Detail behind haunting words of Paul Murray


You and I have been discussing football finances here since 2004.  In our early years Celtic lost several million pounds each year, CQN’s call was ‘we must breakeven over any business cycle’, an incredibly controversial view in those times of indulgent bling.

By 2004 Celtic hadn’t added a player who held down a sustained first team place for three years (since John Hartson in 2001).  We also lost a talisman that summer.  The pressure was on to spend, from the stands and the dug-out, but Brian Quinn, our chairman, had concerns about running at a permanent loss.  In the face of considerable criticism from the bling-brigade he stood firm.

Celtic won three of the next four league titles while reaching new territory in the Champions League as others continued to spent beyond their means and exploit unconventional taxation policies, which ultimately saw them liquidated, but while the end game was predictable, most didn’t predict it.  This resulted in strife at our club.

Finance was a focus of CQN in the early years when we produced granular analysis of accounts and budgetary forecasting.  As we became less of a basket-case the time spent debating money reduced.

We can all talk about strikers and defending, policing and political influences, good corporate governance and the SFA, but if you scratch below the surface of those with many years of CQN behind them, I suspect you’ll find people who can’t resist a football club’s cost and revenue breakdown spreadsheet….

The document which appeared on the internet yesterday on a former football club [let’s call them ExCo] was a joy.  To me, anyway.  It provided many small details which add up to one or two enormous conclusions.

ExCo forecast current year spend for 2011-12 on cleaning costs to be £380k, electricity at £455k, insurance at £374k, postage and carriage at £146k, IT at £261k, professional fees at £613k and telephone costs at £149k.  Stewarding was £593k, policing, £343k, match day ambulance, £89k.  They spent £160k on finance salaries and £176 on press office salaries while ticket operation salaries cost £268k.  The list is exhaustive, 10 pages of costs detailed.

Operating costs, before items like our old friend, amortisation, and tax (don’t laugh), were predicted to come in just shy of £37m, but the key message in all of this detail, is that if you want to operate a football club which can accommodate circa 40,000 spectators you need an infrastructure which costs around £20m.

The police, building maintenance, insurances, grass seed and everything else has to be budgeted for before you can look at player wages, not to mention transfer fees.  £268k might sound like a lot to pay for ticket office staff but if you need to issue tens of thousands of tickets you need fulfilment staff.  All those assets: enormous properties, thousands of fans, blanket media attention, can feel like liabilities to the guy with the responsibility to pay for them.

On reading this the overwhelming memory I had was of former Rangers director, Paul Murray, who a year ago told the world that Newco Rangers would not be viable, and he was hoping a Newco would have SPL football back then.  New clubs cannot qualify in European competition until after they have completed three years trading (a minimum of four years without Europe).

With no European revenue for four years, Newco would be unable to pay all those ‘fixed’ costs and put a competitive team on the field.  A big club can’t survive trapped in a small league with no European revenue.

This is reality.  Scotland has one healthy large club and has a dozen or more potentially healthy small ones, but nothing will ever be the same again.

Thanks to everyone who has bought Willie Wallace autobiography.  Orders in from Belfast, Blackpool, Bonnybridge, Burntisland and Blackrock.  If you order now you will receive a copy signed by the man himself….

Email me if you have an article for CQN Magazine inside of you waiting to get out; celticquicknews@gmail.com.

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  1. First 11 ?



    Bhoys and Ghirls ,


    Another Kano Foundation announcement !!



    Oh no , i hear you say , he’ll either by after money or will start another list !. Well , no . Not this time – well , not really.



    We’re looking for half a dozen volunteers to distribute leaflets pre Cup Final on Sunday 26th May as part of our It’s a Grand Old Team to See


    campaign which is designed to get 1000 supporters to contribute to helping us secure the next generation of fans at Celtic Park.



    So , if you’re interested AND are going to the CF , can you drop me a line to sannabhoy@thekanofoundation.com ?







  2. unionbearBhind on

    bada bing



    was too slow with thanks, new article posted, was beginning to think I was imagining it do you know if they declared it to sfa?

  3. £20m is a helluva big target when all you’ve got is a few Masonic pennies to run together.

  4. * rub together


    Bloody iPhone



    Congratulations BT another podium,


    HT must be on play ground duties.

  5. We have had a generation of lies over the health of the Rangers (in its many forms) finances. I cannot believe they gathered in anywhere near £20 Million in hard cash.



