Celtic reported an increase in turnover of 6.6% to £53.3m for the six months to 31 December 2019 (2018: £50.0m). Profit from trading was up slightly to £7.1m (2018: £6.2m), which the departure of Kieran Tierney saw profit from player transfers hit £23.0m (2018: £17.6m).
Money spent on player registrations for the period was £15.0m, up significantly from the £1.9m in the corresponding period last season. The Rainy Day Fund was sitting at £45.1m, that’s just £8m shy of the annual turnover of Scotland’s second highest turnover club.
Celtic have moved into a new financial space since 2016, not only have we won all domestic trophies, but we have a commercial operation that is now successful enough to cope (if not thrive) when Europa League football is all that is achieved.
Expenditure, particularly on wages and transfer fees, has grown with turnover. Transfer fees paid across both windows this season, at £22m, is the highest in our history. Wages will continue to creep north, despite a couple of high cost leavers over the last 12 months.
We are safe and we are expanding, which has resulted in domestic success. This is the kind of budget expansion I like, not the Casino Football we witnessed elsewhere a while back. The lack of Champions League football this season and last is the only blot; one that needs to be addressed during this summer’s preparations.
Getting the big strategic calls right in football is a difficult balancing act. I know the £45m bank balance is, ironically, not something any of us want to see, but it will enable us to push the transfer fees and wage boundaries further-still in the future.