What do ye reckon? Celtic and Rangers to England. Gartside wants an Irish franchise too. It’s like Groundhog Day.
Proposals to accept Glasgow rivals Celtic and Rangers into an expanded Premier League will be put forward for consideration this week.
Bolton chairman Phil Gartside will pitch plans for a two-tier league of between 36 and 40 teams on Thursday.
It is understood there would be a top tier of 18 clubs, with promotion and relegation to and from the league.
Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill and Spurs boss Harry Redknapp have backed the inclusion of the Scottish clubs.
Former Celtic manager O’Neill told BBC Radio 5 live: "I would like to see both teams in the Premier League. I think it would make the Premier League even stronger.
"I’ve been there, Celtic is just an unbelievable football club and Rangers also.
I would welcome Celtic and Rangers to English football if they wanted to play down here
“I don’t think for one minute the likes of ourselves, Aston Villa, would sit back and think ‘well that’s it’, or just give up. I think all clubs would try and get stronger because of it.”
Redknapp told the Daily Record: "I would welcome Celtic and Rangers to English football if they wanted to play down here.
“No doubt about it, I’m sure they would be good for the English game.”
The proposals are a revival of Gartside’s ideas which received a hostile reception from the Premier League’s 20 chairmen six months ago.
However, Gartside, the driving force behind the revamp, has tweaked the original plans to include promotion and relegation to and from the dual-tier league, while the two Scottish clubs would initially be invited to join the lower tier.
The Bolton chairman is also believed to be open to inviting an Irish franchise into the league in the future.
Former Birmingham City chairman David Gold told BBC Radio 5 live that the Premier League needed “new thinking, new proposals, new ideas” to “save itself from itself”.
However, Stoke owner Peter Coates said there was no need to change a league which was already an “enormous success”.
“There is no indication that it [the Premier League] needs Rangers and Celtic to take it further,” he said.
And BBC Sport’s Dan Roan said the proposals would represent a “radical overhaul” of the pyramid structure.
“Gartside is one of the most powerful men in the English game,” he told BBC Radio 5 live.
“He’s one of the longest-serving chairman in the Premier League, a man who sits on the FA board, one of just three professional representatives on the FA board, so I think it’s fair to say that it’s a serious proposal and deserves to be listened to.”
A Premier League spokesman stated that club chairmen were invited last year to submit thoughts and ideas as part of a strategic review process looking at the future of the Premier League.
He also stressed that potential plan for expansion was not the Premier League’s idea but that of Gartside.
Thursday’s meeting, which takes place between 1100 and 1400 GMT, will also consider the sponsorship deal agreed with Barclays in October and the recent performances of referees may also be discussed.