Donald, Ashley, cost of hubris laid bare


Delighted Aberdeen are now free of their “debt servicing burden” after long-term supporters Willie and Elaine Donald proposed to reduce net debt by an astonishing £14.9m.  The club have been able to service their debt but it’s been caught between paying for old overspends and driving ahead with a new stadium to provide for its future.

Aberdeen has a vibrant business and corporate entertainment sector which the club is well-placed to exploit.  In the right environment, specifically, playing a regional league with a new stadium, they could be transformed into a European power, as they were back in the day.

Unfortunately, it’s not all rosy positive financial news for Scottish football clubs.  Rangers International’s statement to the stock market this morning confirmed that Mike Ashley’s £2m loan will not be enough to see the club through to the end of this month.  Ash’ has provided a further £1m, which will take them through to the second week in December – at least!

The statement confirms yet more money will be needed before the end of the year and that the directors have begun a cost cutting exercise.  So where does this leave them?

Living week-to-week is fine if you are within sight of season ticket renewal deadline but that’s six months away.  The funding requirement to get them to that day is likely to be north of £10m, with Ashley now the only wallet in town.

A great deal of analysis is taking place over his commitment to the SFA that he’ll not acquire more than 10% of the club, but this overlooks all the important factors, specifically that owning more share capital is neither necessary nor helpful to Ashley.

Football clubs are a collection of businesses.  There is the football, of course, but there is also a media business (print, online), retail services, brand merchandising, corporate hospitality, there’s advertising space to fill, and with some, there’s a link to a charity, which requires administration.

The charity and football operations cost money but everything else tends to make a profit.  Football clubs are horrible entities to manage.  You have unrealistic competitive pressures, fans who demand conflicting objectives and your performance can be undermined by a defender’s lapse, before you’re scrutinised in public. Only lunatics would apply.

By contrast, corporate retail management is a walk in the park.  Ashley already has a healthy share of Newco’s retail, merchandising and IP rights.  He can and will make money out of them, and no one has been able to tell me why he’d be remotely interested in owning an ounce more than Rangers International.

The funding which will get the club through the rest of the season is likely to cost them all those profitable income streams in perpetuity.  There’s a good chance security will be required over the property assets too.

Newco is pretty much hollowed-out already but the scavenging isn’t finished.  By the time the consequences of all that ‘we will continue to act like a big club’ nonsense of the last two years has comes home to roost, the cost of their hubris will be laid bare to even the most blinkered mind.

All of this was inevitable when Sir David Muray overruled his board’s recommendation and sold out oldco to a liquidation expert.

TIME CHANGE Remember, we’ve got Davie Hay on the blog tomorrow from 9:30 – 11:30.

You can get copies of Caesar & the Assassin, Billy McNeill and Davie Hay’s accounts of managing Celtic from Jock Stein’s departure until the appointment of Liam Brady, signed by both Billy and Davie here.

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  1. Afternoon Timland from a warm hun free mountain valley.






    Another loan, more needed…….


    I’m no financial expert, but even a blind man can see they are trading while insolvent, yet the sfa do sfa.



    What a disgrace, what a joke, yet they can do as they please.


    The ol ludge has far reaching tenticals so it does.




  2. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    BGX, If we follow your scenario and Mike Ashley gets his money back from next seasons ticket sales where does the money come from for them to run the club next season ? H.H.

  3. Greenpinata:



    The figure of 42% (approx) was a spike caused by an urgent need for cannon fodder. There are many books on the subject, far too many to list, however you might want to have a wee look at these four in your local library:



    Wellington’s Army by Michael Glover



    A Military History of Ireland by Thomas Bartlett and Keith Jeffery



    Redcoats by Richard Holmes



    Heroic Option: The Irish in the British Army by Desmond Bowen and Jean Bowen



    Saint Stivs:



    Anybody can google Michael and see what school he went to, anybody. I’m also led to believe that not only was he brought up in the Catholic tradition, he’s a God Father too.

  4. Think the deadly bears team squad needs a makeover,somthing like 9 or 10 out of contract next year…cant see mike paying boydy and co top dollar.# livingwage

  5. Afternoon, I’m not so sure about Mike A, I just feel he may just buy into the new club and try and get them up up and away, don’t like us sitting back and waiting on a new club coming up, Celtic should be ten years ahead by now….. we’re far from it..



    Ayrshire is Green and White

  6. micktt,



    do you think mick astley , never gonny give you up, will catch Rangertitus ?



    i think he is immune.



    he is however a great carpet bagger medicine man on the back of a wagon.

