Governance and the money that has to be found


Money has always been an issue in Scottish football, there is never enough to satisfy demand for what seems to be needed.  Previously, the requirements have been formidable: safe stadiums, but more often they have been less pressing: better players.

The modern training facilities Celtic and many others enjoy would be marvelled by all clubs as recently as 20 years ago.  Then there are playing surfaces.  Look back at old videos and you will see just how poor pitches were and how far many clubs have come.

All-seater stadiums, pitches with artificial lighting, which allow water to drain and remain mostly green throughout the winter, training facilities with dressing rooms within a miles walk of the pitch have cost the game an unimaginable amount of money in a relatively short space of time.

If you were around when the Taylor Report, released in the wake of the Hillsborough Disaster, mandated almost all top-flight clubs to rebuild their stadiums, you will remember the game itself seemed in jeopardy, needing to spend money it never had.

A causal look at any Premiership club’s accounts will convince you that there is no money for Video Assistant Referees (VAR), but like the stadiums, the pitches and the training facilities, money has to be found.  Society is on a trajectory where greater levels of customer service and administrative governance are expected.  What we put up with in the past is no longer tolerable.  Soon, we will not tolerate freezing our bums off for two hours with a roof providing only partial shelter from the elements.

Premiership managers met with referees and the SFA yesterday and agreed that VAR was needed, no chief executives were harmed at the meeting.  This would be one step towards better the governance we all now expect.

Celtic Charity Football Talk, Xavier Centre, Carfin

Saturday 19 January, 8pm

I am joining Tom Boyd and George McCluskey after the game tomorrow night for a question and answer in Carfin.  We are raising money for Vision of a Blind Golfer, to assist George’s son, Barry.

Tickets are £7 each, call Mick on 07827 975271 to book.  See you there.

Click Here for Comments >

About Author


  1. Money, you say Paul.



    Andy Robertson or Kieran Tierney? Even the most biased Celtic fan will concede there is little to choose between them. Except one of them has just signed a 5 year deal on £150,000 per WEEK. The other has signed a six year deal worth , and I’m guessing here, a maximum of £40,000 per week. An absurd amount of money for us supporters to comprehend, but it illustrates how difficult it is for Celtic to attract “quality” players.



    With a wage gap that extreme, surely it is only fair and just that Kieran is allowed (at some point) to take up offers from money-engorged EPL clubs. With our best wishes.



    Meanwhile, we have internet vocalists who DEMAND that Peter Lawell / Dermott Desmod spend, spend, spend.



    To what end? To win the league and cups? Because there is never enough money that our club will ever see to allow us to compete in UEFA competitions any more successfully than we are already doing.



    And for my part, I don’t have, nor have ever had, any expectations about Euro competitions. They are just bonus nights to enjoy. Win, lose or draw.

  2. SS- agree, it shows how vital scouting players has become, encouraging to see Bayo sourced from a new market HH

  3. 50 shades of green on

    If Benkovic was to get recalled or Boyatta punted, then aye we would need a CH at the moment they ain’t, so we dont for this season, We need/ needed support up front for Eddie, done it, Someone to challenge the wide men for a place,done it .



    Cover for KT now needed and if you are of the opinion that big Mick needs replacing then a replacement is needed, me I think between him and Tony R we are covered so not a priority.



    All the above is Imho as usual.



    But spare me the garbage that because we are signing loan players that Brendan is off.



    H.H, gonna be a long Saturday for us ra morra…

  4. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Interesting article, Paul, although I would disagree with your “lack of money in Scottish football” point.


    Surely if there was a lack of money the Strong Rangers Association would have offered Alex McLeish a salary in line with his standing in football management as a serial failure unemployable outside the dregs of the game? Did they really just give him what Strachan was on?


    I would also love to know how much they spend on PR and legal fees to fight fires after their many mess-ups.


    Turning to VAR, I wonder how good it would really be? Presumably only as good as the people operating it. Former refs by any chance?


