Forster, Ashley and partnering with Sevco


Congratulations to Fraser Forster on his international call-up, I am absolutely delighted for him.  It occurred to me that he left Sports Direct and Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley’s clutches on the cheap early this summer, while Ashley had other matters in Glasgow under consideration – partnering with Sevco.

It was with customary bombast that Sir David Murray announced the deal Rangers struck with JJB Sports in 2006 to offload the club’s retail and merchandise operations to the sports retailer.  At a stroke the club banked £18m although subsequent dilapidation and redundancy costs ate into this figure.  Celtic had previously rejected a similar deal, believing that securitising future revenue streams in this manner would only swap short-term for long-term problems.

That deal perished when Rangers liquidation was announced but the Newco acquired only one retail store (outside Ibrox) and no infrastructure in place.  Instead, six weeks ago, Newco handed over retail operations to Sports Direct, who now operate its retail company, Rangers Retail Limited, and its online operation at rangersdirect.co.uk.

This deal was covered in local and retail press but lacked the bombast Murray would have brought to the occasion, perhaps because Ashley was aware that Celtic fans no longer felt comfortable spending their cash with JJB after the 2006 link-up.  Better to keep this one low-profile so as not to cannibalise sales to Celtic fans.

Whether Ashley is part-owner of Newco or just their merchandising partner is moot, Sports Direct’s interests in the Scottish market are significantly entwined with The Rangers F.C.

It is unlikely the retailer had to pay as much as £18m up front to secure his new rights but their support will be absolutely critical in quickly building their partner club into a successful force.  If they can do this while continuing to milk Celtic supporters they have knocked it off.

Chances of me buying the 125th Anniversary Kit from Sevco’s partner company are approaching zero.  My Celtic budget is for the benefit of one club only, it will not help build The Rangers.

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  1. Son of Gabriel on

    those first post offend me





    Please delete all above this post



    Has he done it? YAY podium!

  2. i bought the anniversary top from the celtic shop.



    I think every fan should do the same


    Nice to see Philvis Returns back in his rightful place.



    Congratulations to him.



    Emdy know how the sod does it?

  4. mearns 2 milton on

    I never understand why any Celt would buy any strip not directly from the club or online. I do understand that this may not be possible for some people? The only people I can think of are those who live abroad or those without access to a computer.



    The sole reason to buy directly from Celtic? It tells you on the bag!

  5. philvisreturns on

    BOBBY MURDOCH’S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS – Emdy know how the sod does it?



    In the best possible taste. (thumbsup)

  6. Henrik Vegamura on

    Report From IPO Meeting



    Rangers = Rangers, end of story.


    Titles/Trophies are going nowhere.


    NewCo was never Plan A – they really wanted the CVA option.


    Soon realised Scottish press are ‘Mad’ – couldn’t believe their reaction. He blames it on the fact that “Charles Green” all of a sudden came from nowhere and none of the press could profit from stories/rumours etc, in the lead up to the buying of the club.


    Consortium were misled by press and ‘other individuals’.


    Club will be stronger and better than it has ever been.






    Chairman – Malcolm Murray


    CEO – Charles Green


    Finance Director – Brian Stockbridge


    Commercial Director – Imran Ahmad


    Manager – Alistair McCoist


    Non-Exec Directors – TBC



    CG and Ally don’t have a problem. When Walter Smith was looking at a consortium bid, Ally met with CG to say he couldn’t publicly ‘support’ CG as he was good friends with Walter of 20+ years. CG said ‘Good, because Loyalty is the key quality I expect from my team.’ Ally was happy with that, as was CG. Since then, no problem.



    CG then explained how it all came about that IA called him and asked if he wanted to buy RFC. CG said no, he wanted to retire. IA talked him into it and they set up a bank account, asked some people to put some money into the account, no paperwork just trust. They bought the exclusivity for £250k, this guaranteed them the right to buy. They then bought the assets for £5.5m. Duff and Phelps couldn’t pay the running costs for May, so CG’s group ‘bailed them out’ and paid the bills for May, to the tune of £500k.






