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Football costs, a Get it up You from Kilmarnock and Aberdeen giving excuses to fail

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Yesterday’s The Price of Football BBC article was fascinating. Celtic, not surprisingly, have the most expensive season ticket in Scotland at £559. That’s around the midway mark for English Championship clubs, and a lower top price than only Sunderland and West Brom in the English Premier League.

Our cheapest adult season tickets, costing £337, is among a group of Premiership clubs bookended by Hearts  and Kilmarnock (£280), and Hamilton Accies (£350). Inverness are an outlier, with a season ticket costing only £200.

Some of the prices in the English Premier League are astonishing Arsenal tickets cost between £1,014 and £2013 – and that’s for standard seats. Football is expensive everywhere, but in London in particular. The cheapest ticket at Arsenal, Chelsea (£750), Spurs (£765) and West Ham (£617) is matched only by Liverpool (£710).

Manchester City, with their petrodollars and newly enlarged stadium offer £299 tickets. Good value, but the most obvious question from reading the EPL stats is why, with all that TV and sponsorship money reducing match-ticket income to a tiny percentage of the pot, don’t they bring prices down further- like City, Stoke (£294) and Sunderland (£190).

The BBC also surveyed the price of tea, shirts, programmes and pies. One thing I checked for but couldn’t find, is the price all clubs in British and Irish football charge visiting Celtic fans – compared to the standard price they charge all other visiting fans.

Only Kilmarnock have one tariff for all home and away fans, apart from Celtic fans; and another, higher, ticket price for Celtic fans. You may think the people at Kilmarnock would be embarrassed by this. They should be, but I suspect they couldn’t care less. They don’t care what you think of them, and they are taking you for mugs…….  Mugs.  Think about that for a moment.

I like Aberdeen and hope they do well.  Their success is good for Scottish football, but you can see the cracks opening up on what was a very promising season only a few weeks ago.  Yesterday’s statement from the club, asserting that their manager would not be leaving, cut to the heart of the matter.  Speculation is part of football.  Clubs do themselves no favours by getting dragged into official comments over such issues.  Better to brief one or two people off the record, let them quell the chatter.

Instead Aberdeen grandstanded with this fatal mistake, “we would question the motivation of those individuals looking to unsettle the club”.  So it’s unsettling.  There you have it.  The players, and manager, have an excuse ahead of tomorrow night’s game.

Give players an excuse to fail and they will often grab it with both hands.

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  1. Only Kilmarnock have one tariff for all home and away fans, apart from Celtic fans; and another, higher, ticket price for Celtic fans. You may think the people at Kilmarnock would be embarrassed by this. They should be, but I suspect they couldn’t care less. They don’t care what you think of them, and they are taking you for mugs……. Mugs. Think about that for a moment.

     

     

    Think the wee huns from Gorgie do the same when Celtic Visit.

     

     

    HH

  2. Football takes all supporters as mugs Paul.

     

     

    It’s just matters of degree.

     

     

    The issue is how to reduce prices without reducing costs and footballer wages are the biggest cost factor.

     

     

    What makes that so? Mugs demanding big wages for average fare.

     

     

    We are our own worst enemies paying over the odds for the privilege of complaining about the quality we demand not being met by the wages we demand are paid.

     

     

    Mad as a box of frogs wooing a pig that’s a puppet.

     

     

    Btw saw on Twitter Broonie stretchered off at training. No idea of veracity.

  3. I would suggest a one off show of strength by mass non attendance at one of the Killie home games, I realise guys will go regardless but we let them………they will.

  4. Two questions…

     

     

     

    Are the Kilmarnock fans charged the same as us when we come visiting?

     

     

     

    Didn’t we used to ramp up the prices when Rangers used to visit?

     

     

    HH

  5. Also, I hope Aberdeen stick by deek.

     

     

     

    It’ll stop the doom mongers whinging about our winning margin. :)

     

     

     

    HH

  6. I wonder if Ash Taylor will be in Aberdeen’s starting line up tomorrow…

     

     

    I hear him and his boss arent exactly friends right now…

  7. Kilmarnock the Hundome are the grounds i wont go self imposed Boycott for the above reasons.

     

     

    Think this season i could add a few more.

     

     

    Morals and all that.

