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. HT isn’t it fab that the scottish government, whilst of course committed to a review of the OB after 2 years, have already convinced themselves it’s all going great.

  2. neil lennon on football focus.



    looking happy, relaxed.



    talking well. what a man.



    jeese i miss him.



    may the sunshine on you

  3. neganon2



    Hence why my reply included the phrase ‘spurious and easily open to alternative interpretation’ when referring to the information he provided.

  4. BCW:



    I hesitate to be repetitive and boring however…



    Should we suspend honesty and integrity in the season of ‘goodwill’?



    Should auld acquaintance be forgot for the sake of liars and back stabbers?

  5. Kitalba, I would not sit back at all.



    I have said before, I am not entirely happy with the way we(Celtic) have dealt with this situation. Some of the things that have happened have been galling.


    I would have done things differently if the choices were mine to make.


    For example when Rangers were liquidated, at the time Walter Smith was wishing Sevco luck, I would have issued a statement mourning the passing of a rival, and welcoming the new club. Not contentious, not provocative, given everyone, including Rangers Legneds were doing the same thing.



    That doesn’t mean I have no sympathy with, or understanding of why the Club have done things differently.

  6. kitalba



    Nah, but hostility will just lead to the same. You want TD to change……..persuade him.

  7. Jobo Balde .@ 12 23 .



    Seems Bobby Ds youth included Alma Cogan , Tommy Steele and feckin Mitch Miller . I might stick all 3 in next years Christmas choon countdown.

  8. the glorious balance sheet on

    Hamiltontim 1229-



    Thanks for posting that letter from your MSP re the OBAF Act.



    I`m guessing that your MSP wrote to Matheson, the Cabinet Secretary for Criminal Justice, and that the points made in the letter have come direct from officials in his office as being the current government policy line.



    It concerns me that although the operation and implementation of the OBAF Act is supposed to be independently reviewed by August 2015, when the government puts out lines such as “figures show that the strong action taken is delivering results” then that suggests to me that this review will be a whitewash, a fait accompli; that the Scottish Government is determined to press ahead with the OBAF Act no matter what.



    To me putting out lines such as the strong action taken is delivering results stinks of pre-judging the outcome of the review and putting pressure on the people at Stirling University undertaking the review to deliver the results that the government wants.



    This is not good at all.

  9. tonydonnelly67



    12:09 on 20 December, 2014



    Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.’


    Henry David Thoreau



    Very true, but hard to prove.







    The problem you’ve got though is that you believe (I think) that the five way agreement exists. Now, you don’t actually have any proof of its existence, but that’s by the by.



    No, your problem is that you want to support the Board against all comers, no matter what.



    So either the Board knew of (at the very least) the five way agreement and couldn’t or wouldn’t stop it, thus being either complicit or impotent, neither of which alternatives would suit you, or they didn’t know of its existence and were therefore asleep at the wheel in their governance of Celtic, which is equally reprehensible.



    I can’t help thinking that it would suit your purpose (support of the Celtic Board) better to simply deny that the five way agreement exists. That way there can be no justified criticism of the Board. And after all, there is no conclusive proof that the agreement exists.

  10. kitalba



    In fact the whole thing does my head in. We are here arguing and fighting about what ? Meanwhile the crap goes on, destroying Celtic and Scottish Football.



    A lot of Tims are on the proverbial horns of a dilemma. But think there’s more wanting to play them…………evidence is staring us in the face.

  11. Doc:



    mate, this is how I started, I adored Celtic and all that they stood for, and a long story short they lied to me, not once, but many times, and I came to the conclusion that if they could lie just to a nobody like me, then who else would they have reason to lie to.



    Then in kicked the ‘pattern of behaviour’ and ‘the balance of probabilities’ and most of all – just for me – the silences



    the silences



    and I remember a night, a bad night, when I’d read – maybe one too many – Donegal Danny/SydneyTim/Mad Mitch/Pibroch/Neganon/Kev-jungle/Awe-Naw/and others I forget and I held my head in my hands and wailed…



    Who killed Celtic?



    Who. (No ?)

  12. tonydonnelly67


    12:40 on


    20 December, 2014





    Nah, but hostility will just lead to the same. You want TD to change……..persuade him.



    In yer dreams.






    You should reflect on that…….

  13. Geordie Munro


    11:38 on


    20 December, 2014






    Tomorrows trifle just isn’t gonna have the same kick :)







    The past 3 pages are the best argument for a multi-thread CQN blog I’ve seen.



    Could one of the blog cognoscenti please advise how soon this feature can be implemented?

  14. the glorious balance sheet



    I included that in my reply also. It certainly appears that it’s being reviewed at times, and in a manner, which will support their claims.



