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. Ashley and Co,will drive a coach and horses through the amateurs at the SFA.Anytime i think of the SFA,i get a mental image of Humphrey and the gang in Yes Minister,stumbling from one mess to the next……

  2. Do the masons ever do freebies for the house, the big house?



    Is the unseen Fenian hand more powerful than the all seeing eye?



    Just a couple of questions I’ve been asked tonight.



    Could only answer one of them in the affirmative.

  3. greenpinta



    Stop it. I didn’t say cqn was boring and tedious. :)


    Not debating today sunbathing por cierto. Yes I know. How tough does it get! por cierto

  4. !!Bada Bing!!



    Why do you think Ashley and Co will drive a coach and horses through the amateurs at the SFA when Celtic’s QC’s could not?



    Serious question.





    Ashley,as we all know,is no mug. He is an extraordinary businessman,and ruthless to a fault.



    He has taken on-and hammered-much bigger than the SFA. And if he has an eager press doing the running for him,so much the better.



    He is not infallible,and has made a fair few well-publicised and costly errors. £300m on HBOS,£60m on Tesco,£40m on Debenhams spring to mind.



    But I recall his early ventures at Newcastle. His man-of-the-people,want-to-be-loved and promising the earth.



    The Toon Army didnae take to him,but the huns would,given those types of promises.



    If he gets a whiff of hunnery and buys into their WATP pish,Celtic will need to be ready-and capable-of fighting him head-on.




    The Official Club website says –



    Pre sale of tickets for season ticket holders starts on 23 / 12 .



    General sale ( from officially approved agencies) will start in mid January 2015 .



    Site says nothing re how many tickets Celtic will be officially given . It does say that the away support will be in -TERZO BLU -way up in the gods ..



    I will be surprised if the game is a sell out . Tickets should not be hard to get. . If you are thinking of getting a home ticket — do your homework re the location — some areas will be much more welcoming than others..



    Off oot to buy a John Dory..



  7. kitalba- IMO Celtic will do nothing to hinder Sevco playing in the SPFL ASAP,i posted about a year ago that if that clown was still their manager,they wouldn’t come up,and League Reconstruction would be in place for next season,i still think it will happen.HH

  8. Aulheid:



    Infinite Patience Produces Immediate results………….



    but I’m going to die before infinity, I don’t want to die before somebody levels the playing field for all. Am I selfish?

  9. jinkyredstar cuts it back for Neil Lennon on

    Thank you Celtfish – that’s good to know, I had heard about the banks just seems weird to me that there is nothing on Cfc.net about actually getting tickets from Celtic



    Sounds as though you had a great experience



  10. !!Bada Bing!!



    I can’t see it any differently from you. I’m given no encouragement from any source to do so.



    Have you got your tickets for the League Cup Semi Final? (only kidding)

  11. traditionalist88 on

    Interesting about the Telegraph article.



    Even more interesting that a caller to Clydes SSB, if I remember correctly last Monday night, made the same points almost word for word with the Telegraph article…which appeared the following day.



    The PR wars have begun. I suppose Ashley is better for them than Tesco…




  12. And now we are being told that, after all, there are no rules so please don’t get excited.



    Cognitive dissonance is alive and well and flourishing on CQN…..

  13. Laura Brannan ‏@_LauraBrannan 12s13 seconds ago


    Celtic have Francisco Junior on trial from Everton for the week.



    Whoever he is.

  14. I’ll ask again…



    is it illegal in any way to post the five-way-agreement on here?



    Trust me it’s a hoot.

  15. It’s the Huns supporters money that’s the reason for everything. If they had not attached themselves to the new entity then no one, even King, would be interestd If they walk away from Ashley then he will pull the plug. Next seasons ticket sales will determine what he does por cierto

  16. I just don’t see any reason why Ashley should pump money into Sevco to keep the lights on.


    Paul has told us on numerous posts that the fixed costs alone in keeping Ibrox and Murray going are more than SB income. Unless of course he closes them down and plays elsewhere to reduce the fixed cost. Even then they would struggle.


    Why spend £8 to £10 million a year to safeguard £4 to £5 million retail income.


    Ah well this time next year it will all become apparent what the point is. mmmm

  17. south of tunis



    13:44 on 19 December, 2014






    Looking on Ticketibis.net website and they are selling tickets for section Secondo Anello Blu for £39. Is that the level below the official Celtic section, and would it be safe in there? Thinking about taking my sons.