     

     

    HH

  8. The issue is not necessarily that it costs more as a Celtic fan to visit an away ground than some other teams it’s that only Killie have a flat charge except for Celtic. Other clubs have a tiered system with Celtic at the top (perhaps alone) and varying prices for other teams. That’s galling but a little bit more understandable.

  9. northeast ghirl on

    Been saying for years that fans should have boycotted Kilmarnock, Hearts and the now deceased R*****s. Our board should be raising this with the football authorities and also refusing to accept tickets from these money grabbing clubs, see how many of their own fans turn up with no opposition Celtic fans to lambast.

     

     

    KTF

  10. weeminger,

     

     

    Where do you see that about neebs?

     

     

     

    I think I’m looking at old prices or somert.

     

     

    tia.

     

     

    HH

  11. BAWSMAN on 15TH OCTOBER 2015 12:33 PM

     

    I would suggest a one off show of strength by mass non attendance at one of the Killie home games, I realise guys will go regardless but we let them………they will.

     

     

    Think that was on the cards a few seasons ago when the Refs were at the Cheating.

     

    Wednesday night game.

     

     

    Never happened because we were told it would be sorted at the end off the season sure it was PL.Ragan and the supporters Association that said it would be fixed.think that was the case.

     

     

    HH

  12. How much do we charge visiting supporters?

     

    If we charge say £28 then they are more than entitled to charge our supporters the same as we charge there’s.

  13. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    ‘Lambast’

     

     

    -ole word of the day.

     

     

    Maybe the ole bhlog isn’t flat linin’ after all.

  14. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Catching up a bit. Saw a few posts about lack of posts (at least this beefed up the numbers a bit!).

     

    If others are having the same problem as me in getting logged out every time I switch to another browser window and then back, I wouldn’t be surprised if they have just given up. Can nothing be done about this? Major pain.

  15. Geordie Munro on 15th October 2015 12:55 pm

     

     

    Mostly just chatter. I think over on the Scottish Football Monitor site one the Arabs was mentioning how both Celtic and Aberdeen fans get charged more than eg ICT.

  16. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    Postin’ about the ole lack of posts is simultaneously the problem and the solution.

     

     

    This is cognitive dissonance in its purest form.

     

     

    Well done to all involved.

  17. Afternoon all.

     

     

    Firstly, many thanks to all those who sent their best wishes to my Italian auntie Edda yesterday who was rushed into hospital after suffering a heart attack.

     

     

    She was operated on as a matter of urgency, and came out unscathed. However, the next few days will be critical.

     

     

    Apologies for the doom and gloom post, but please keep her in your thoughts.

     

     

    She’s a smashin old dear and was a real ‘looker’ in her younger days.

     

     

    Runs in the family!

     

     

    :-)

     

     

    HH!!

  18. a day late,one of my fav div murray articles.

     

     

     

    Rangers were just one of the companies within this portfolio & suffered as a consequence,most famously with the quote,”for every £5 Celtic spend, we’ll spend £10″…….For the avoidance of doubt, Ian Fraser is an award winning financial journalist & not connected to any Scottish football team

     

     

    The Fall of the House of Murray

     

    As tycoon David Murray’s once-thriving business empire folds with a barely audible whimper, Ian Fraser picks apart the disastrous sequence of seemingly limitless borrowing and bad decisions that precipitated the downfall

     

    Sunday 18 January 2015

     

    Sir David Murray’s metals-to-property conglomerate Murray International Holdings (MIH) died last week, going out not with a bang but a whimper.

     

     

    MIH and eight subsidiary companies – Premier Property Group, PPG Land, Premier Burrell, GM Mining, Murray Group Holdings, Murray Group Management, Murray Outsourcing and MMH NSS – are to be liquidated by Deloitte.

     

     

    The insolvency practitioners will be seeking to retrieve as much cash as they can from the firms’ assets and debtors before shutting down the companies for good.

     

     

    Since the credit crisis blew a massive hole in Murray’s business plans six years ago, his bank, Lloyds – which completed its disastrous acquisition of HBOS in January 2009 – appears to have treated him with kid gloves.

     

     

    It had few qualms about pulling the plug on other HBOS ­customers who had built up massive debts with HBOS, such as John Kennedy’s Kenmore, Jonathon Milne’s FM ­Developments and Ken Ross’s Elphinstone Group.

     

     

    But Lloyds was prepared to give Murray five-and-a-half years to disentangle and dismantle as much as he could of his business empire, as well allowing Murray Capital, a new private concern of Murray and his son, David junior, to cherry-pick some of his most cherished assets.

