Ashley fait accompli


Tuesday’s Telegraph suggested Mike Ashley is about to increase his shareholding in newco to 29.9% via a share issue, in contravention of his agreement with the SFA on multiple ownership.  This morning the club informed the stock market the Ashely’s appointee, Derek Llambias, is now chief executive.

The key passage in the Telegraph article is:

“There is no certainty of anything like unanimous approval, but many in the higher reaches of the Scottish game acknowledge that a revived Rangers, capable of resuming the Old Firm rivalry and renewing the club’s presence in Europe would make Scotland more attractive to broadcasters and league sponsors, with general benefits.”

This has almost certainly come from the same kind of club source which in another lifetime were assuring journalists that HMRC would agree to a CVA; I know for sure the SFA are far from ready to rubber-stamp an Ashley land grab.

There are a few points which, despite blanket coverage of this issue, are not getting a proper hearing:

At current trading levels, Ashley is earning around £4m p.a. from newco as their retail ‘partner’.  He is also their exclusive wholesaler, so the club is worth even more to him, let’s say £5m p.a. in total.

Anyone who tells you his financial pay-off is through having newco wear his branding on a European stage is either wholly compliant in an attempt to mislead newco fans, or is simply regurgitating information handed to them by PR agents, without the wherewithal to digest the information correctly.

He’s making £5m per year and he therefore has an interest in ensuring the club continues in its current condition.

The second issue is around the legality of multiple-ownership.  It is not against Uefa rules (you can simply comply by one club not competing) but does breach rules in Scotland and England.  I recommend not getting too hung-up on this point.  In the event he was asked to disinvest from one of his clubs, Ashley could with pull a Blue Pitch Holdings/Margarita stroke.

For all you know about those two newco investors, I could own them.  It’s a paper exercise for Ashley to move his ownership beyond the reaches of oversight, and there is nothing in the rules to prevent this.

The question for the SFA, and eventually the FA, is what level of Ashley’s influence, not ownership, they are comfortable with.  There are no guidelines on this point.

A further consideration is that whoever briefed the Telegraph at the start of the week is likely to have painted a scenario that without Ashley’s next bung, newco is likely to go the way of oldco.  This is far from certain.

If all newco need to survive another season is circa £8m it’s not a figure beyond the realms of possibility for some of the blowhards who have been trying to disrupt Ashley’s strategy in recent months.

My hunch is that the SFA and newco’s fans will be presented with a fait accomply – it’s Ashley or bust.  What is certain is that the club will be vastly more inhibited by Ashley milking it dry than with a unifying figure.  He has the makings of a memorable Ibrox owner, a true heir to Sir David Murray.

Still time to order Caesar & the Assassin, the 2015 CQN Annual, with or without bundle, or anything else from the vast array of Celtic books and DVDs in time for Christmas post, but you don’t have long……

Thank you to everyone who participated in our Magners ticket competition yesterday – and who donated to Mary’s Meals. The answer to the question, who do we play on 27 December, is Ross County, which proved to be trickier than I thought. Draw will be made this afternoon and winner informed thereafter.

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  1. jinkyredstar cuts it back for Neil Lennon on

    Good morning everyone I’m looking for a bit of info regarding the Milan away game. My colleague at work is a season book holder but has never been abroad with Celtic ( nor have I unfortunately) – can any of you advise his best way to get tickets for Milan.


    james forrest



    12:32 on 19 December, 2014


    The Scottish media is attacking Celtic for their stance on Tonev … are these people really going to try and give us lessons in morality?








    Well worth a read,folks. James hits them right where it hurts!

  3. jinkyredstar cuts it back for Neil Lennon on

    Now since I swiped the ole podium – please have a look at my question- had a visit to celtic. Net and didn’t get any info – maybe looking in the wrong place




    bobby murdoch’s curled-up winklepickers



    13:08 on 19 December, 2014








    My nephew had a summer placement with BG Group there,and fingers crossed for a permanent role.



    You can continue his Celtic education if it all works out!

  5. Steinreignedsupreme on

    kitalba 12:59 on 19 December, 2014



    “I would.”



    I would as well. But we are not football clubs.



    Major football clubs have no scruples at all. Money has completely ruined football. That is unlikely to ever change.





    SOUTHOFTUNIS suggested earlier that our allocation will be miles from the pitch. Might be worth asking him next time you see him posting on here.

  7. Por Cierto @ 12.53hrs.



    “Lying on the sunbed in LanZarote I come here every year at this time, and I log into cqn to read up on what’s happening. But I’m sure I travelled backwards 2/3 years. It’s the same old same old. He said this he said that, the board did this the board did that. It never stops. What has anyone done to rectify what he said and what the board did————————————————————————–



    Cheer up mate, I know its difficult with the sun beating down and your most pressing problem is whose going to the bar.



    If you find CQN boring and tedious today, why don’t you prise yourself off the sunbed, away from the rays and comprise a imaginative post that we can all discuss. Your participation may relieve the boredom.



    Please take this in the manner it is intended which is constructive and not cheeky;



    HH to you. jealouscsc

  8. GM



    From DD’s interview.