  18. kitalba-i’ve been on the Home Ticket Scheme since it started,and have had tickets for every semi and final since.I am in the camp who will go and support Celtic ,whoever we play,but totally understand bhoys who won’t go to a Sevco game,or an SFA governed competition.HH

  19. Does anyone know if the FFP rule which has been instigated against Leeds,Forest,etc,after losses of £8 million,will apply to Sevco?.Surely it would as its a UEFA rule.Have heard nothing about it in our MSM.Any info would be appreciated.

  20. !!Bada Bing!!



    If I got a freebie I’d be standing next to you. Fecked if I’m paying for corruption.

  21. turkeybhoy



    13:55 on 19 December, 2014



    Rules don’t apply to Sevco, they’re merely a set of guidelines.

  22. Hamiltontim


    13:23 on


    19 December, 2014



    Sorry nipped out for a sandwich.



    See if you’re DD and you’re isolated from the nasty side of them they probably are a great club. On paper they had a great history.



    Let’s be honest prior to 2012 everybody would talk of the Old Firm game as being one of the world’s great derbies. Pundits etc always do, ignoring the seedy side of it.



    While we’re being honest, let’s talk about how rank rotten the actual football in these games quite often turned out to be.



    I won’t miss them. Not one bit. What I would like is a return to a point where games after Easter still have some importance.





    I’ve said previously that FFP rules will be enough to stop anyone firing the fabled warchest into Ibrox.



    If applied without fear or favour,of course.



    The last two years have seen Rangers ,Sevco,whatever,promoted twice with huge losses and no action.



    So,yes,the rules are there.



    But no,apparently they do not apply.

  24. Turkeybhoy,



    I believe it’s for sustained losses.



    A club doing well will not be punished for one season of losses.



    Draw your own conclusion.

  25. foghorn leghorn on

    “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.”






    Excuse me, Your Honour,



    Before you pass sentence on Mr Smith, can I just say something in his defence?



    He is the best neighbour I have ever lived beside.



    His summer BBQs are legendary in our street.



    The house partys he holds are brilliant, they go on until 6 in the morning and the whole street are invited



    Yes, I know you have just found him guilty of murder, rape, international terrorism and dropping litter, but surely the benefits I have mentioned are more important than that




  26. Geordie Munro



    Boom boom



    Apparently RD knows him from Norway.



    That is something I suppose but he knew Berget as well.

  27. traditionalist88 on

    While we’re being honest, let’s talk about how rank rotten the actual football in these games quite often turned out to be.








    The English have made a killing doing the same thing. And where there is no derby- create one! The world we live in sadly.



    Don’t get me started on the popularity of rugby, where every match is guaranteed to be ugly…




  28. Ashley is not daft. He knows the SFA will never sanction action against Sevco when their position is so precarious. This is an organisation which has bent over backwards to help them the last few years, why on earth would they pull the trigger now, knowing one shot could finish them for good?



    Indeed, i suspect this “hearing” in Jan is all show. I bet it gets postoned, on Llambias’ request.



    Then rescheduled for end of Feb.



    At which point the SFA will say “we still need more information from yous”.



    Sevco will have until April 1 to provide it. They don’t, but comply two weeks later.



    Then the SFA will say they need time to consider it, and will report back in June.



    By which point the season will have ended, Sevco will be promoted, and on July 12, Sevco will be hit with a £5,000 fine.



    Which they won’t pay.





    Kinda reminds me of the eulogising of Mad Frankie Fraser over the last twenty years or so,and of his hugely attended funeral.



    Still,at least he won’t be back…

  30. Tell me, all you barrack room lawyers who seem to live on this site – if the Ibrox club succeed in getting promotion, by winning league, or play-offs, and, Ashley underwrites a share issue, or increases his stake to 29% in order to protect his retail investment – just what exactly is it that you want, or expect, Celtic to do, apart from not calling them anything like Rangers?



    Should we commit hari kiri and quit the SFA?



    Should we boycott Celtic force it to go bust?



    Should we join the Irish League?



    Should we just play friendlies?



    Or do we get on with it and let the malcontents form “Celtic of Glasgow”?



    Face it there will always be a Rangers brand, just as there will always bee a Celtic brand.



    Suggestions please, and remember we are living in the real world.

  31. A wee thought before I hit the cot, or maybe tow(sic)



    Second one first, why do people who pretend to be not themselves resort to Frank Kaffka syle (again sic both a French/latin one) posts only to belatedly found out to be a serial liar? You know that I know.



    Firstly and most importantly…



    and this is not between you and me, your gregarious, live for the moment and my why the feck don’t you understand my cynicism, naw… this is simple this is between the question and you ethics, your morals, rember those things you try to teach your kids, and most importantly between you and your conscience…



    between you and your conscience…



    Do you think Scottish football is corrupt?



    Do you think Celtic are complicit?



    In your name too?



    Prince you make me laugh.

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