     

     

    The reason for this unusual leniency from Lloyds was ascribed to Murray’s tough negotiation skills, and highlighting the number of dependent Scots employees in a diverse group.

     

     

    In his pomp in the 1990s and early 2000s, David Murray was viewed as one of Scotland’s most successful entrepreneurs. He caught the eye of Bank of Scotland’s former treasurer and managing director Gavin Masterton, and the bank first lent Murray money in 1981.

     

     

    Bank of Scotland went on to lend him the entire £6 million he needed to buy Rangers FC in 1988. By 2008, as part of HBOS, it had provided him with £900 million of debt to bankroll his wide-ranging business operations, which once encompassed commercial property, coal mining, metals trading and football. This was despite the fact that, even at its peak, the turnover of Murray’s group ­holding company never exceeded £550m.

     

     

    HBOS senior bankers including chief executive of corporate banking Peter Cummings and the late Ian Robertson, managing director of corporate ­banking, gave Murray what amounted to an open cheque book.

     

     

    Together, Murray and HBOS formed a complex web of joint-venture companies into which hundreds of millions of pounds of the bank’s money were poured. In most of these property deals, the bank was effectively lending up to 40% of the money to itself.

     

     

    Robertson, nicknamed “Robbo”, was infamous for “Robbo rollovers” – deals by which the bank rolled over existing loans into newly created special purpose vehicles, effectively making bad debts disappear in a puff of smoke.

     

     

    One banking analyst said: “Property assets that ought to have gone into ­insolvency, or into HBOS’s intensive-care unit – which would have required the bank to book a provision for bad debt – were instead rolled over.”

     

     

    The roll-overs are said to have compounded Murray’s situation after the credit markets crashed, complicating his business empire’s problems. However, one of Murray’s more astute moves in the past decade was to sell his Murray International Metals business for £119m in 2005.

     

     

    From the mid-2000s onwards, having witnessed the success that the likes of Sir Tom Hunter were having in commercial property, Murray massively boosted his group’s exposure to commercial real estate, snapping up provincial shopping centres and office buildings from Edinburgh to London.

     

     

    The number of deals accelerated after Robbo’s successor, Ray Robertson, former head of real estate at Bank of Scotland Corporate, assumed day-to-day responsibility for his affairs at the bank. Both Robertsons had such faith in Murray and his Premier ­Property Group they seemed willing to lend millions with few questions asked, though it was the worst of times to be investing in and developing commercial properties.

     

     

    Things started to go badly awry when Murray moved away from calculated risk-taking and started using HBOS’s loans for what looked more like reckless gambling. This coincided from 2005 onwards with the adoption of what HBOS insiders call “kamikaze lending to the great and the good” as it sought to grow its ­corporate loan book by some 20% per annum to compensate for a slowdown in other aspects of its business.

     

     

    Even after property markets ­weakened, Murray seemed impervious to the risk of a property crash. One month after the global financial crisis started in August 2007, PPG had some £500m of development projects under way, including a 175,000sqft speculative office development in Glasgow’s Bothwell Street.

     

     

    MIH was going to be able to defy economic gravity thanks to what Murray described in the 2008 annual report as “the breadth and depth of the group’s diversified portfolio and management team”.

     

     

    When HBOS collapsed under the weight of massive bad debts and a short-sighted funding model, and the bank succumbed to Lloyds TSB in September 2008, the game was up for Murray.

     

     

    He and other tycoons had been used to picking up the phone to HBOS and receiving hundreds of millions of pounds within hours. That all changed after Murray’s accounts were transferred to Lloyds’s non-core business support unit (BSU), whose goal is to maximise value from distressed borrowers.

     

     

    One of the BSU’s first goals was to persuade Murray to offload Rangers, partly because the club was such an obvious drain on resources and partly as it was seen as a distraction for the hands-on Murray.

     

     

    One ex-bank insider said Lloyds simply wanted out of football clubs: “Rangers was just soaking up cash. You can’t build a football business on overdrafts and borrowing, but that is what Murray seemed to be doing.”

     

     

    Two-and-a-half years after ceasing to be Rangers’ chairman in October 2009, Murray sold his 85.3% equity stake in Rangers Football Club to Craig Whyte for £1. The club subsequently collapsed into chaos that continues to this day.