  7. From Paul’s article it looks like the jackals have departed to be replaced by the vultures.


    Or maybe it’s the other way round.


    It’s a distinction without a difference as the meat is now being stripped from the carcass.

  8. Davidopoulos




    13:01 on 12 November, 2014







    12:57 on 12 November, 2014






    12:08 on 12 November, 2014



    Re Fleetwood Mac…



    I saw Peter Green play the Hop Farm festival a few years ago. He could still play but couldn’t speak to the audience and lyrics were jumbled. It really is sad what happened to him and Kerwin.



    Don’t do drugs kids…




    I saw Bob Dylan and Van Morrison at the Hop Farm a few years ago and they were exactly the same. Maybe it’s the ale rather than the drugs? :-)))





    Indeed! That was the same one. Van Morrison walked on, played averagely, walked off. Or was I just listening averagely?



    Good wee festival that though…




    I really enjoyed it. I’m not a fan of festivals – there’s nothing worse for me than seeing one of my favourite bands in amongst a crowd of people who are not that bothered! I also saw Blondie and The Kinks (who were fantastic!) that weekend. Hop Farm must be, like, God’s Waiting Room for aging rock stars!

  9. this is where our board strategists do miss a trick.



    get one of the murray park starlets, sign them, loan them out.


    or buy an old co player to us, Jellyfish, Naismith , hutton,



    rub it in till they change colour.



    we buy enough duds, might as well make it fun at their expesne as well

  10. Philbhoy




    13:02 on 12 November, 2014







    My bro and sis in law live in Bonaly Wester.



    You anywhere near?



    Sis in law also works at the local dentist.




    5 mins walk mate!



    You sis-in-law must have had the -ahem! – pleasure of me as a patient. Hope it’s only reception she works on!!

  11. Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan supports Oscar Knox, MacKenzie Furniss and anyone else who fights Neuroblastoma on

    Neil canamalar Lennon hunskelper extrordinaire


    10:30 on


    12 November, 2014




    Did you ever look at the Max Keiser stuff,


    He’s usually a year in front of the curve when reporting financial crimes, this was his show 2013 explaining the Forex scam, I note the second half of the show is about gold, will that be next ?








    In the event of another financial crisis — more of an inevitability than a possibility — there will be a move towards if not a full return to the Gold Standard.



    Various countries such as the Chinese, The Russians, The USA and so on are Gold hoarders and have been amassing Gold in recent years.



    The Germans have also increased their stocks whereas we in Britain sold ours to balance the books and stay liquid.



    We have already mortgaged gas and oil revenues ( that will be the gas and oil that is running out by the way ) and so we face demotion to the second or third division of countries with financial clout.



    However, a few years ago I was told of a wee story which did not sit well in some quarters.



    The Bank of England sits on Gold reserves ( among others things ) that belong to other sovereign nations.



    Each nation has a vault ( or a big bin if you like ) where their Gold is stored and if the French say sell some to the Canadians it is just a case of lifting the Gold from one bin to another and that being recorded in the books



    Simple really?



    Well, apparently not.



    I was told that when old Gordon Brown authorised the sale of the Bank of England’s Gold reserve it was later discovered that some of the Gold that was sold actually belonged to Chancellor Merkel’s predecessor.



    Apparently, when this was eventually discovered the wee German wumman wasn’t best chuffed and of course demanded, and received, an assurance that the error would be remedied.



    We live, as they say, in interesting times.



    Q. On Mike Ashley — when is a payday loan not a payday loan?



    A. When it is a redundancy payment.

  12. Joefillipis….season ticket money will be way north of what he is owed…especially after ashley slashes the wages and costs…NO?

  13. Dont know why some fans are wondering what MA is up to.He has won the football version of the lottery.He has spent nothing doing it.His shares he can sell,with,no,or minimum loss.He has,until this morning,49% of all merchandising.After the “Naming rights”deal,you can bet he has somehow increased that.He has loaned the hun money they cannot pay back,against the hallowed car park,and Edminston House.He can walk away now,thinking “What a little earner that was”.


    The huns are feked and he knows it without him.He is laughing all the way to the bank.


    To think he would invest in,a whole new squad,a new management team,a full scouting system,repairing Ibrox,a whole new infrastructure,to do what,lose money,month after month,as they have been doing for year upon year.


    People who know MA say he knows very little about football.He only wants to make money.He is doing that now.He wont if he goes the lengths needed.

  14. saint stivs



    13:18 on 12 November, 2014






    do you think mick astley , never gonny give you up, will catch Rangertitus ?



    i think he is immune.



    he is however a great carpet bagger medicine man on the back of a wagon.





