Interims, execution variables and ‘Let me put this clear’ Sturgeon


Celtic’s interims for the 6 months to 31 December 2020 reveal revenue down 23.7% while operating costs dropped 12% on the corresponding period a year earlier. This resulted in a small operating loss of £278k (2019: £7.061m profit).

The amortisation charge (newbies: it’s how player transfer fees are recorded in accounts) was up marginally to £6.583m (2019: £5.874m), but the biggest change anywhere on the accounts was in player sales: this season at £993k against £23.021m a year earlier.

A drop in revenue of only £12.647m reflects the high level of season ticket sales and long-term commercial deals the club has with its partner organisations. Even if ticket sales soften next season (they may or may not), the most valuable commercial contracts will continue to perform.

The £23m gain on player sales from a year earlier was overwhelmingly made up from the sale of Kieran Tierney to Arsenal. This season, Celtic chose not to transform Odsonne Edouard or several others, into gold, while pursuing a tenth successive title. This plan will not deliver, but even looking back through the prism of these accounts, the alternatives were less attractive. Odsonne and the other principle saleable assets remain under contract at the end of this season and we can expect one or more to leave.

Cash balance on 31 December was £19.7m; down from £32.9m (and helped by money coming in for Tierney) but not for 25 years has it been more important to have money in the bank than now.

My ready reckoner puts the operating loss for the entire season at close to £23m. This level of losses (close to where Newco are in normal times) is not sustainable, but I am not going to extrapolate as this season has too many unique factors.

The January sale of Jeremie Frimpong (£11m minus Man City cut) will begin to offset our losses but after amortisation and other non-operating expenses are taken into account, I still expect a comprehensive loss for the year in excess of £20m.

Cash balance will be nearly wiped in the months ahead, but notes with the interims forecast we will remain in the black, a surprise for me. Working on the very strong assumption that Odsonne will not extend his contract, his likely sale in the summer will hopefully generating substantial working capital.

When football clubs start getting things wrong they have a tendency to compound their problems with dangerous over-corrections. David Murray is the morality tale for this after reacting to Rangers run of successive titles stopping at 9, with a recruitment drive that saw annual losses of £35m and a regard for tax affairs that ultimately led to liquidation.

The appetite for corrections, both from the outgoing chief exec Peter Lawwell, and the incoming Dominic McKay, will be significant. Neither will want another season like this. There are many ways of getting it wrong; getting it right will take the judgement of Solomon across the handover period.

Although the finances have taken a hit, we have strong fundamentals to work with: impressive commercial contracts, a huge fan base, a reliable credit history and stable ownership. Everything else is just about execution variables.

Red card.

When Boli Bolingoli broke lockdown rules in August, Nicola Sturgeon postponed Celtic’s (and Aberdeen’s!) forthcoming games. She laid it on the line for football, “Let me put this as clearly as I can in language that the football world will understand: consider today to be the yellow card.  The next time it will be the red card, because you will leave us with absolutely no choice.”

Since then she declined to comment when Newco players broke the same rules, although permitted her PR to issue a statement congratulating the club on a swift response (no swifter than Celtic’s). She subsequently grabbed the limelight and used innuendo to grandstand against Celtic when her Government had already approved the club’s plans.

“Let me put this as clearly as I can”, Nicola Sturgeon has no intention of treating Celtic and Newco equally. She will keep her red card in her pocket in reaction to Newco’s latest infringement, like the Ayrshire official she is.

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  1. Pingback: Interims, execution variables and ‘Let me put this clear’ Sturgeon | Celtic FC News Now

  2. It was 3 hun players at the Covid party,it was only when Tavernier turned up,they started handing out penalties.

  3. The Rainjurz will carry out an internal investigation and will then get a commendation from our Nichola.


    If only we had carried out an internal investigation with Bolingoli all would have been fine.

  4. Solomon’s wisdom wouldn’t have been troubled for long.



    Get in a manager and coaching staff that can competently do their jobs; have a CEO that keeps his nose out of football affairs; plan and purchase with a view to entry into European group stages, rather than on the increasingly rare occasion we succeed in doing so; and make good your stated ‘standalone’ business model rather than your craven Old Firm-ism.



    HH jg

  5. Nikki Sweetie avoids the issue again on the huns,it’s the SFA’s job to sort it out,move along Timmy, nothing to see here…

  6. Nicola manages to put Celtic first in the list of clubs warned about breaking the rules.


    How can this be when the question was about Rangers?

  7. prestonpans bhoys on

    I wish you footballers would behave, is the FM’s response, ridiculous in comparison to what has been said/done previously😯😕

  8. Bhoy From The Boyne on

    Remaining in the black come June 30th financials will hopefully be a boost in which squad rebuilding is likely to be funded by player sales and reducing the wage bill signficantly.



    Being conservative on figures, I would expect, Edouard, Christie, Ajer, Ntcham to generate circa £35m.


    40% sell on fee to PSG for Edouard could bring rebuild budget of around £30m.



    Based on my fag packet economics :-0



    A boost for club that the new Brexit rules have been extended into summer transfer window. Hopefully club has identified our replacement targets from Scandinavian & Eastern European markets where player valuations tend to be lower.