     

     

    Lloyds continued to allow Murray to do two massive debt-for-equity swaps which, given the fact that MIH’s equity was by now as good as worthless, were essentially free gifts. The first, in April 2010, saw Lloyds write off £150m of debt in exchange for an additional 12% stake in the company.

     

     

    Conditions included that Murray must liquidate three-quarters of MIH’s commercial property portfolio by 2015; introduce greater transparency into his business dealings; and stop using cross-guarantees, by which healthy and profitable parts of his empire were used to support more anaemic parts like Rangers. Such cross-support makes it more difficult to hive off businesses to third-party buyers.

     

     

    A string of ­disposals, including that of oil and gas business Premier Hytemp and three shopping centres (sold for less than half their purchase price), followed. Unusually, in what seems to have been a sweetheart deal, the bank allowed Murray to personally buy back his private equity business Charlotte Ventures, partly because the assets within it, which included a stake in bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis, were seen as too high risk for the bank.

     

     

    Murray said the purchase of the unit, later renamed Murray Capital, was “done arm’s length, at market value”. A second £118m debt-for-equity swap followed in March 2012, the negotiations for which are said to have been extended and heated.

     

     

    Murray claimed the deal – which took the amount of debt that had effectively been written off by Lloyds to £268.5m – did not dilute the Murray family’s 70% voting power over MIH.

     

     

    Talking about the winding-down of MIH, Murray said: “This has been a consensual approach with the bank, and it has been an orderly, managed process. It’s not been easy – it could have been easier to walk away and not do it – but it was decided with the lender that we would work this out, and we have.”

     

     

    There are major assets which remain unsold, including Response, the call-centre business. It lost a contract with BSkyB, but has since won one for Scottish Power. In another unusual move, Lloyds let Murray and his family, through Murray Capital, buy Murray Estates, which owns about 1200 acres of prime development sites across Scotland’s central belt for just £13.9m. In addition to Murray Estates, Murray Capital also snapped up other unwanted MIH assets.

     

     

    The Murray Estates portfolio includes a 13-acre site at Ratho Station on the western edge of Edinburgh, a 26-acre site near Edinburgh Airport, a 300-acre site at Torrance Park in North Lanarkshire, the 135-acre Kingdom Park site in Kirkcaldy and the 675-acre Garden District on greenbelt land adjacent to the Edinburgh City Bypass near Gogarburn.

     

     

    The latter offers scope for a £1 billion development of 3500 homes, a showcase garden project called Calyx and a new community stadium. For many years Murray has been ­piecing together so-called “ransom strips” to the east of Edinburgh Airport’s approach road, with a view to galvanising a wider ­development project called the ­International Business Gateway.

     

     

    Things are already moving fast for the some of Murray Estates’ development sites. In November, Fife Council granted planning permission for the construction of a £500m residential district at ­Kingdom Park over 20 years. The same month, pre-construction work got under way on a £60m mixed-use development for phase one of Torrance Park in Holytown.

     

     

    In its 2013 annual report, MIH said funding difficulties meant it was unable to develop the Murray Estates sites itself. MIH added it had considered ­selling the land in a piecemeal fashion to other developers but then “received an unsolicited approach from the Murray family in spring 2013 to acquire the ­majority of assets in the portfolio of Murray Estates”.

     

     

    A spokesman for Lloyds said the Murray Estates deal included an “anti-embarrassment clause” which enables the bank to secure a share of the upside should Murray Estates’ projects come good, but declined to give details.

     

     

    The MIH 2013 accounts noted: “The ­transaction completed after protracted negotiations and was supported by advice from two independent firms of chartered surveyors … plus significant potential additional consideration based on profits realised over 10 years.”

     

     

    Intriguingly, even though Murray Capital (formerly known as Charlotte Ventures) also banks with Lloyds, Murray made clear Lloyds did not fund the £13.9m acquisition. He added that the non-embarrassment clause is geared to enable the bank to get a bigger share of gains if projects are sold or developed quickly, saying: “It was put in place to stop us flipping things for a quick gain.”

     

     

    Overall, Murray has been shown far greater leniency than other failed property tycoons after Lloyds/HBOS was bailed out and commercial property prices crashed. One ex-HBOS insider has suggested that it was because he was “one of the great and good, like Tom Farmer and Tom Hunter”.

     

     

    All three have been knighted, with Murray receiving his – for services to business in Scotland – in June 2007. The source added: “Sir David never had the great fall, the humiliation that some of the other over-leveraged property tycoons were made to feel.”