    1. Football


    2. Social Responsibility


    3. Media


    4. Fans






    Capita will issue the Initial Public Offering (IPO) share information next week. IPO presentation shows RFC (in Europe) is a £60m turnover club, RFC (no Europe) is £40m club. Division 3 will be “lower”. CG said when Div3 was confirmed, he should have cut 25% of workforce, but didn’t. Took the decision to retain staff, keep the talent/skills as he believes the whole ‘team’ is important moving forward to where he expects us to be.



    CG said the wage bill was £30m last year, added we have a history of buying high and selling low, mainly due to the age of the players we bought. Now the wage bill is £6m. CG pointed out that if we sign another five players on 20k per week, that takes wage bill up to £11m. Then if we were to sign a further 5 players at £20k a week, that takes the wage bill up to £16m. So with the current squad, we can afford to add another ten players at 20k p/w, and we’d still have a wage bill almost half of what it was. CG doesn’t believe we need to take this approach yet.



    Further to this he said in three years time, we will have six players under the age of 21 with experience of well over 100 senior matches, most of them in front of 50,000 fans. These become very attractive saleable assets. CG expects this to be one of the ways we operate from now on, keeping wage bill down, nurturing the youth and creating good re-sale assets.



    The year that RFC began handling their own merchandise, they turned over 27m, and made 5.6m profit, yet sold to JJB (who CG recognises didn’t market the brand sufficiently, esp. overseas) for 3m – inferring that we probably lost out on 2.6m per year. JJB deal terminated, Umbro terminated. New joint venture company created with Sports Direct (one of the biggest in the world re: purchasing power/distribution/logistics/buyers), RFC hold 51% controlling stake in the company. Late stage talks are being held with three brands, Adidas, Puma and Warrior (Liverpool Kit) over new kit suppliers. Expect an announcement before 1st Nov. The crux of this new arrangement aims to push the RFC brand to all four corners of the world. CG’s aim is for anyone to be able to buy a Rangers shirt anywhere in the world.



    RFC are looking to maximise Shirt advertising sponsorship and general stadium advertising – which increases as media rights exposure increases. CG gave the examples of Ki Sung-Yueng and Ji Sung Park being income generators in Asia, for the clubs who signed them. He says RFC are exploring opportunities in Asia, especially China and India – IA is talking to the Chinese Minister for Sport and is hoping to get him over to Ibrox for a match.







    CG visited NARSA recently and is aware of the global reach of the club. Developing the brand overseas is key to the success. Claudio Reyna now, and Carlos Bocanegra, after he retires, will be ambassadors in the American continent, actively involved in a wide range of activities from Training Camps, Soccer Schools etc. CG believes USA now have a great affinity for our sport and WILL win the world cup in his lifetime. CG met with FIFA delegates in New York, and has also recently met with European club delegates in Geneva. Many delegates could not believe the “abuse” that RFC has been subject to, one un-named delegate even admitted their club had bribed referees and didn’t receive as harsh a punishment as RFC has.



    IPO presentation states RFC has a current global fan-base of 5M due to “Massive Scots diaspora”, believes 500m globally could ‘watch’ RFC. Highlighted recent SKY viewing figures vs Peterhead as an example of level of viewing interest in RFC. CG believes football on TV is becoming a thing of the past. Gave example of his own £55/month SKY bill and hasn’t been home to see a match. He would have been better paying a couple of quid and watching games on his phone while sitting in airports, train journeys etc. TV will become web-based. “Content is King”, gave example of YOUVIEW.COM owner Marc Watson paying £738M for ‘a handful of EPL matches’.



    RFC believes we can generate £100M per year in ‘media rights’. When asked if there were any barriers to maximising profit over our media rights, he said part of the deal to re-enter Scottish Football was to give a number of games over to Sky/ESPN, but now that we are out of SPL, there are less barriers, we still need to comply with certain legal issues e.g. 3pm Saturday K.O. being a no-go, but as long as we move K.O. times, eventually we can call the shots. We now have a ‘reduced reliability’ on TV feeds. He gave the example of next month’s LIVE league match vs. East Stirling, this is being sold to web viewers online in the UK as well as abroad, and expects this to be the way forward. When asked about illegal streams etc. affecting these sales, IA explained they have a number of tech-solutions to fight this. He and BS also explained that the media rights revenue was not solely limited to match streaming, there would be other avenues such as maximising social networking, interactive feeds, fans can talk directly with players/management, pre/post match etc. interact with players not available for selection, such as injured or sidelined players, while the match is on.






