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. When Celtic go to Hampden for the League Cup semi I hope any banners and fan displays are positive about Celtic.


    We can discuss that mob at length but I wouldn;t give them a second thought that day. I would go to support my team.


    Hopefully the fans are doing the huddle so often due to the amount of goals scored that they won;t catch sight of the zombies too often.


    I want Celtic to win and I want us to win in style like I always do.


    The banners have been done. At this point it is time to get behind Ronny and the Bhoys.







    Davie Hay will be with us from 9:30 until 11:30 tomorrow, slightly earlier than previously advertised.



    The Assassin rises early.

  3. just passing by and read the first page



    ”You, and many like us, could have come out with many similar comments”



    Reminds me of when Billy Connolly was becoming mega successful in the 70’s, loads of guys I knew would say – I just don’t get it, any of us could go up there and do that…..

  4. ‘GG


    13:40 on


    12 November, 2014


    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.




    More like seating arrangements for xmas ludge lunch-HH




  5. Cartuja on twitter past few days has been saying deal for Lewis Macleod has been done -moving down south..is this MA ‘s security for the loan or pre paid transfer fee?

  6. Jungle Jim Hot Smoked on

    Celtic spends a lot more than every other club in the SPFL. Other Clubs don`t feel pressured into trying to keep up with us. Why, therefore, did they (according to a few on here), feel obliged to keep up with Rangers when they were over-spending?



  7. JJ,



    I’m sure if money was as available now as it was then, clubs would be spending much bigger than they are now.

  8. Neil canamalar Lennon hunskelper extrordinaire on



    It’s a whole new ball game, money was easier to borrow then, in fact the banksters were actively encouraging stupid financial practice.

  9. Philbhoy




    14:41 on 12 November, 2014







    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.




    Hard to say “Hail, hail” when my gob’s full, but I’ll give it a go. Sure he’ll understand! :-))

  10. Blindlemonchitlin on




    I know how you feel .



    Mrs. Blind dragged me along to see the most recent incarnation of the official Lynrd Skynrd at the Armadillo three years ago or so. I felt a mixture of embarassment and pity watching proceedings which escalated into outright dismay when they asked us to put our hands in the air for new ditty entitled ‘God and Guns Keep Us Strong’. I didn’t know where to look and spent the rest of the evening trying to slump down in my seat in case I saw anyone who knew me.



    Moral, natch, is that you can put on a cowboy hat, wear more denim than Status Quo, have the biggest gosh darned Confederate flag y’all ever saw and STILL not be the real Rangers.



    Hope you have fun all the same.

  11. Saint Stivs


    14:51 on


    12 November, 2014


    countdown rachel riley, just wandered in from her riverdance audition.






    Good luck to Rachel I hope she makes it but it is very very demanding two of the girls in my daughters school made it and one couldnt hack it at all the other loved it and toured extensively loved it , put her career on hold but is now a doctor, aim high




  12. Richie #TeamOscarForever on

    Make like a card display, only with dabbities on the back.



    Game starts, shirts aff, turn roon!

  13. on a personal note just heard I will be going to an executive box on 22/11/2014 for the first time ever I will not be in my own seat (except when relocated by the club)I am so looking forward to it. But is there anything I need to know before I go I would appreciate any advice, thanks in advance







  14. lawwellsacountant on

    The only thing to make sure of is that we hump them,hopefully a new manager will be in place before then,one who will play two up front

  15. Jungle Jim Hot Smoked on

    Geordie and Canamalar


    Have the Clubs not really learned then? Are they simply not borrowing because the Banks won`t lend?




  16. Richie #TeamOscarForever on




    That would be even better, especially if it’s a cold January Wednesday!

  17. Is it Too Early ..fur tae Mak a Sensible Assessment of the Five Loanees.. who compose


    the Member Cast..









    New ..n… Improved?..



    New Player Acquisition Program??



    So.. Ye hivnae Hoid o’ it.. afore?



    Well..Listen Up..n Loin!



    Well.. Celtic hiv Introduced .a .. New n improved..



    “Try .Afore ye Buy” Approach… tae…



    the New Player Acquistion.. Wrinkle?






    In Kojo’s Opinion..



    It’s a Dandy!