    My guess is that the starting figure would have been lucky to reach £10 Million……….and that’s gone.

  6. !!Bada Bing!! on

    unionbearbhind-they should have, i think SFA asked all clubs to submit EBT recipients if any.





    I sincerely hope that your lead article is read and digested by those in the MSM who famously ignore us bampots and rely on their own research,sorry,inside info from gladhanded bosom buddies.



    After all,it simply would not do for them to look silly,or incompetent,or even,well,is duped the word?



    You know,I reckon if we keep using the word duped as a means of ripping the pash outa the huns and their MSM lickspittles we can officially change its meaning….

  8. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    ‘CQN’s call was ‘we must break even over any business cycle’



    – was it?



    I thought it was ‘Podium?’

  9. I’d also like to see this document. Some of the costs seem unbelievably high (in a good way!). Phone costs running into the hundreds of thousands, maybe I’m just being ignorant but what is the need for such high costs?

















    Cherry gone,buddy?

  11. Since 2004 the huns have waited to see how it pans out. They deserve EVERYTHING that has and will happen to them.

  12. unionbearBhind on

    Bada Bing



    stinks to high heaven, zombies used our 1 declared ebt cant remember them mentioning hearts ebts





  13. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    ‘The Bhoys of the Bling Brigade’



    -on Pat Nevin’s banned list





    Boiler room pump n dump disnae come cheap.



    And Greggs don’t have a freefone orderline number….



    It all adds to the cost,you know!

  15. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    Any podium in the absence of Philvis and his lightning keyboard is tainted,IMO.

  16. Paul67



    The company I work for has started to supply custom made rugs and I had the thought the other day that it would be good to supply businesses and corporations for their receptions and HQs. Of course the initial thought that came to my mind was ‘it would be pretty special if we could make a bespoke rug for Celtic’ (thinking about the trophy room and museum that’s to be built).



    If it was my company I’d do it for free, a sort of 125 anniversary gift, it’s not but I might be able to swindle a cost-price deal for the club. Was wondering if you would have any contact details that you could email me for someone at the club who might deal with enquiries of this nature?

  17. Gene's a Bhoy's name on

    Looking at yesterday’s and today’s articles it appears cqn lives in its own information bubble -no confirmation in the msm as far as i can see. Who to believe?

  18. Hugh Bonkle fae Dallas on

    granular analysis of accounts and budgetary forecasting is all very well but why are there no handsome h*ns?

  19. unionbearBhind on

    Gordon_J backing Neil Lennon



    when did the zombies ever play strictly by rules, they’ve always interpreted rules corruptly, cant see them changing the habits of a lifetime!




  20. Paul



    Good stuff as ever.



    Even the dugs in the street can see they have serious financial problems, even I can see that they may well not be able to fullfil their footballing fixtures due to their lack of pound notes.



    I would doubt they will have a 30 odd thousand ST uptake this season, which will make their situation even worse.



    Question is, would it be better if the sfa gave them a licence or not ?

  21. Slabhoy - Duntocher is Green and White on

    petec – cracking track from Lefthand – whole new world opened up for me. Spotifying their albums now – brilliant!

  22. Celtic_First on




    Thank you for explaining the regulations around playing trialists.



    One question, and I apologise if you have gone into this. Do you interpret the situation to be that Sevco will be able to sign and field only two new players in this close season? Or at least sign and field between now and January?



    If you could clarify, I’ll be very grateful.




    Never doubt how stupid they are. There will be 30k season ticket holders there next season. The MSM will mention war chests and how much money they have and the fans will lap it up.


    Their stupidity is beyond comprehension.




  24. unionbearBhind on




    thanks for the meat on bones its good to know they will be very weak long term, even if they do somehow manage to survive!

  25. Celtic_First on




    How many times have we heard them say, whether in so many words or not: “Nothing to see here, Timmy. Jog on”?



    They are desperately trying to keep up the pretence that there is nothing to see. They are doing it because they cannot face the alternative, that Timmy is, in fact, correct.

  26. tomtheleedstim on

    Philvis – if you’re lurking are you coming out to play? The blog is poorer for your absence – even the Tory stuff. I hope you’re just sulking over the Thatcher reaction rather than it being anything serious!




  27. ArranmoreBhoyLXV11 on




    I’m sure Richard Wilson, erstwhile Herald Sevco specialist, will have all the answers- or the questions to ask at the least..




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