The Supplement asked if Celtic's financial desperation could see them join English football.
Last Updated: 18/03/12 11:23am
Jonathan Northcroft believes Celtic's financial desperation is behind their reported bid to join English football.
According to the back page of Sunday's People, the Scottish club are in talks to join League One with a view to working their way up towards the Premier League.
The earning power of the Scottish Premier League could be hit if Rangers, who entered administration last month, are forced out of the top tier and Sunday Times journalist Northcroft believes a switch to English football could be a "way out" for Celtic.
"The background to this is about money," he told the Sunday Supplement.
"If you think back to the 1980's then Scottish football was quite rich and Rangers were one of the richest clubs in Europe and could afford people like Terry Butcher and the leading English players.
"When Alex Ferguson left Aberdeen he went to Man United and took a wage cut. That's where Scottish football was.
"The Premier League and its popularity has killed the popularity of the Scottish Premier League and we're now in a situation where I think the last TV deal in Scotland was for £80m for five years - and that was for all of the clubs. Man United could earn that in one year from TV if you put in Europe as well.
"Celtic and Rangers are looking at ways of making more money. Celtic are terrified now because Rangers could end up being relegated to the bottom tier of Scottish football because of their financial problems and they're looking for ways out."
Northcroft has worked in the Scottish sports media throughout his career and has seen reports of the Old Firm clubs bidding to join the English Premier League on numerous occasions.
But he says the fact Celtic are being linked with a switch to the lower leagues of English football has given the idea a whole new slant.
He added: "The interesting twist is that previously the Premier League has always been a barrier to letting Rangers and Celtic straight into the competition.
"They're talking about starting right at the bottom and doing it organically; almost in a back-door way of getting into the Premier League.
"The problem has always been that the Premier League clubs would regard Celtic and Rangers coming in as turkeys voting for Christmas.
"They know that they've got huge fanbases and are potentially very powerful clubs, so if they let them into the competition they could be there to stay - and that would reduce the number of places for other teams.
"By saying that they would go into the bottom tier and earn the right to be in the league seems more sensible from a footballing point of view.
"But the Premier League clubs would still have to accept that if Celtic did get all the way up they could get into the league. There are also other barriers; Uefa would have to accept this would be allowed. I don't think Celtic would be allowed to play in European competition.
"There are barriers, but Celtic are at a critical point, Scottish football is at a critical point and it's natural they'll look at things like this."
Northcroft also said he was sceptical about the story because similar ideas have been discussed in the past, but haven't come to fruition.
He said: "One thing that makes me a bit cautious about this is that I remember working in Scotland and we did this story two or three times every year it seemed.
"I remember there was a proposal for the Atlantic League, which would have involved the Scottish clubs joining the Scandinavian clubs and the Portuguese and Dutch clubs, but that didn't come to anything.
"There was even a proposal to take Wimbledon, move them to Dublin and enter them into the Scottish League to generate more interest.
"Nothing ever happened. It's a sign of how desperate Scottish football - and the Old Firm in particular - are that Celtic are willing to go right down to League Two to work their way up."