    The Club has fantastic facilities, all in working order and all owned outright by the club.



    CG was asked about pre/post match revenue at the stadium. He produced a large map of Ibrox and the surrounding areas, with proposed property development, in line with the G51 project. They intend to sit down with Glasgow City Council, and the Housing Associations with a view to purchasing the land. RFC currently owns some of it, but would like more e.g. The Old Gasworks, they wish to turn into a leisure complex. they want to lobby for the re-opening of the old Ibrox rail station. The G51 project focus has shifted attention from Casino/Retail etc. more towards Health, Leisure and lifestyle. CG Mentioned building of a Cancer Centre and Health Centre.



    Partners identified for regenerating the area include Cancer Partners, British Land, Ardmore Group and Marriott/Holiday Inn. CG explained that the Scottish Executive identified that Glasgow is 18 hotels short of what is required for Commonwealth Games 2014, he believes G51 could help with that and if deal was reached, jobs created and work commenced, it would be ready in time for the games. A small portion of the funds for this project would come from the IPO, but would be a good investment with rents/fees etc. coming back to the club for 25 years.



    Edmiston House – Murray bought for £1.5M, last week RFC purchased it back for £800k. The current Megastore will become the ticket office, the first two floors of Edmiston will become the new Megastore (largest in Scotland) and the upper floor will be Bar/cafe leisure venue. CG expects this to be accomplished by May 2013.



    They are looking at Stadium sponsorship and Murray Park sponsorship. CG alluded that ‘The Sports Direct Stadium’ might not be desirable, but ‘The iBrox Stadium’ (as in Apple iPad/iPhone etc.) would be, acknowledging the fans passion for keeping the name of our stadium. (nb. I was personally unsure if what CG was saying about the ‘Apple iBrox’ sponsorship was merely a suggestion to Imran, an actual possibility or just some show-boating?)






    22,690,000 shares have already been issued – these are with the initial backers (consortium). IA estimates a further 22M+ in the next round. The minimum investment is 500 shares. IA was asked what price will one share cost? He explained that a bunch were traded at 50p early on, and more recently 1M where traded at £1. He estimates somewhere between £1-£1.50 per share, it will be finalised when the value of the club is established.



    The Board was asked “What about people who can’t afford £500?” CG replied, they could wait until the first day of trading and go to a broker and do it that way, then they can invest in smaller chunks. The board decided on 500 as the bottom limit, as anything lower could be a challenge re:cost involved in the whole IPO process vs. actual share issue/capital raising. There would be an order of priority with the offer, in the first instance, current season ticket holders and old shareholders will be offered first dibs, then after that it would be open to the public.



    A question was asked about RST/Gersave etc. and about ‘groups’ being allowed to buy shares on behalf of other. CG said that he had no objection to that, but it would be up to those inclined to do so to hand their money over to one individual. The priority rule would still apply.



    All in all, using these new deals/strategies, CG believes over the next 5-10 years RFC can grow to become a global brand with an annual turnover of £100m through traditional means (merchandise/retail/match-day experience) plus another £100m in media rights through new technologies. RFC will have no debt, no liability and plenty of assets.






    CG said he will personally make money from Rangers, but he will make it in the right way. CG received his first pay check last week. His salary will be documented in the Annual Report, but he joked that he told IA that he believed himself to be half as good as Martin Bain, so he should take half of what he got paid, IA said CG was worse than that, and decided to pay him less than half of Bain’s salary.



    CG said “We are not for leaving – we are staying until the job is finished.” CG will receive 10% share ownership once the job is done, but FSA rules prohibit him from selling while he is CEO, so he kindly asked us to vote him out when the job is done so he can retire to France.



    CG said he wants no part of the SPL for Rangers anymore. “Why should we go back to an organisation and earn them money when they are trying to strip our titles?” CG believes Scottish league reconstruction is inevitable. He also believes a European League will happen and Rangers tick all the boxes and will be part of that.



    CG won’t back the call for a boycott of an away matches vs. SPL teams, he doesn’t think it is a good idea. He believes the fans should get behind Ally and the team. He made the point that if the fans wanted to hurt SPL teams financially, they would do better boycotting home matches against them instead. However, if the support want the club to back a boycott, they should write to the board and ask them to publicly support the boycott. He also said that he had a few other ‘sneaky ideas’ about how to deal with SPL clubs.