    I do, just a feeling I have. The only thing that has ever came to fruition in this whole saga is Administration and Liquidation a new club with the same ideals. It caught on once it’ll catch on again… I hope I’m wrong, but we need to be prepared..



    Ayrshire is Green and White

  15. Neil canamalar Lennon hunskelper extrordinaire on



    One of the points Max made in that episode is the the BoE have mislaid 150 tonnes of taxpayers gold.

  16. http://videocelts.com/2014/11/blogs/latest-news/ashley-tightens-grip-on-sevco-as-financial-crisis-grows


    The board of Sevco have announced that they have secured an additional £1m loan from MASH.



    In an announcement to the Alternative Investment Market this morning the troubled club admitted that match day income levels have fallen short of expectations as thousands of ‘fans’ shun the club.



    Big-hearted Ashley gave the under fire board a £2m loan on October 27 and has agreed to extend that less than three weeks later with the windfall being paid in time to meet the November payroll.



    A further loan is expected before the end of the year killing stone dead talk of a share issue with the club unable to produce audited accounts and host an AGM.



    The AIM statement said: “The Board of Rangers announces that MASH Holdings Limited (“MASH”) has agreed to increase the £2m credit facility (the “Facility”) announced on 27 October with The Rangers Football Club Limited (“RFCL”). MASH shall make available the additional sum of £1 million for drawdown by the Company on 26 November 2014. All other terms remain the same.



    “During the Autumn, the Club has suffered from lower than expected match attendance which has exacerbated the financial condition of the business The Directors have begun a cost cutting exercise, but further working capital in addition to the Facility will be needed before the end of the year.”



    A new marketing partnership has also been agreed with Mr Ashley returning the naming rights for the stadium to the club which should be enough to satisfy large elements of the gullible support that the Cockney billionaire is gaining affection for the Ibrox based institution.



    Mr Ashley’s further involvement in the League One champions is another snub of the highly secretive SFA’s Five Way Agreement with Campbell Ogilvie still waiting for a reply to his letters to the club and Ashley seeking clarification.



    Ally McCoist has still to speak to Mr Ashley to discuss his January warchest with Madjid Bougherra and Daniel Cousin believed to be at the top of his wanted list.


    The last part in bold had me clutching my sides.


    It’s good to start the day with a wee giggle.

  17. ,eanwhile, in a secret location the green brigade commitee meets,



    guys, we are going to need another 4 horsemen banner, who says aye




  18. Davidopoulos




    13:23 on 12 November, 2014







    Haha, it’s the MLS of Rock n Roll. Or the Sevco of Oldco players ;)









    If I remember correctly, Van didn’t utter 2 words. And Bob didn’t utter 1!!



    The rolls ‘n’ sausage were excellent though…

  19. Neil canamalar Lennon hunskelper extrordinaire


    13:26 on


    12 November, 2014




    One of the points Max made in that episode is the the BoE have mislaid 150 tonnes of taxpayers gold.





    technically not



    A Googly eyed billionare has said “its just resting in my account”

  20. BRTH:



    Gold? Olympic Dam, Australia, some very interesting stories are associated with that place.

  21. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    BGX. Two points as this season progresses MA will have to loan them even more if he wants to keep them in business the second point the Bears are not happy and may well not purchase season tickets in the usual manner.So if he is repaid through season ticket sales there might well not be enough of a surplus to run the club for a season.There are many many questions andonly MA can answer them but no one is asking the questions they are like lemmings rushing to fling themselves off the cliff edge. H.H.

  22. jfh



    point 3 –


    as they were discussing last night, the “traditional ” rangers supporting youth aint buying in anymore, their dna was all about a guy in a white horse leading them to glory.



    they aint winning anymore.



    so their grandchildren will be celtic supporters.

  23. blantyretim is praying for the Knox family on

    Meanwhile Celtic is being run by a lunatic….. (c) P67..




  24. Fek Mike Ashley.I got 4 large Sea Bass this morning,and I am now off to get the Barbie ready.A couple of bottles of very crisp,white,and I will feel a bigger billionaire than him.


    “Oh the Sea Bass are brill


    Oh the Sea Bass are brill”


    To the tune of a song about Bluebells.

  25. top teir sections are going to need to be opened.



    cmon celts get your tickets and go roar us on .




    Celtic v Salzburg


    Celtic Badge FC Salzburg Badge


    UEFA Europa League


    Thu, November 27 2014


    Kick-off 20:05


    Tickets for this match are now on general sale.