    I wonder if VAR would have spotted the Meekings handball or if it would have been obscured by Leigh Griffiths as the linesman and assistant behind the goal both were. Somehow.


    Would VAR be given a list of players (or rather, player!) who is just a bit silly? No point in stopping the game if the player offending isn’t allowed to be punished.


    Anyway, nice of them to pretend they are being all modern. I’m sure some people might even be fooled!

  5. glendalystonsils on

    If we do lose the league to Secvco ,which is unlikely but possible IMO , it will be the most rapid and catastrophic decline in fortunes since a meteor shower wiped out the dinosaurs.


    (Well all of them except the ones at the SFA).

  6. I’m not a fan of VAR generally, I like refs getting things wrong, it is a game played by human beings after all, and I like a bit of unfairness adding to what is only a game. It’s entertainment after all.



    But it can only be a good thing in Scottish football. You’ve got to wonder why Scottish refs, with the doubts about bias they’ve had hanging over them forever weren’t the first to demand it. Well maybe not.

  7. 50 Shades- so after record income,we can’t invest in 3 or 4 players on 3/4/5 year contracts,abd scramble by on 6 month loans instead? Where is the forward planning? Other clubs manage,and I’ve heard enough excuses re Celtic. FWIW,i don’t think Brendan will be here next season. HH



    While i agree with most of your post i have issue with your spend,spen,spend remark.


    The reality is no one is asking the club to spend beyond our means.


    Of course Celtic cannot compete financially with the top leagues but there are plenty available as Dembele and VVD have proven at a reasonable price.


    When your club is sitting on large cash reserves and there are glaring weaknesses in certain areas of the team it is not unreasonable to expect the custodians to try and address these.


    We are now at a pivotal moment in the season and the cheating has and will be ramped up to achieve what the mssm,authorities and Scottish population at large desire.


    Not to give the coach the personnel within our means to meet this challenge would be sickening.

  9. I’ve not ben posting much recently (for various reasons) but have been following the usual Celtic sites. What I found baffling is the fact that the Celtic support don’t understand the current relaity.



    The bottom line is that it is difficult to attract the quality we need to the Scottish game. Our best centre half pairing is Boyata and Benkovic and to replace them would, IMHO, cost north of £12M EACH. To do that we would need to stick an untried partnership straight into the team without any real time to work with them. The other option is to sit them on the bench which would probably cost around £2M in wages. they would still be unlikely to get game time. If the manager brought 2 new players into the team straight away and it didn’t work out it would be seen as a disaster. Solution? Get them in for summer pre-season and see how they develop into the team as we start the season. Remember, we still have Ajmer and Simunovic (as well as Nir Bitton) available.



    The area of the team needing major surgery was up front and we have completed that; there has also been the purchase of the American left back. Midfield is fine and we have provided cover for wide players as well.



    Right back is an issue just now but I think Anthony Ralston can provide adequate cover there. The 2 right backs we were (apparently) in for were priced out of the market it seems. That’s a reality we have to live with.



    We have won one trophy, are top of the league with a game in hand and have the best squad in the league. If Brendan dodgers does his job properly we will win the league comfortably and most likely the Scottish Cup as well. Had we won on the 29th December there wouldn’t be the current hoo ha and we wouldn’t be in the least concerned about the fans fear dealings at Snake Mountain. They are marginally better than last years and we are still far better than them.



    The Celtic support need to get a reality check and stop acting like it’s a disaster. If you doubt that, read James Forrest’s latest blog today!





  10. Just heard a road accident expert giving possible reasons for the collision yesterday with a very old man and some plebs. He did it in the style of Kenny Clark and Stuart Dougal. Fortunately he stopped short of saying they brought it upon themselves.

  11. Here’s the thing.



    Most of us understand the “current reality” perfectly well. Most us understand it better than you think.



    I’m going to nip this in the bud, this nonsense about our central defence.