    CG believes even though 10 chairmen raised there hand, only 5 wanted us out of the SPL. The others intended to abstain, therefore rendering their vote irrelevant – CG told them to ‘man-up’ and either keep us in or kick us out.



    BF1 – The gentleman sitting beside CG at the recent Motherwell match is a director with Arsenal, he expressed his admiration for BF1 saying “If you could bottle that and sell it, it would make a fortune”. He wishes Arsenal had something similar.



    CG does not want ‘crowd surfing’ or flares/smokebombs as he is responsible for the safety of every person in the Stadium and does not want any supporter to come to any harm. “If the fans want flares, ask us! We’ll arrange it properly, before or after matches, safely.”



    CG said he would have no problem in allocating ALL away fans the Broomloan Corner, including our rivals across the city. He is open to meeting with TBO and UB with a view to expanding their groups across the whole of BF.



    The board was asked to explain what their strategy was concerning the ‘Leadership’ of the club. “What are you doing to sustain a strong leadership team to build our club to be the great organisation it deserves to be?” CG explained that IA and BS are currently building teams to create a new culture within the club. Their focus was on sustainability first, then growth and building the financial base, whereas our first class management team will concentrate on building the squad. As mentioned, Youth development will play a major role, Craig Mather, who has a wealth of experience, is now the Director of Auchenhowie.



    CG’s expectation for the club is not to be at the level of Man Utd. and Barcelona, but he firmly believes that group stages of the Champions League every year should be our minimum expectation, then the quarter finals every other year, and on a good year maybe even the semi-finals.



    CG was asked about renaming our training facility, he mentioned that they were going to put it out to the fans to decide on a name, at that point a fair few of those in attendance said out loud “Davie Cooper”.



    A member of the floor thanked the board and a round of applause ended the meeting.

  7. Son of Gabriel on

    I only buy Celtic merch from the celtic store



    Guarantee all funds available go into my club.


    Sportsdirect are as corrupt as they come, have grudged any penny I spend there for some time, now however I’ll be taking my custom elsewhere.




  8. Only ever buy The Hoops stuff from Celtic shops, money goes to team. I personally would like it for Celtic to start selling other sportswear like trainers etc. I am sure they could get a percentage from Nike etc then no Celtic supporter would need go near a sportsdirect shop or any other for that matter. Just my opinion.




  9. BMCUW



    There are many reasons a man might sell his soul to the Devil; Wealth, Power, The charms of a beautiful woman…



    Philvis already has all those things. So what does the man who has everything covet?



    Prima Podium




  10. Paul 67



    Do you think that DD’s recent take on the huns has, in some way – smeared the efforts of Neil and his young Lions on the pitch ?


    Also…do you think that Sevco will stay afloat just as long as Sports-Direct are in business ?


    God Bless


    Hail Hail

  11. I refuse to purchase my Celtic merchandise from high street stores…..I drive to the CP superstore everytime I am home……makes sense tae me.



    Teuchter ár lá

  12. Paul67



    Not had a bhoycott article for a wee while.



    Sign me up for it.




  13. JinkyvJohnGreig-saysitall on

    Interesting point Paul,



    I agree, no to Sports Direct from me. I also agree with others that to buy any merchandise from the club you should go to the Celtic Shop even if it’s a couple of quid more expensive than a JD Sports or Sports Direct (JJB was excluded a few years back).



    On another point already made by many, Gordon Strachan was once again immense in his praise of Celtic and my admiration of him has gone up more in his time away from Celtic than when he was actually the boss. The speech he gave the day after he vacated the Manager post about now being a fan has been proven time after time. It annoys me greatly to hear the likes of Nicholas, Provan, Walker et al decry the club at almost every opportunity when in reality the only gripe they could ever have had was from their dealings with previous Directors or Managers. They were never treated badly by Celtic or the supporters and indeed when they were being paid handsomely by the club it was their signature on the contract. I don’t believe a gun was ever put to their head.



    Gordon Strachan for Ambassador / honorary chairman or Non-Exec role with the club would suit me just fine.

