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Money grabbing, or clutching at straws?

Saturday 2nd July 2011
After losing out on midfielder Neil Danns to big-spending Leicscter City, Rangers director of football Gordan Smith blasted “money-grabbing” players and expressed concern over the financial state of the English game.

But is Smith making a fair judgement, or is he failing to address another more pressing issue?

While there are no doubts he was right to question the money-problems faced by the Championship, surely the whole situation raises more questions about the state of the game in Scotland rather than anything south of the border.

Danns is a good but fairly unremarkable player who‘s availability was overlooked by 90% of the Premier League. He has preferred a club who, while they are joint-favourites to go up, are in England's second tier, to a team who are assured of a place in the group stages of the Champions League.

And can you blame him? It is no secret Scottish football is in trouble and Rangers now have to come to terms with what they can offer potential players. Yes they may be able to give Champions League football, but realistically only up until Christmas, when in all likelihood elimination and Thursday nights in the Europa league beckon.

It's what comes in-between the European adventure that is the real concern to both Celtic and Rangers. Few can argue that the standard of player the SPL's top two are looking to recruit are going to fancy a trip to St Mirren on cold Decemeber afternoon when their other choice is potentially playing in the big stadiums of some of the Premier League's ex-big boys, chasing the dream of making it into arguably Europe's top league.

Without actually being in the boardrooms we can't compare wage offers to see if greed was behind Danns' choice, but it's becoming increasingly hard to for players to justify compromising on a poor domestic league to play Champions League football as a true sense of "ambition".

You cannot deny that the financial state of English football needs looking at, but it could be interpreted that the comments made by Smith were done so out of spite.However, they are more likely to be made out of frustration, and given the recent turmoil Scottish football has found itself in, they may well be one last distress call from a ship that is now steadily sinking.
Sam Oakford

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