    General sale tickets are priced as follows:-


    Adults – from £25


    Concessions – from £20


    Under 13 – from £15


    Tickets can be purchased online by calling 0871 226 1888* or by visiting the Celtic Ticket Office. Booking fees apply. Ticketfast, our print at home facility, is also available for this match.


    Tickets are also available in the following Celtic stores:-


    Argyle Street






    East Kilbride


    Season Ticket holders can purchase a single match at the ST Prices of £22 Adult, £17 concession and £12 Under 13 by visiting the Celtic Ticket Office or by calling the Customer Services Line on 0141 230 1967. Booking fees apply.


    For those STH on the Home Cup Ticket Scheme, the remaining payment dates are as follows:-


    Monday 13th October


    Monday 10th November


    *calls cost up to 10p per minute, telecoms provider dependent. Mobile and other provider charges may vary.

  26. There will be a flurry of activity at the SFA and SPFL offices today.


    Emails, faxes will be flying around.


    Meetings will be hurriedly convened.


    Urgent animated conversations will take place around the water cooler and coffee machine.


    Agenda for meeting?


    Seating arrangements at Celtic Park Friday.

  27. Paul67



    Glad to see you end with the culpability of Sir David Murray, but it did not begin of course when he sold RFC to Craig Whyte, nor has the damage he caused been limited to RFC.



    The legacy SDM has left Scottish Football is horrendous and it hampers our game to this day. Aberdeen are only one of a number of clubs recovering from the days of trying to compete with SDM’s excesses. Dundee Utd, Hearts, Killie etc are either becoming financially stable or moving in that direction by simply observing a spend only what you can afford philosophy.



    That puts them and other clubs competing against TRFC at a major unfair financial disadvantage and yet there appears to be no moves afoot to introduce a stringent level of financial licensing into our game by the clubs. The principles of UEFA FFP have been adopted in domestic competition in England, so what not Scotland?



    Their absence and regulations to implement makes it possible for the financial basketnaut that is TRFC to continue to roll and so play a role in making our game unfair.



    My theory is that there are two reasons domestic FFP is not on the agenda.



    1. The fear that if FFP were introduced and stringently applied, TRFC would either lose a sizeable part of the support base that follow them from the game and the income they generate or worse fail to get a licence (on which SFA membership should depend)



    2. The conditions that would encourage clubs to adopt stringent financial fair play rules do not yet exist amongst enough clubs sufficiently financially sound not to fear the consequences of such a move, that is it might be more than TRFC who fail the licensing criteria.



    On 1 . With the TRFC support base diminishing anyway and other clubs in the top tier at least benefitting financially from TRFC’s absence, that Armageddon cry no longer has the potency that old Hugh Keevins and other press cohorts believe in and cry at every opportunity. A big club might claim they are too big to be lost to football but TRFC can no longer afford to act like a big club and, helped by stringent FFP ironically, would find their proper fair level.



    On 2. The more clubs that become financially sound the less they have to fear from FFP. In fact if they are observing it and one club is driving a horse and coach through it the more likely they are to want a domestic form of FFP. It is quite simply in Scottish football’s best interest to move this way.



    However lets not forget who brought financial instability to the shores of Scottish football and caused many clubs to financially overreach and go through their own administrations or downsizing from which they are now emerging.



    Lets not forget the divisions caused amongst the Celtic support as Celtic played financially fair but fell behind to a club to whom the concept of fairness appears still to be a bridge too far.



    How long before enough Scottish clubs acknowledge the true history of Scottish football and the part RFC and Sir David Murray played in crimes against it?



    How long before supporters get an admission about the true extent of crimes against our game and steps are taken to avoid a repeat, starting with those still in power at the SFA who turned a blind eye to lies, deceit and the total breaking of trust introduced to Scottish football by Sir David Murray, a legacy that continues to poison our game?



    Only the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth will set our game free.

  28. mullet and co 2 on

    The grand master plan was a pre pack with rangers back in the SPL Debt free.


    Murray has more egg on his chin than Broadfoot.


    Meanwhile the hyenas chew on the carcass. Where are ticketus these days anyway? And why didn’t Dave Murray call his old ebt pal Souey to tell him his bid with that bad mullet we rugby type was always going to fail.


    Yer pal gives you a 50k loan you never need to pay back then you don’t give him that wee snippet. Suppose it was around a decade between those two issues maybe Souey was out of fAvour cos he was a crap unemployable manager and that meant he couldn’t but Rangers players at inflated prices?

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