  14. Apologies for my stupidity.



    Not questioning anyone who buys merchandise from the Celtic Stores as it puts dosh back into the club.



    But… (yip, you knew it was coming)



    Will Celtic actually make a penny out of the Anniversary top or anyother top sold for that matter in the Celtic Shop?



    My understanding is that we recieve a sponsorship figure from Nike. That figure covers any number of new kit during the sponsorship deal. There is a bonus for number of kits sold but it does not matter if the accumulated number of kits sold comes from The Celtic Shop or your wee local sports shop.



    It is also Nike’s decision on the frequency an number of new kit’s that are brought out.



    The generic Nike goalkeepers top also does my nut in.



    Can ayone confirm?






    As an aside. During a discussion when buying my sons Black Kit from the Superstore the girl/manager taking the sale entered into discussion and infered that Celtic do not make a penny profit from Kit sold in Celtic shops as the price was Nike’s price and it would not be appropriate for Celtic to increase that for their own profit. I did ask, though, that if that was the case how come other retailers were able to discount price by £5, £10 or £20.

  15. Might try it for purely trial tasting purposes of course…




    A new range of alcoholic drinks is said to be poured over glamour models’ breasts before bottling.



    The liquor, including limited-edition vodka, rum and whisky, is being sold by German company G-Spirits for around £100 each.



    One of the main women involved in the project is Hungary’s current Playmate of the Year Alexa Varga.



    She is joined by Amina Malakona and Evelin Aubert, who have all been photographed topless demonstrating the process on the company’s website.



    The models will contribute towards producing 2,500 litres of each spirit in small batches and their photographs will appear on the bottles that go on sale.



    G-Spirits have insisted that the campaign is in keeping with public health standards.



    A spokesperson has said: “We pay high attention to a hygienic filling process. Furthermore medical personnel is present to check it.”

  16. Son of Gabriel on






    I’d agree but we’d constantly hear how he was interfering and pulling the strings.


    Even though he would be.



    Would give the msm too big an outlet if we done badly



    Plus sometimes having people like that still at the club can slightly undermine the managers position.


    But he is an excellent flag bearer for us, and does deserve something from Celtic.



    How about a loan?

  17. The Pantaloon Duck on

    Today’s good guys:



    – Fraser Forster


    – Charlie Mulgrew


    – Gordon Strachan



    … and one or two others

  18. MWD


    Thats my understanding.Nike operate a total sales system with bonuses for reaching certain levels of sales eg if the deal is 100k target for the basic contract if they sell 150/200K then we get bonuses. It doesnt matter where you buy the official gear.

  19. Afternoon All,



    Great to see FF break the england cap duck. Hopefully adding a few sevco’s to his transfer value. Now that the seal has been broken it may be easier for Hooperman to follow.



    Hopefully a good support turn up tomorrow as I am not sure the game is a forgone conclusion. It was reported the Diet Sevconians brought 8 humans (ed, zombies) last time around, lets see how confident they are this time. The fantastic away turnout from Raith & Dundee were noted.



    Anyhoo, on to more pressing matters, The CQN Golf society has a round organised for next Sunday @ Leven with a few spaces remaining. Anyone, including lurkers, who fancies a round give me a shout @ cqngolfclub@gmail.com



    Moving on, work a calling at this end, Moscow.



    Have a great weekend & HH




  20. South Of Tunis on

    G—-Spirits ——?



    Somebody gave me a bottle of their Rum .



    It tasted like it had been double poured .



    First — Angela Merkel and then Hattie Jacques.

  21. Sports Direct is a dumpy shop anyway……they have such a huge staff turnover, too ; tells you something.


    And I fervently hope ICT gub Sevco.


    I, for one, hope we never play that shower of rat droppings……there’s a first time for everything, but some things should never be experienced. You don’t have to drink acid to know that it’ll be horrific.


    Likewise, playing Sevco for the first time in its history is something that would only bring credit to them, i.e. the privilege of playing against the most respected and loved club in Europe, The Mighty Celtic F.C.


    Not going to happen. They are not worthy to grace our beautiful green field.

  22. traditionalist88 on

    KevJungle(from previous)



    That was my point really – if we’d put our chances away they couldn’t have stopped us. We didn’t…and they did.



    This season there will be no stopping us:)




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