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. Davidopoulos




    13:42 on 12 November, 2014







    Square, slice, Lorne, flat, or…….link?????



    I know it will be link but just fancy stirring it with this old CQN favourite debate…




    Merguez mate – it was the kind of classy burger van you’d perhaps see Stan Petrov at!

  2. 67Heaven ... I am Neil Lennon ....The angels are with Wee Oscar in Heaven.. Ibrox belongs to the creditors on

    joe filippis haircut



    13:31 on 12 November, 2014




  3. Richie #TeamOscarForever on

    SFA: Mr Ashley, what are your intentions with regards to RIFC/TRFC?



    MA: I am going to keep them alive, for reasons best known to me.



    SFA: That’s alright then, bye bye.

  4. Richie #TeamOscarForever on

    I remember when the remnants of the 4 horsemen banner were passed around the stadium, can’t remember which game. Great craic!

  5. Well Geordie, there will be two almost new ones joining them on Nov 27th. For years our Club had tickets for North Stand Upper and we used to share them, I used them a lot and as far as I remember they were either section 490 Or 491, The row was about 4 down from the very top. In the past 5 or 6 years we just picked them up as we needed them so I’ve been in almost every section at various times. Last year thanks to kikinthenakas saw 2 European ties from Investor Section. To the best of my memory I have only been to North Stand Lower once before, great seat on half way line and to add to the pleasure a gentleman called Massimo Donati obliged with a last gasp winner from a cross by an Irish winger. I’m sure you will recall the game in question.

  6. Sir Paul



    As you know.. Ah hiv quite a wee bit experience in the Investment Area.



    N.. Afore ,Ah go any further or farther( As the case may or may no.. be)



    Allow me tae congratulate ye..on making such an Unique n Canny observation.. ( Ah hivnae seen it put so well…as you hiv)



    Yes.. a Fitba’ Club is A Tough Nut tae Chew.


    N.. Yer description of it’s make-up.. Is.. the Maist Accurate that Ah hiv Seen..



    You said… in effect.. “A Fitba Club is a Hodge-Podge of Diverse Businesses..”



    It sure is, pal. It soitenly..is ..



    So.. Well Put,pal..



    Ashley, is a Hard Heided .. well.. Hard Heid.



    n.. He is in this thing fur only wan purpose..n.. WAN Purpoise ..onleeee….


    Which is.. Tae Make More Money than he Started oot Wi’!



    n..in order fur him tae Dae so…



    HE MUST FOLLOW THE TWO RULES that Hiv Guided Kojo throo oot His Investing Career..



    These Two Rules..if followed tae the Lettah..



    wull ALWAYS Make wan a Profit frum ANY INVESTMENT..



    Here they ur..n .. feel Free tae Copy..



    In making an Investment One should Always Follow These Two Rules of Successful Investing:



    Rule Number ONE.



    Never Make an Investment that wull …. LOSE MONEY.



    Rule Number TWO.



    Never.. FORGET.. Rule Number One!






    Ashley, is in this tae Mak Money .. awright.. Which He Aught..



    n… Don’t Argue!!!



    He is Saught!



    Nice Chatting,pal. as Always.







  7. Richie #TeamOscarForever on

    Also remember the ink coming off in flakes. It was like black snow. Sums them up really.

  8. Jamesgang.



    Had the pleasure of sharing a few pints with telfer in peebles a few years back, giant of a man, a legend!.


    My mate was pally with roy laidlaw and he told him, the scots players would run thru a brick wall for him and ian mcgeechan, some duo.

  9. Tony@1405




    You might be right. Hope not.



    But that’s why our creative banner dudes need to be smart. Something clever and right offensive without appearing offensive. :)

  10. It wouldn’t surprise me if banners over a certain size were banned – on the pretext of obscuring the view of other paying customers.

  11. Saint Stivs




    13:40 on 12 November, 2014


    Dratttttttttt just walked bye the Coatbridge Celtic shop , made another of my wonderful assumptions “Nahhhh they wont have Saltzburg tickets”:((


    Hopefully get one in the morning:)))))))))))

  12. Still cannot see the end game for Ashley, maybe that’s why I’m not a billionaire!!


    Let’s say he keeps propping up the corpse every month or so with loans. I guess he will progress to security over Murray Park and the Bigot dome.


    What happens when he wants his money back?


    Confused a bit!

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




    Those 150 Tonnes that are missing from the taxpayers bucket — I think you will find that they have turned up in the bucket marked “Germany” to replace the stuff that mysteriously disappeared from in there.

  14. Neil canamalar Lennon hunskelper extrordinaire on

    All banners will likely be banned just in case, it would probably be a better idea to design something onto say 100 scarfs and tie them together in side the stadium.

  15. Well, as this morning’s blog lurches from faded musicians to sad tribute acts….I feel I can contribute to both in the one paragraph…..



    Currently in Atlanta for a celebration of the music of Lynyrd Skynyrd at the Fox Theatre.



    I was a big Skynyrd fan back in the day. Saw them at the Apollo in Glasgow in 1976. They are, of course, nothing like that great band today.



    My daughter and I are here to witness that great body of music being performed by the likes of Gregg Allman, John Hiatt and Government Mule. It should be a blast.



    Then Gary Rossington and a bunch of hangers on will come out and stumble through Free Bird. That part will be sad. Probably a good advertisement for compulsory retirement.



    A bit like the sevco of rock music.



    There. Covered all today’s subjects without mentioning poppies.




  16. Neil canamalar Lennon hunskelper extrordinaire on




  17. tonydonnelly67




    14:22 on 12 November, 2014




    If it’s a big fu banner you would need to bring it in sections, and meet up in there, you could toss them over the railing at the celtic end, ;)




    Velcro required? :-)

  18. Natknow,



    20 guys bring in a piece of banner at the maximum size. Meet up inside. Do a quick bit of stitching and Robert is your fathers brother.



    Come halftime, banner gets flipped, someone shines a black light onto aforementioned banner…..boom……offensive message:)




    Boredatwork csc

  19. Neil canamalar Lennon hunskelper extrordinaire on

    The more I see of Max Kaiser before I begin to believe David Icke

  20. Burghbhoy


    14:20 on


    12 November, 2014



    He starts charging them to use the facilities they used to own. So having lent them £10-15M total he ends up taking out £5M/year in rents and retail profits.

  21. bognorbhoy oscar in my thoughts on

    Or a big banner with the big house doors open just enough , with the Yorkshire face


    And the words. ….here’s Charlie

  22. Geordie Munro


    14:25 on


    12 November, 2014



    You’d need a UV cannon the size of an old corner floodlight bank to make that work.



    LightingMonkey CSC#1

  23. It’s not over till “The Busted Flush” is sircumcised……….



    Until The last Chick Young.

  24. Weeminger,



    And your point is? ;)




    The amount of crap on here you’d imagine someone has an anal cavity big enough.

  25. Natknow



    She’s the practice manager. Been there for about 25 years if not longer.



    Her man’s a Hibee, with a healthy dislike of the huns.



    So he’s ok.

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