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. sipsini



    17:42 on 19 December, 2014



    He won’t go to another team in Scotland and don’t think he would get a team challenging for Europe in England so don’t think he could come back to haunt us, hopefully he’s with us for a long time he’s a goal machine when given game time HH

  2. Ellboy – I am Neil Lennon, YNWA.



    Thanks for that info from Phil.



    “… the only sanctions that could be put on the club were a fine or points deduction …”



    I would have thought it’s not a question of sanctions (small fine or points off): it’s either allowed or its not allowed.



    If the dual ownership thing is allowed, the SFA have some explaining to do to all the other clubs and their fans in Scotland.



    If it’s not allowed, that should be the end of the matter: Ashsley can strat about looking elsewhere to cause disruption in making his mega-millions.

  3. sipsini



    Do you think there is an agenda against Leigh Griffiths or do you think that the manager just fancies playing Tony Stokes in that position at the moment?

  4. Football is a business and subject to business ethics which gave us



    the banking crisis


    60p per hour bangladesh sweat shops


    aggressive tax avoidance – google, amazon etc


    tax evasion -govan mob


    etc, etc

  5. I’m sure that item in the Telegraph was written by that bluenose Forsyth..London must be full of guns in the media.look at sky sports another hun addition on there panel .I think her name Wilson.and she looks a hun

  6. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    Watching Griffiths scoreing the other night when is Rony going to give him a run in the team he will score goals he has done so through out his career. H.H.

  7. traditionalist88 on




    LG guarantees goals and should be kept and giving far more game time even if not a starter week in, week out.



    Goalscorers are hard enought o find without letting them go without giving them a chance.



    He seems to have screwed the nut a bit too.



    Would be a huge, huge mistake to let him go.



    For a club who are so big on stats and let youngsters like Andy Robertson go because he was an inch too small, letting a proven goalscorer go who is happy to stay would be utter madness.




  8. Ronny Deila says Celtic will not take the Aleksandar Tonev case any further.


    On-loan Bulgarian winger Tonev this week lost his appeal against a seven-match ban for racially abusing Aberdeen defender Shay Logan.


    It was suggested Celtic might take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport if Tonev’s appeal failed, but Deila revealed that will not happen.


    “I don’t think there is any possibility to go further so it will stop here,” the Celtic manager said.


    And he added: “I’m very disappointed. He sent his statement out, we believe him and that’s how it is. There’s nothing we can do other than just go on.


    “We have to take the penalty but we still believe it is not right, we believe Aleksandar Tonev. Of course he has a future [at Celtic].


    “It’s tough that he has seven games out but that’s football. The most important thing is we stay behind him and support him, and that’s what we’re going to do. We will give him some days off so he can go home to Bulgaria for Christmas and then when he comes back he can fight for his place in the team again.


    “It’s not difficult to manage. You can’t judge a person when it’s word against word, in my opinion, you will never do that in a real court, so it’s not proof and we still believe him.”


    Celtic skipper Scott Brown also voiced his support for on-loan Aston Villa player Tonev.


    “He [Tonev] has been fine, we all stick by him and know what happened,” said Brown. “His training has been excellent, he’s enjoying it and has good banter with the lads.”


    Celtic visit Dundee United in Scottish Premiership action on Sunday, having produced one of their best displays of the season in beating Jackie McNamara’s side 6-1 at Celtic Park in August.


    But Deila is preparing for test at Tannadice this weekend.


    “They have improved and have had a very good season so far,” said the Norwegian.


    “I like the way they play, they defend hard with a good team spirit, they are very direct in their play, they are very good in counter-attacks and also score a lot in set plays. They are a good team and bring on a lot of young players. They have sold players for good money as well and still keep the team up, and that is a sign of a real culture and a good club.


    “It’s going to be a tough game but that’s what we need.”

  9. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    traditionalist88. I have to agree fella but Rony seems to have a blind spot when it comes to Griffiths but like you if we let him go I thing it will be a mistake. H.H.

  10. jamesgang



    Bit early to be sniffing the sherbet :-)


    Good craic ya big lug. Keep smiling



  11. Marrakesh Express



    I’m not a forensic psychologist, no honest I’m not, but as with the late great James Alexander Gordon, I can always sense what is coming from the tone of Roddy Forsyth’s voice; for example if Radio 5 does a link, ‘and Roddy’s got a goal at Celtic Park’ and we get downbeat Roddy, I start celebrating!



    nb He did do a great commentary on the day we preserved the nine mind you.

  12. Ellboy - I am Neil Lennon, YNWA. on




    No problem!



    “I would have thought it’s not a question of sanctions (small fine or points off): it’s either allowed or its not allowed.”



