarian vitriol beyond remnants in the form of chants and songs learned growing up (with the acrimony still present likely existing as hatred for a club based on its history and ideals, but not for a person’s faith), but the religious aspect undoubtedly provides a pretext for violence, even amongst adolescents (Deuchar and Holligan 2008). This historical context which is both so divisive and so central to the rivalry will always elicit emotions
concerning one’s background, and because no one enjoys being insulted and demeaned, the emotions will produce actions. The research shows that an individual with peers who participate in hooliganistic activities will themselves demonstrate a proclivity to participate, and when they are old enough to drink alcohol, it only gets worse (Deuchar and Holligan 2008). The hiatus between the two clubs could mean that with the impatient nature of youths and the impressionability of developing minds, the inexistence of the Old Firm eliminates an excuse to clash with each other against a backdrop of hooliganism. As such, the adolescents who are currently bearing the torches for the clubs’ “ultra” factions may grow bored of the inactivity and move on to other excuses for engaging in adolescent deviant behaviors. Eliminating the Old Firm from the equation removes any religious aspect (regardless of how minimal a part it actually played) and these adolescents can be regarded as juvenile delinquents in need of treatment, not as religious zealots aiming to execute religious genocide in downtown Glasgow. Based on the calculations, the Glaswegian economy should anticipate fairly substantial trauma; one season devoid of pan-European football means as much as $4.5 million in decrease to the city’s GDP, which could cost as many as 150 full-time jobs per year. Domestically, the demotion in league play alone could result in a decrease in GDP for the city to the tune of around $4.34 million annually and 142 jobs eliminated. Together, the annual impact could be as severe as a. $8.84 million decrease in Glasgow’s GDP and 292 full-time employment opportunities rescinded. However, with Rangers playing in a different league from Celtic comes the elimination of at least four Old Firm matches, each of which have been estimated to cost the government as much as $12 million per match in the form of legal and medical fees, as well as the initial policing of the event with the goal of preventing the requirement for the former two expenses in the first place. While the clubs’ finances in terms of sponsorships and broadcasting deals was not discussed, the revenue generated from corporate taxes on the clubs surely cannot cover the entirety of costs incurred by the city for just one 90-minute football match, and even if the taxes are sufficient, there is a myriad of alternative uses for the revenue which could do far more good for the city, and country, than prosecuting 90-minute bigots and suturing knife wounds. Still, the effect on the private sector cannot be ignored; the potential effect this loss of revenue may have on small businesses like restaurants and pubs is very hard to digest, and the exacerbation of the problem by placing Rangers in a scenario which requires no fewer three years to return to their prior level may be too great for smaller establishments to survive. However, the international image of Glasgow, once synonymous with slums and hooliganism, is on the rise (Carrell 2008). This indefinite hiatus from regularly scheduled Old Firm matches give the city an opportunity to focus on continuing to improve its international image as well as time develop contingency plans in preparation for the eventual return of Rangers to the Premier League and recommencement of the Old Firm. With relegation to the Third Division eliminating four Old Firm derbies per season, Celtic and Rangers supporters must certainly be craving a good old Glasgow derby in a way they have never before, and the city has ample time to prepare. 11
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