Very interesting decision by Celtic to play these pre-season friendlies at St Mirren Park in Paisley.
The reason given for this was that there is maintenance work at Celtic Park, which of course is the case.
However there are perhaps some other factors at play.
1. Had Celtic played these matches at Celtic Park the small crowd would have meant a poor empty stadium atmosphere. By playing at a much smaller stadium Celtic were able to endure a decent atmosphere.
2. Improvements to Celtic TV and a growing confidence that Celtic TV can deliver games in a high quality fashion without the need of a third party media partner – who pay small English clubs hundreds of times the value of the worth they place on the global brand that is Celtic FC. I refer you to Paul’s recent blogs on watching matches on TV.
3. Do you remember the Ronny Deila lecture video which had English subtitles added? Ronny wants to develop first team players and increase the importance of this team and indeed the U17s and so on. Where do these young Celts play?
4. Celtic realise that the women’s side needs investment and with the World Cup in Canada coming to a conclusion there may be a growing market for the women’s game. The Celtic Women team need a home.
5. Should an opportunity arise for Celtic to exit the Scottish league at some time in the future an established Development side could remain and compete well to say the least.
Could Celtic be looking at purchasing a small stadium or even building one?
Such a move could offer supporters the chance to watch more home friendlies such as today’s, allow the Development Squad, under 17s and women’s sides to have a home stadium with a regular support and give Celtic TV a huge increase in content.
Content = audience = revenue.
Whether we develop Barrowfields or the land to the West of Celtic Park or buy a wee stadium ( and take tenants) there is a great deal to be said for such a plan.
Not that that’s what Celtic are thinking….