    This assertion that it will cost £12 million replace Boyata is shit. It is just shit. It is a lie. An absolute outright barefaced lie. He is not worth that sort of money, which is why most of us are still astonished that the club didn’t accept £9 million for him in the summer.



    Likewise, you assert that Benkovic would cost £12 million. That, too, is a ridiculous and wholly false assertion. He cost Leicester that, but that shows only the stupidity of the English market. Had English clubs not been sniffing around him, he would have cost circa £4 million or thereabouts.



    In the same window as Leicester signed Benkovic they signed Turkish defender Caglar Soyuncu; he cost them £19 million. He has played five games.



    The simple truth is that neither Benkovic nor Boyata is a “£12 million player” and to keep throwing those ridiculous numbers around is nothing but an attempt to muddy the waters and obscure the point. There are players out there who would materially better our central defence – I named four of them in a piece last week – and who could be had for £4 – £6 million each.



    We could buy two of them for the phantom number you are throwing about with abandon.



    I know EXACTLY what the club’s position is.



    This is NOT about lack of funds or about lack of quality available on the market … this is about strategic decisions which have been made, which are being adhered to, and which are holding us back. Save your rationalisations for those upon whom they will work.

  12. Fool Time Whistle on




    Your report of NFL’s comments after the “get together” in Perth are salutary.



    Managers & referees had a chance to sit down, exchange some views & had a laugh at the same time – who’d have thought it. Allow men who are referees to talk to men who are managers without pre-conditions or restrictions – you imagine the SFA might have been surprised & appalled.



    Dialogue will more often lead to better understanding & an awareness of shared interests & mutual advantage. If only this could be translated into games….



    The clouds of mystery surrounding the revamped disciplinary process should be lifted so that all of the notable & notorious incidents from this season can be of some learning benefit.



    I would love to be a fly on the wall when the stamps, kicks, punches, late tackles in THAT game are shown to referees operating in other leagues. That these offences went unpunished by any cards, AND that they were all committed by the same player would reduce them all to a state of stupored silence & aghast of flabber.



    Privately, John Beaton & his colleagues know that the refereeing in that game was of a poor quality. The images do not lie. Referees need to stop hiding behind gormless statements from Kenny Clark & accept that there is room for improvement in how they do their jobs. They know that of they reffed like that in any other league they would be bounced out, so it’s time for them to stop presenting a deflective response & be part of the solution.



    Happy Friday




  13. 50 shades of green on

    !!BADA BING!! on 18TH JANUARY 2019 1:40 PM


    50 Shades- so after record income,we can’t invest in 3 or 4 players on 3/4/5 year contracts,abd scramble by on 6 month loans instead? Where is the forward planning? Other clubs manage,and I’ve heard enough excuses re Celtic. FWIW,i don’t think Brendan will be here next season. HH,,,,







    We did invest in players albeit it was renewed contracts for 3 or 4 players ,,, as for forward planning thats hopefully covered by the above and the youths,,,



    Now I’m not really overly impressed with the loan players policy, particularly if there is no right to buy, but just about every team on the planet uses this method.



    Would I like to see us invest in new players, definitely but first of all trim the bloated squad.



    Imho Brendan is here for 10 in a row, and wont leave us just because we are signing loan players.




  14. JAMES FORREST on 18TH JANUARY 2019 2:13 PM



    Thanks James; you have made my point for me; Benkovic is a £12M player because that’s what was paid for him. Your argument is ridiculous (to use your term): “Likewise, you assert that Benkovic would cost £12 million. That, too, is a ridiculous and wholly false assertion. He cost Leicester that, but…” He cost Liecester that so he is in fact a £12m player.



    Boyata with a few years on his contract would, IMHO, have gone for £10m to £12M because that’s the market. The price Aberdeen are quoting for McKenna is ridiculous (circa £8M) and if we bid that then I’m sure they would hawk him to the English Championship and probably get more, possibly up to £10M.