    In this case Paul is referring to our cash balance, we will not need to borrow to cover operating costs. It would not necessarily have been a big problem as, as Paul67 pointed out, we have good access to credit, unlike the huns who are begging the fans to hand over their cash immediately because otherwise its coming straight out of the pocket of the directors again.



    Our cash balance is unlikely to have any bearing on our player acquisition budget which is more dependent on projected profit and loss.



    As has been explained ad infinitum on here we don’t sell players and then spend all the money on new ones. The business model, the one that has us being able to stay solvent in the midst of the pandemic, doesn’t work like that.

  10. I see our First Minister avoided criticising the deid team and named us before them when criticising teams in general. How often have the deid team to break the rules before action is taken against them?

  11. !!BADA BING!! on 15TH FEBRUARY 2021 1:05 PM


    Borrowing money has never been cheaper





    Can I have £20 please….




  12. Wow…..nicola very very calm regarding the latest sevco breach!!!….I was half expecting a crack up….but no….diazapam monotone…..incredible really


    Boy from the boyne….35 million for Eddie Ajer christie and Nathan…..glad you’re not my accountant!!!

  13. !!BADA BING!! on 15TH FEBRUARY 2021 1:05 PM


    Borrowing money has never been cheaper



    For some things maybe. Even before the pandemic lenders wouldn’t hand over any money never mind cheap cash for working capital. I think it’s Southampton have secured a large loan recently, there seems to be some emergency loans being secured by the big clubs from the leagues with big tv deals but the interest rates are high.

  14. !BADA BING!! on 15TH FEBRUARY 2021 10:41 AM


    The MSM won’t have the balls to ask Nikki Sweetie about the huns




    One female Journalist asked her about ” Ranjers” latest Breach, and to be fair to that Journo, she reminded Sturgeon that this was now THE ” 2nd” Breach by Ranjers.



    I didnt catch from where this journo was speaking from…what Newspaper or TV Mob ?


    Sturgeon said that she ” Didnt know all the Facts yet”….did she say the same about Celtic and Boli ?


    I know she said the same about Celtic and Dubai when first questioned about it.


    The Ranjers and the Scot Govt and Polis will need time to get their story straight to be fair !



  15. !BADA BING!! on 15TH FEBRUARY 2021 12:29 PM


    It was 3 hun players at the Covid party,it was only when Tavernier turned up,they started handing out penalties.




    Now…That made me laugh.


    HH Mate.

  16. “!!BADA BING!! on 15TH FEBRUARY 2021 12:29 PM


    It was 3 hun players at the Covid party,it was only when Tavernier turned up,they started handing out penalties.”




  17. We’ll be one of few clubs in Europe not using external finance to see out the season.



    Money from the probable sales of Christie, Ntcham, Ajer and Eddie will fund our rebuild.



    The club have all but said Lennon will be gone. We invested in the squad, refused to sell anyone and failed. It’s clear Lennon is gone.



    Get the recruitment right and we can look forward with confidence to next season.



    I fear we’re doing very little right now in terms of bringing players on for next season. Soro, Ajeti, Barkas and Mikey Johnson are getting little game time while Bain, Brown and loanees get games.



    We need to get the next appointment right but it’s also important to remove Lennon as soon as possible.



    Get it done, Celtic.

  18. If we qualified for the CL we might have broken even. We didn’t, it’s been met with a shrug by the board who have chosen to make the dud in the dugout whose output only got worse from there the hill they will die on and most of the good work of the last 12 years has been all but wiped out. Corporate excellence all round.

  19. Paul 67,



    Stable ownership is key to us emerging from this Covid nightmare in a strong position. We have an unused line of credit that some clubs can only dream about, because we have stable ownership.


    Yes we need change at managerial level, but otherwise let’s be careful what we wish for.



    In summary: Our figures are not great, but they could have been a lot worse. Compared to Scotland or UK plc, we are navigating the storm more efficiently than most.




  20. P67 — rolling back the years with the amortisation chat.


    Not sure you fully understand it but at least you are not getting it mixed up with cash.



    PL made a complete erse of it in the summer.


    His lack of talent on show for everyone to see with his 10 mistake.



    This season was not special — keeping unhappy players on the books was a big fail.


    Better to have done some homework and had replacements lined up.


    Lazy and sloppy from PL in equal measure.



    The issue for us is that no matter the players in the squad the coaching foundations were / are non existant.



    PL made the call in May 2019 and it has haunted us ever since.


    Hopefully the new guy will have a better understanding of squad development.



    Finally — we seem to have spent £13mill and made the squad poorer.


    Putting a clueless SB (GK) and a fat / useless LG on the park before our two big buys tells us that both PL and NL are phoning it in.



    Also no word on the magical £60K amount that seems to be part of all our deals at the moment?

  21. So wee Jimmy Krankie says nothing about a Covid Breach involving Zombies!


    Am I surprised? No.


    Am I surprised that there are educated Celtic fans that would still back and vote for this sham of a government ? Yes….guys wake up and smell the coffee, this government has failed on schooling, education, NHS, management of care homes and Drug abuse….yet want to be trusted on Independence. The biggest lie of the lot


    Wake up.

  22. garygillespieshamstring on

    Nicola’s standard response when she has a question she doesn’t want to answer is “I don’t have all the facts to hand.”

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