    “And they’re needed for Scottish football because of their following, the size of the club and especially their history. We certainly would like to contest with them every week.”

  9. I’m not clear on your wording Paul67 Newco needed a projected £8M to survive this season, not another season – or do you mean get to another season?



    That figure was based on their relatively good crowds at the time, which have since dropped dramatically. So perhaps it’s now nearer to £10M to survive.

  10. Hamiltontim


    13:16 on


    19 December, 2014



    I think DD’s wrong. The only level on which he (and all the other similar commentators) are right is that we need strong competition. It doesn’t need to be Rangers though. It doesn’t need to even be the same team every season, as long as there’s a genuine challenge. I suspect though that once a team manages to do it a couple of seasons in a row, they’ll be the one to stretch away from the rest and become a bit of a rival.

  11. HT,



    I don’t read that as you do mate.



    I read that, rightly or wrongly like…”kerching the games v them were the only show in town. We will be scudding them for years to come”



    I certainly don’t read it as “I look forward to playing them again”



    Maybe I’m just being picky ;)

  12. Paul67:



    Charles of Normandy wiped his arse with the five way agreement and threw it on the SFA table beclaiming it an illegal document… and not a soul in Scotland missed a heartbeat, all Michael of Maidenhead is doing is being thrifty and re-using said five way agreement mentioned above and once again throwing it on the SFA table and Rangers and Celtic and all of Scottish football have got to reconcile the fact that they never did the right thing by not condemning Rangers to the juniors and by continuing to propagate a corrupt entity such is the SFA, in my opinion, by continuing to put money into a corrupt game.



    How much, in you personal opinion, have Celtic been corrupted and by extension how much has every Celtic Supporter been corrupted. We can bleat the victim card in advance all we want, but how much of our hypothetical comeuppance have we brought on ourselves by inaction.



    Kitalba remembers Tonev was found guilty by nothing more than another man’s word.


    That is all it takes… another mans word and me to go belly up…. hump me! hump me! I’m not your equal. I’m a laid languid bogie.



    No I’m not.

  13. weeminger



    I completely agree, the lack of any genuine competition is contributing greatly to falling attendance.



    It was the particular language that DD used that continues to irk me.



    The Irishman said: “Rangers are a fantastic club with a great history. They will, in not too long a time, be back in the SPL. I have no doubt about that.”




  14. jinkyredstar cuts it back for Neil Lennon



    When I travelled to Milan I bought my ticket from a Bank. Got off the plane- early flight- bus into Centro and waited for the bank to open. I was joined by a young lad- actually 24 year old German who as I found out after was the son of a German industrialist and all he did was travel around Europe watching football and always put any Celtic tie at the top of his list.



    Got to my hotel where the Swindon Bhoys were staying and there was a big mob in reception checking in. All decked out in green and white- scarfs and tammys- celtic pin badges all over. They were a coach load who had travelled down from Dortmund. Looked like a throw back to the eighties with the mullet hair styles too. And people ask me why I support Celtic as I have an English accent !! They just don’t know.



    I am sure you will hear which bank you need to go to nearer the game- but cant see tickets being a problem.

  15. Local bedroom pirates doing their Best of 2014 thing —



    Actress / St Vincent / Scott Walker And SunnO))) / Caribou/ Swans / Shabazz Palaces/ Cooly G /Shackleton /Chief Keef / The War on Drugs /FreddyGibbs &Madlib .



    Not bad, not bad at all.

  16. GM






    Next time I have a plook I’ll get you in to pick it ya picky thing :-)



    As I’ve just said to Weeminger it’s the strength of vocabulary that I’m completely opposed to.

  17. If the SFA ignore, bend or break their own rules to benefit Sevco then every club on the wrong end of a decision by SFA should tell the same SFA to ram it. Every club need to support each other.

  18. Paul,



    The short term plan for Ashley is clearly promotion.



    The question is how much will it cost against profit made from the subsequent uplift in season ticket revenue and probable new home and away kits.







    Ps The Sevco vultures will always appear at season ticket renewal time for the quick buck. Who will it be this time?

  19. JungleJim




    13:26 on 19 December, 2014




    If the SFA ignore, bend or break their own rules to benefit Sevco then every club on the wrong end of a decision by SFA should tell the same SFA to ram it. Every club need to support each other.







    ‘IF’ ?? lol

  20. HT,



    I’m soooo glad my lunch was over before reading that :)



    Nah, I’d be proud to be called your personal plook picker neebs :))

  21. JungleJim:



    Yeah I’m sure they’ll all do that just like they did with the five way agreement.



    Tell me, does anybody remember which SPL clubs came out against the huns being parachuted straight back into the SPL post their unfortunate tribulations?



    Two clubs did not make known publicly their respective preference, Kilmarnock being one of them, the other, well who cares?



    Can anybody remember in what order the SPL clubs of the day gave public notice to their opposition of the then new Rangers being named ‘club 12’ and parachuted back into the SPL?



    Silence isn’t always golden and sometimes it is anything but. Sometimes men have to find a voice or live with the worst fears of their fears. Sometimes evil just has to be faced down and if it is not… don’t bleat.

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