    So far.. We hiv Brought in .. Five Noo Players under this Noo Scheme.



    Mubarack, Tonev, Berget,Guidetti,Jason..



    Well.. Like Ah asked… at the Start..



    Is is Far too Early tae Mak Comment on How these Loanees..hiv Impressed?



    Whether it be or No..we…. Be..



    Here, is Kojo’s Fearless Assessment..of the Five Loanees.




    Mubarack.. No..No.. A Thousand times.. No.. any Use tae Us.



    Tonev.. You Jest? Pitiful Player.. Waste of ta Joisey



    Berget.. Ye ur Still “At it”.. Ah see.. well.. Na.. He is a Loser.. so..well.. LOSE Him!



    Jason.. A Keeper! Wonderful Prospect.. Please pul oot Awe the Stoaps oan the Church


    Organ.. tae Get Him.. Mr. Lawwell!



    Guidetti.. Saved the Best fur Last!



    This Kid wull be Crowned.. King of Paradise.. Wan day.. No question..


    Grab him, Pierre.. afore he kin get away.



    Yes..all in all.. the New Player Acquisition Approach…which Mr.Peter has so


    Wisely…Implemented,at Parkheid oan the Clyde….is



    a Thundering ..well…perhaps ..No exactly that.. but ,at least..



    A Resonating… Success.



    Yes.. Ah hope this New Approach tae Bringing in New Players wull become



    the Methode de la Jour.. whenevah we are prompted tae go oan a Player Hunting Sefari..



    in the very often Dangerous n Perilous ..tae A Fitba’ Club’s Financial Health.. Transfer Jungle.



    “Taste n Try ..afore Ye Buy!” is Ma Kinda Approach.



    Maks sense tae Me.






  18. blantyretim is praying for the Knox family


    15:06 on


    12 November, 2014





    enjoy every minute, you deserve it…



    Thanks seriously I’m so excited its like christmas has come early




  19. Saint Stivs


    15:09 on


    12 November, 2014





    aye well done to both of them,



    Its a hard life but well worth it if its what she wants.



    Fingers crossed and I’ll light a wee candle (it cant do any harm)




  20. Jungle Jim Hot Smoked on



    I am surprised you can be so accurate re Jason and John yet fail to see the talent in Mubarack 0:-)




  21. Neil canamalar Lennon hunskelper extrordinaire on



    I’m thinking its lesson learned for everyone, and living within their means is the only option available as Celtic have been doing for a while now, so showing a completely different example to the rangers everyone was trying to keep pace with.

  22. After being puzzled this morning about DEMOTION I have another dilemma – the use of the term ADMIN 2.



    Okay their logic is that they are the same club. Mince but we get that. It was only the holding company thingy that went into liquidation.



    So the club that is the same and still – barely ( or perhaps even Bearly) – alive is different from the holding company thingy that was liquidated.






    So when they discuss ADMIN 2 – it can’t be the holding company experiencing a second Admin (it’s dead) and it can’t be the new company as that has never had Admin 1 – so it can only be the club.



    So they are saying in Feb 2012 the club went into administration?



    But how could it if it was the holding company thingy that was the subject of the Administration and subsequent liquidation.



    This was caused by Craig Whyte who bought the club ie the holding company thingy for £1.



    So they are the same…



    But they were unfairly demoted…



    And have suffered enough!

  23. “Methode DU Jour… Du…Du.. ” Chides .. Tuesday Gal.



    O.K. O.K.. Ah Believe ye. Honey..



    Should Hiv Writ..



    “Methode( Wj ae We Acute Accent Mark.. over the First ‘E’..) Du Jour.”






    Kojo.. suitable. Chastized..

  24. Jungle Jim Hot Smoked on



    That sounds reasonable but I am at a bit of a loss to understand how the likes of, say Dundee Utd , would imagine that spending £1million that they didn`t have would help them keep up with the then Rangers who were spending many , many millions they didn`t have.I understand that Utd etc could have been affected by a knock on effect but, for me, that was still their own decision.


    In truth,I am not intensely interested in the matter but there is enough clear cut stuff to level at the old Rangers without leaving the folly of others at their door as well ( NOT something I am accusing you of!).




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