Newco (Rangers International Football Club) released their accounts today for the year to 30 June 2022, a period which saw them finish second in the Scottish Premiership, win the Scottish Cup for the first time and reach the Europa League final.
Since April we have posited that Newco would never have a better chance of eclipsing Celtic as the highest income club in Scotland. They came close, but at £86.8m finished just over £1m shy of Celtic’s figure, although it should be noted that they only see margin from their merchandising deal, not total income, which Celtic show. Another £1m income might have seen them over the line into an after tax profit, as it was, they recorded a £919k loss. If you want a look into the dark rescesses of how some would like to control the narrative in Scotland, take a look here:
It’s Orwellian. Freedom is slavery! Why do this, who does it benefit? The legal dispute with Sports Direct concluded during the period. A figure of £8.25m was noted for dispute resolution, including costs. They have surely learned a few lessons in contractual law by now.
Despite playing four more European knockout ties than Celtic, all in a higher ranked tournament, Newco earned less matchday income, £41.9m, compared to £43m. Being able to attract more fans helps Celtic on this metric. Newco have tried to narrow the gap this term by charging significantly higher European ticket prices.
Celtic continue to outspend all others on wages, the best guide to long-term success. Our spend here was £59m, Newco’s was £54.9m, inclusive of European bonuses.
The spectacularly good business in selling Calvin Bassey nad Joe Aribo happened after yearend. The period reported, however, saw Newco trade properly in the market for the first time, earning £13.5m from the sale of Patterson and the banked £4.6m from Aston Villa for manager, Steven Gerrard.
If Celtic’s dominance is ever to be challenged, Newco will need to develop a sustainable strategy of buying and selling at a profit. £13m is the lowest annual player sale figure Celtic have achieved in 5 years, the highest being last season’s £31m. Selling permits buying, last season Newco spent £7.5m on players, compared to Celtic’s £38m (although this figure included significant business done in June 2022).
A remarkable European run and the sale of Patterson makes this the first decent set of accounts since Newco were incorporated a decade ago. The reported £20m for Aribo, together with Champions League income, will ensure another solid year, although this term, European, matchday and commercial income are all likely to be down on the previous year.
For Celtic and Newco, player trading is where it’s at. In this respect, Celtic have a squad full of assets they could sell for significant sums: Carter-Vickers, Juranovic, Hatate, O’Riley, Kyogo, Jota, Abada, Maeda, Turnbull, Giakoumakis. High performing 29-year-old Callum McGregor could even make this list.
Newco have real challenges here, with a dearth of players at the right age, value and with contracted years remaining at the club. Investing in the here-and-now for a decade brought them two domestic honours but leaves them a tired looking outfit in need of huge investment just to stand still.
Winning the league, which again provides entry into the Champions League group stage, remains paramount for Celtic and Newco. The loser would face stiff competition for entry into the Champions or Europa Leagues, with a potential income cliff-edge.
For Celtic, with their saleable squad and £25m net cash position at 30 June, this would be unwelcome but planned for. For Newco, net cash position of minus £3.9m, it would ensure immediate downsizing to be compliant for Uefa competitions. Uefa’s monitoring of Newco is the real gamechanger here.
Football remains a sport where the bounce of a ball can change history. Celtic are only seven points ahead in the table and the ball will bounce many times before the end of the season. I did not anticipate how well Giovanni van Bronckhurst would recover from his defeat at Celtic Park in February and he could still turn this season around.
However, the signs are here, writ large. If you don’t know who will dominate Scottish football for the generation to come, you probably don’t know tomorrow is Thursday! It is that clear.
Well done on that league title and Scottish Cup, thanks for all those coefficient points, I cannot tell you how helpful they have been in getting Celtic to where they want to be when Uefa competitions change in 2024. Be nice to wee Gio, none of this is his fault, you are paying the price for poor management by your ‘custodians’ while Celtic have people with vision and sound judgement.