    Well as far as I am aware if this was any other club then by current rules it wouldn’t be allowed. I guess we will have to wait and see how this plays out but it’s clear to see that blind eyes will be turned whenever possible.




  13. bournesouprecipe on

    The reason RD doesn’t give Leigh Griffiths a run in the team is that he’s a striker, and John Guidetti plays point in the RD system of one main striker.



    It’s the same for Stefan Scepovic who is behind Guidetti for the jersey. Anthony Stokes has had to adapt his game to play wider on left, and get a game.

  14. traditionalist88,



    Agreed mate, I’d like to see him get more time in the first team, I always hoped he would find his feet with Celtic. HH



    Just listened to bfdj lording up Ashley, yep, next we’ll be hearing he was always a ra…hun man.

  15. traditionalist88 on

    Joe Filippis Haircut


    17:59 on


    19 December, 2014


    traditionalist88. I have to agree fella but Rony seems to have a blind spot when it comes to Griffiths but like you if we let him go I thing it will be a mistake. H.H





    Exactly, the stats don’t lie. He guarantees goals and must be kept, simple as that, even if Ronny doesn’t like him.




  16. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    bournesouprecipe. In Scotland it is my belief we should be playing two strikers not this one striker game.We have seen the lack of goals in the last few weeks against pretty average teams. H.H.

  17. bournesouprecipe



    Naw mate get wi’ the program, he’s the victim of a managerial conspiracy the same one that ruined Tony Watt’s career:)))



    We need an unused hero it’s the CQN way the striker on the bench is always better than the one the manager uses..

  18. traditionalist88 on




    Yep – he’s a great option to have as he gets into good positions behind defenders and has an excellent shot on him.




  19. traditionalist88 on

    We need an unused hero it’s the CQN way the striker on the bench is always better than the one the manager uses..





    Starry Plough



    was that a direct quote or did you make it up?




  20. starry plough



    17:49 on 19 December, 2014



    We’ll watch Griffiths go the same way as Watt.



    I’ve been in his company, he’s a daftie, and worse he’s a scumbag daftie.



    I’ve not said anything because my views on his signing at the time are well known.

  21. traditionalist88



    Just made it up mate, Leigh Griffiths is turning into this seasons Tony Watt, JG is keeping LG out of the team, there doesn’t seem to be any other reason than that to me, you could drop Anto for Leigh but does Leigh link up as well as Anto with Izzy? Or you could just think that Ronny don’t like Leigh which is also a possibility?



    For the record I think Leigh Griffiths is a decent finisher and football player…

  22. starry plough,



    No, I don’t think there’s an agenda, I just think he is due a chance to show why we bought him in the first place.



    To be honest, I think our first team playing pool needs diluted and more quality brought in with the money that can be saved. HH

  23. bournesouprecipe on

    Joe Fillipi’s



    A widely held belief, but it’s nearly half way through the season and the system remains the same Europe or domestic. We scored four going on nine, against St Mirren last week and the dearth of goals for weeks before that wasn’t down to lack of chances, more poor finishing. If Griffiths can get into the side, he’ll be pushed wide or someone else will be out through injury.

  24. Hamiltontim



    Sometimes a player’s “personality” is his biggest handicap, I’m not privvy to behind the scenes info at Paradise but there’s always been one or two fallen angels:)))



    Derek Riordan comes to mind, talented player just couldn’t seem to screw the nut and pissed his talent up against the wall…


    Snake Plissken



    Can’t believe the sh!te they talk, cloying, feeble, but lie after lie. Still it’s worth listening just to laugh at them hurting.



    Remarkable though how the media and Huns can live a lie. There’s probably a social phenomenon type word to describe the phenomenon.

  26. HT,



    We’ve had a lot of dafties in the past, they still done a job for Celtic.



    I’m not condoning any of their actions, but like in every occupation, there’s dafties.

  27. Starry-Sipsini



    It’s more personal than just daftie behaviour and I can guarantee that it got back to the manager.



    Not from me :-)

  28. sipsini



    Every year we seem to have the same situation at Celtic, we’re all on here wondering how we’re going to get rid of the deadwood and every year we seem to be overloaded with guys who didn’t contribute to the cause!



    A smaller squad? I’m hoping the quality over quantity will be Ronny’s cry..



    I’m heartily sick of seeing duffers don the hoops and I spend half a season hoping they will come good knowing fine well they won’t.



    It’s the hope that breaks yer heart..

  29. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    Hamiltontim. Footballers are young lads and for many of them the only brains they have are in there feet and if we dont select players because they are dafties and scumbags ( your words ) we may find quite a lot of players could not be signed by the club.Surely its his goals we should be talking about not a character slagging.H.H.