     

     

    His businesses’ outstanding debt to Lloyds stands at up to £346.7m, and the bank has, to date, written off £268.5m through debt-for-equity swaps, which suggests that the collapse of his business has left a £615m hole in Lloyds’s accounts, and that two-thirds of the money Murray’s businesses borrowed has been lost.

     

     

    And because of the 2008 bailouts, it is effectively taxpayers who are picking up the tab. Meanwhile, he has walked away from the wreckage of his failed group with some of its most promising assets under his belt.

     

     

    It is perhaps unsurprising that Murray presents the winding-up of his erstwhile business empire as a sort of triumph. ­Writing in the MIH 2013 accounts, he said: “In the prevailing economic ­conditions since 2009, the delivery of the numerous asset disposals and debt-reduction programme represents a significant achievement and a very ­credible performance.”

     

     

    He said: “It’s not been without some ­casualties but we’ve done the best we could. The proceeds from the disposals have been optimised, enabling us to secure ­continued employment for more than 95% of the group’s 2008 workforce and minimising losses to other stakeholders and creditors. One of the reasons we have come through this as well as we have is that we had some prime assets and some good trading ­businesses. All the small creditors have been paid in full and everyone’s been paid their redundancy.”

     

     

    Lloyds refused to comment “on the grounds of customer confidentiality”, but others might see Murray, along with bonus-crazed bankers in rescued banks, as the ultimate pet of the sugar daddy state.

     

     

     

    hail hail

  19. KevJ

     

    Thanks for the thoughts on wee Shug the dug, he’s on the way to a full recovery

     

    Hopefully same with yourself, so keep beating that drum Bhud :-)

     

     

    Me, stopped doing away game a few years ago, got fed up being ripped off with our fans being treated like a herd of cattle – Celtic only for me to fund !

     

    And that includes not another penny towards that SFA, until the Mickey Mouse club are routed oooot :-)

     

     

    Right sun time

     

     

    Hail Hail

  20. Dallas Dallas where the heck is Dallas on

    According to sky sports news, Broonie twisted his ankle but messrs Forrest and Griffiths should be fit for Saturday.

     

     

    Bayern Munich fans wont enter the Emirates for the first five minutes of their game their as the overall cost of the cheapest ticket for the game is 74 pounds including booking fee. The ticket cost is 64 pounds.

     

     

    They could probably get into four games in Germany for that cost.

  21. The Battered Bunnet on

    It’s well observed that C. diss is more infectious than C. diff.

     

     

    DontlambastinangerCSC

  22. millerston tim on

    Please stick together and tell Killie to do 1.this is the same club who voted to keep the zombies in the top league. I know fans will pay anything to watch the hoops at every game but those who go there please boycott all pies bovril and programmes .do not give them any cash.I hope the celtic board screw these charlatans when they visit celtic park. HH

  23. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    An Tearmann

     

    Aren’t we lucky to have “wealth creators” like that in the country!

  24. Jungle Jim Hot Smoked on

    Charliebhoy

     

    I am a very unsentimental character but that picture is beautiful.

     

     

    JJ

  25. Cheers weeminger,

     

     

     

    I think some level of this has been going on for years and as far as I’m aware we do it too.

     

     

     

    Where it would p me off is if on match day their fans paid less than ours.

     

     

     

    HH

  26. Glasstwothirdsfull 1:36

     

     

    Just!! :-) not a penny from day one.but a necessary illusion for the hard o thinking.

     

     

    ===================================

     

     

    on a different tangent

     

     

    The story of the building of Ben Cruachan power station and its art.some good sounds on it.

     

    many a man worked the tunnels.respect to them :-)

     

     

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06gw3k9

     

     

    HH

  27. Cowiebhoy on 15th October 2015 1:21 pm

     

    Me, stopped doing away game a few years ago, got fed up being ripped off with our fans being treated like a herd of cattle – Celtic only for me to fund ! And that includes not another penny towards that SFA, until the Mickey Mouse club are routed oooot :-)

     

     

    Absolutely agree Cowiebhoy being treated with complete disrespect at all levels whilst attending away games does not IMO deserve parting with your hard earned cash, the fact that these people who run these clubs have turned up at the SFA to vote/endorse the mess we currently now witness in Scottish football im afraid means it will be a long time before i visit an away ground

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