    It looks as if it’s here to stay.



    Any suggestions on how else it can be tackled are most welcome.

  15. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    I find it more than disappointing when fellow Celtic supporters slag each other we all have our own opinions on all things football.We should be able to discuss our opinions without all the childish name calling I dont agree with a lot of what is said on CQN but thats life and sometimes I do change my point of view but truth be told it is not that often.H.H.

  16. Did ma best.



    Aff oot to Airth Castle.



    Look out your own windies ra morra ;-)



    But please, be nice.




    Mate I’m finished until we get honesty. Now we are not going to get that from the SFA but until Celtic give me honesty in return for my money I am finished.



    And mate, this is no boast at all, it’s a real kick in the baws, I know so many Tims more present (maybe committed) than I who don’t only think likewise, they are buying golf clubs and time shares in Portugal. Clubs they’ll never swing and apartments they’ll never visit but they’ll sit in pubs in Dublin and London and God knows where else lamenting days they remember.



    And that does my nut because we don’t make memories by looking back, I don’t want to live forever in the shadow of Lisbon 67. I want to look forward and try, but before I walk down any road with anybody I want to trust them as honest.



    But I’m just a simple Celtic Supporter, Celtic will survive without the likes of me.

  18. Doesn’t matter what type of review, by whoever, into whatever legislation, governments always take what suits them best and bin the rest por cierto

  19. kitalba



    As I have pointed out in a previous post this morning, our attendances are normal. They have not been driven down by what the board have done or not done, but because that is the crowds we get unless there are exceptional things happening in the Scottish game. At this moment there are none por cierto.

  20. I just got word today that I can get away a few days early from my current assignment in the back of beyond and will be able to fly back into Glasgow on Christmas Eve. I get to have Christmas Dinner with my family and for me it now feels like there will be a Christmas after all, thank you God.



    I’ll also be home for the Ross County Game and just about the closest pub to my hoose is West, that’s where I’ll head after the game if God spares me. I’ll buy a pint for anyone from CQN that comes along after the game and says ‘are you KevinBhoy? I’m ‘.



    There youz go,


    Hail Hail and Merry Christmas.



  21. 80 convictions for the OB Act last year with 74 not guilty after trial. I would like to know how much this has cost the tax payer: overtime; video equipment; early morning raids;court etc etc Not to mention police diverted from other duties.



    25 not guilty last year and now 74 this year. So this ridiculous act has still not ‘bedded in.’



    You could double that conviction rate at an Orange parade in one day if it was policed properly and arrestable offences were actually acknowledged and enforced.

  22. St Stivs



    No got the stay press noo though, I’ve still got the curse o the thirst unfortunately. Just a big sociable drinker though. We’ll share a wee Irn Bru. Would be good to meet up. Must be the best part o 32 -33 years

  23. Kitalba, in short, No.


    Celtic isn’t dead, it isn’t even unwell.


    Although those who run the club could be doing a much better job.



    At more length, we have more positive posters here, we have more positive Celtic supporters.


    Neganon has a questioning personality, some of the others do too.


    Some discontent with how the Club have dealt with many situations.


    Some are just attention seeking saddos.



    That Celtic have lied, I do not doubt it.


    But I doubt that is a recent developement.


    Will any of what has happened deter me from supporting our Club?


    Not a chance.


    You know, as well as anyone, Celtic is not a PLC, it’s an community. I mean the thing that makes you a Tim, it’s not that you follow a PLC, it’s that you are part of that Community. Open to all.


    Those who, at any given time, are the official face of the Club rarely represent what I think the Club should say or do. I am struggling to think of any. Maybe John Ried’s speach on equal treatment, a shame those who came next thought it more appropriate to tell us to behave rather than back us.

  24. Doc @12.37



    For example when Rangers were liquidated, at the time Walter Smith was wishing Sevco luck, I would have issued a statement mourning the passing of a rival, and welcoming the new club. Not contentious, not provocative, given everyone, including Rangers Legneds were doing the same thing.






    I think it would have been a wonderfully understated GIRUY. Very provocative. But would have set straight celtics view of story there and then. And I wish we’d done exactly that.



    HH jamesgang

  25. Por Cierto:



    I’ve been going to Celtic games since ’64, I’m not going to argue with you over numbers because I hate statistics and when it is used as a weapon to ridicule it really is a two edged sword.



    All I’ll say to you mate is, in all honesty, I know so many who just won’t go.



    Bit of a generalisation but the mean being they will no longer pay to prop up corruption.



    That is my personal beef mate, I honestly believe we are complicit in the corruption by – if nothing else – our silence.

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