    We were (apparently) in for the Norwegian right back at £4M and his price was then quoted at £8M. That’s the market. Clubs know we have money and could afford that so they play hardball.



    This is what is happening just now so it’s nothing more than sheer arrogance (as well as being extremely rude) to call me a liar: “It is just shit. It is a lie. An absolute outright barefaced lie.”. It’s an opinion, my opinion and I stated it was just that: “…to replace them would, IMHO, cost north of £12M EACH.”



    It’s all about opinions and we are all entitled to them, even if we disagree with each other. However the disagreements can surely be debated with a wee bit of courtesy? You’re usually better than that!





  15. James Forrest 2.13



    Hi james.


    Can you expand on the strategic decisions which are being made which are holding us back?


    Just in transfers?…or elsewhere?





    I know EXACTLY what the club’s position is.



    Wee bit more on that too James please.



    Thanks in advance





  16. 50 Shades- thanks for reply, if you look at the detail BR and CD put in to our preparation for every game,do you think he’s happy with 6 month loans? I’m not saying go and buy Joe Bloggs to play CB ,because he’s only £3m,we spend a lot of money on scouting, and have contacts worldwide, surely we can do better to put a proper squad together for the next 3/4 seasons? HH

  17. WHAT IS THE STARS on 18TH JANUARY 2019 2:45 PM



    D, James is usually quite a decent blogger but on occasion he gets upset if he is taken to task or called out on something he has written; I don’t really mind that but outright rudeness and calling me a liar isn’t acceptable.



    It’s all about opinions and although he may have “sources” they are still just informed opinions. I reserve the right to disagree with them.





  18. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see on

    @ 50 SHADES OF GREEN on 18TH JANUARY 2019 2:21 PM



    “We did invest in players albeit it was renewed contracts for 3 or 4 players ”



    I like that this is now wheeled out as the new type of ‘investment’ made by Celtic. This isn’t an investment. It’s a choice between losing players for nothing/a transfer fee (because they have run down their contract or because they are not being paid their perceived worth) or increasing their remuneration (which is often deserved). Now, there is an upper limit as to what we can pay players so should the player demand a certain fee, he has to go either by running his contract down (Boyata) or being sold (Ledley).



    However, it’s crazy to treat this as an investment, as the alternative to not increasing the player’s contract is losing the player. The definition of investment does not entail a negative, i.e. if Celtic don’t sign a striker, they do not simultaneously lose one; whereas if Celtic do not increase a contract (the perceived investment), they may lose the player.



    It’s an axiom of business that if an employee performs well, they will be better remunerated. So treatig improved contracts as anything other than the ordinary course of business is misguided.



    As an aside, our percentage wage bill to revenue has decreased each year under BR, so even here we are in surplus.

  19. What is the Stars on

    So giving players new longer contracts on better wages is NOT INVESTING in the squad..


    Honestly what is wrong with people ??



    Ok you hate Lawwell and hate the Board and think all millionaires should be drowned at birth


    Thats fair enough I am actually all for that myself

  20. Borgo67



    The BBC said earlier that the Chookie Embra ‘careered’ off the road.



    Sum mistake surely – he hasn’t had a job since WW2

  21. Big Georges Fan Club - Hail, Hail, Wee Oscar on



    RTE in Ireland, often referred to as RTEngland, as looking for everyones favourite folk song :) Don’t hesitate to share far and wide:







    Voted – The Dying Rebel



    Was sorely tempted by ‘The Green Fields of France’ – only problem is I find it really hard to sing – keep bursting into tears! I’m a big saftie.






  22. So, from informed sources….(sauces) it’s either Benni McCarthy, Jenni McCarthy,James McCarthy or General MacCarthur…………..







    Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrumph CSC!

