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Sir Kenny Dalglish: If having Old Firm in the Premier League nears reality, we must avoid ESL error and get the fans’ support

© Stuart Wallace/BPI/ShutterstockThe competitive nature of Old Firm games – epitomised by this Scott Brown tackle on Ryan Kent at Ibrox last Sunday – would hold appeal south of the border
The competitive nature of Old Firm games – epitomised by this Scott Brown tackle on Ryan Kent at Ibrox last Sunday – would hold appeal south of the border

I’m all for change if it’s for the right reasons, and can improve any current set-up in football.

But we mustn’t ever change just for the sake of it.

And we mustn’t ever change without the backing of the supporters.

From last Sunday night on, there was a huge backlash to the plans for a European Super League from the authorities in England, UEFA, FIFA and fans up and down the land.

Outside Anfield, Old Trafford, the Etihad, the Emirates, Stamford Bridge and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, followers made their feelings known, loud and clear.

They weren’t happy. Far from it.

By midweek, a decision had been made by the English clubs to pull out. All six are now not part of it, and the likes of Inter Milan, AC Milan and Atletico Madrid followed suit.

I’m a non-executive director at Liverpool, and I think ultimately the right decision was made by the club.

The owners have listened to the Reds’ supporters, and it’s only right that our supporters are always instrumental in what happens to their football club.

That’s the way it’s been for many, many years – and that’s the way it should be for many, many years to come.

The club owners, the Fenway Group, were only trying to do what they felt was the right thing by joining the ESL.

They fully believed it was in the best interests of the football club.

But they have since listened to the supporters, and I think that shows a fantastic sign of respect towards the fans.

The Super League very quickly fell apart

We will all now look forward, and get on with what remains of this season. There are still many important games to come.

In the days since the ESL collapsed, there has been more talk of new league structures, only this time it’s not with any ESL, but a new British league set-up.

The chat has mentioned there could be a place for Rangers and Celtic in any new structure.

Now, I have no problem with that because I think the Old Firm would do really well in it.

Given the same financial resources as many of the other clubs, I believe they’d comfortably be in the top half of any British league every season.

They both have brilliant fan bases, and they would be successful.

But I do think they’d need to compete to get the rewards.

I’m not sure about parachuting them straight into the English Premier League, or the Championship.

Surely there would need to be a due process?

Surely, they’d need to start in League Two, and work their way up through the divisions?

People will rightly ask if that is not a contradiction of what was proposed in the setting-up of the ESL?

Maybe yes, maybe no. Either way, I believe all clubs need to earn the right to success.

We have been here before with all of this talk of the Old Firm moving to England.

I honestly don’t know if the top English clubs really want Rangers and Celtic in any new set-up.

It’s been mentioned for more than 20 years, but has never got off the ground.

However, maybe it is going to be different this time? Maybe the winds of change are coming?

© NEIL HALL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Chelsea fans stage a demonstration against the European Super League

If there are plans out there – or talks going on – then let’s hear about them, so we can all have an input – the supporters of all the clubs involved included.

I don’t imagine any plans for change will be straightforward. It would be a long and arduous process.

But if there is a glimmer of hope, then I’m sure Celtic’s majority shareholder, Dermot Desmond, and his opposite number at Rangers, Douglas Park, would be keen to push it all the way.

If it does happen, eventually, then I’m more than sure that the Old Firm will be able to hold their own with any English sides.

But right now Steven Gerrard has a Premiership and Scottish Cup double to try to get over the line, continuing today with the quarter-final against St Johnstone at Ibrox.

Another week on, Celtic have still to appoint a permanent manager.

Those issues will be occupying the Old Firm’s thoughts at the moment more than anything else.