  23. The hands cant hit what the eyes cant see on

    @ WHAT IS THE STARS on 18TH JANUARY 2019 2:55 PM



    Did you read the post? It originated from a claim that players signing new contracts is now equivalent to signing new players. It’s not and for the reasons I’ve pointed out.



    True investment does not carry an equivalent negative, as pointed out above. If Celtic say to James Forrest (the winger not blogger): James, you’ve been our player of the year; your performances and contributions to the team have been outstanding; you’ve shown your quality against Europe’s best (Bayern at home etc), your market worth has probably doubled (if not more) in the last couple of years. It’s time for a new contract and we are going to offer you the same terms…what do you think he would say?



    And what is the alternative to offering someone better wages for performing better, contributing to the club’s success and being a far bigger asset for the club? Selling them? Letting their contract run down? Hardly investment in the squad, as again, the alternative is losing the asset.



    It’s a race to the bottom on CQN to justify our parsimony.



    About time you got into the real world.Its not only England that pays ridiculous amounts,but what they do,is set the transfer prices.We have just seen Porto offer around £13 million for Ntcham.The Greek club have just slapped an 8 million price tag on the RB we are interested in.Anyone ever heard of him?


    Its not just the money.We are trying to lure good players to the SPFL.Treated as a minor league by most of Europe.Leave France,Spain,Portugal,Greece,and come to Bonny Scotland.Get yourself onto poor plastic pitches 10 times a season.For the main part,throw your international chances out the window.Castagna,the guy we have bid for,says he wants to play in England .We will have to wait to see if he changes his mind,iff the offer he wants fails to come through.


    To say that Boyatta and Benkovic are not worth 12 million,no matter where they go,is ludicrous.Your estimation of Benkovic at around 4 million,beyond belief.Have you been writing your blog from a cave for the past 10 years.


    Seem a bit detached from reality.




    It’s pretty much like leasing a car; we never really own it. Basically we put down an upfront cost to rent a an asset (player/car) for a period of time; the value of the asset we rent is then amortised over the period of the contract. If there are a number of people who want to rent the asset, the initial deposit increases, and we can’t always afford the deposit for a Rolls Royce so have to stick with our Golf Gti or see if we can afford the Golf R.



    If someone wants to take over that rental before the end date, they have to pay a fee to do so. If we want to extend the rental then we pay an increased cost; if we or the asset owner don’t want to extend the rental, someone else pays the rental instead. Even if we have added to the player/car we can’t always keep it; the fact that others are often willing to pay more for rental than we are means that we are not always in control.



    As long as there are richer teams (and plusher roads) out there that will be the case.




  26. Big Geo and Trad……..



    I just voted for Sean South….they’ll be spluttering their Soy lattes at Montrose when they open mine!







  27. WITS



    Ok you hate Lawwell and hate the Board and think all millionaires should be drowned at birth



    Thats fair enough I am actually all for that myself



    That could have been written by an eight year old having a tantrum.


    Really pathetic.

  28. traditionalist88 on




    Nice one, yet to decide myself!




  29. Do I think Rangers are a great side : NO, absolutely not


    Do I think Rangers are a good side : NO, far from it


    Do I think Rangers could win the league : there’s every possibility.



    They are marginally better than the other Scottish Premiership sides. Which doesn’t make them a good side. However where the threat originates from, is that in being marginally better than the other Scottish premiership sides, all they have to do is reflect that in a game by game basis. If they achieve consistency and prove to be marginally better than the opposition in each game. In doing so, they become a threat.


    And to this end, this is what I think will happen. They will prove to be consistently better than the rest.



    Therefore, so do we.



    Ihave asked you before on here to explain your massive turnaround on the Mc Ginn saga.No response.


    You stated then on your blog that Petrie was at it with us raising the price to 4 million,and that we should just wait,and let him stew.You stated that he would NEVER sell to us.When Mc Ginn then chose Villa,you slaughtered the Board,even though they did as you said.


    I read every article you post.Agree with most,but you are not the Messhia,just a very forgetful boy.