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. I think it only right that our custodians should be asking for Null “n” Void after yet another breach by sevco.



    Its the sensible thing to do after all football just now is NOT essential.




    D :)

  2. To H.R.H. wee Nippy Sturgie, just set up an “independent” enquiry into the latest Sevco/Covid matter and put Fabiani in the chair. That way farcicality is guaranteed.

  3. C40M @ 12.58



    Your comments show the shambles of our current position.


    We are in your words a selling club — we need to sell players to keep the books straight.


    Why are we in that position — where we cannot cover our costs through normal trading?



    Where are we spending all this cash?


    Why can’t day to day trading cover our day to day costs?


    It is not a sustainable business if we have to sell to survive.


    This is not a well run club it is a slush fund for hopeless wasters.



    Total shambles where we pay a second rate property beancounter / third rate CEO well over the going rate to ruin our club just because he does DD’s dirty work and allegedly wear’s an expensive suit.



    Change needs to happen — fat and happy squad playing games with our emotions.


    Too many are here because it is the best / easiest money they can find.



    We lose the best and hang onto the worst — retirement home for the never wizzers.

  4. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    First Minister’s response called out accurately by previous posters – Respect.



    She wasn’t pure ragin’ today.



    Even though Sevco are the sole transgressors here the first club named by her was “Celtic”.



    Despicable bias all the way to the top.

  5. I am all for Independence, tbh, but I have major reservations about the SNP. Our First Minister’s performance earlier simply reinforced that. Isn’t she the MSP for Govan? Surely the deid team’s reported infractions should be on her desk first thing in the morning. How can she not have all the facts, as she claimed?

  6. BIG JIMMY on 15TH FEBRUARY 2021 1:20 PM


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



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




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



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



    You are bang on the money there, le Grand Jacques.

  7. So Not-Jacinda decided to play it cool regarding the latest TFOD2 CoViD breach …


    Now — hands up — who was really surprised about this?



    She has more to worry her than TFOD2 players breaking the lockdown.


    At the moment NL will have longer in her current job than she will.



    Up to her eyes in it CSC>

  8. Well said Paul,now that Mr.Bankier has found his voice why does he not raise the subject formally,as despite poor form.we have also lost several points as a result of postponments and adhering to an isolation rule which was retrospectively applied to an approved trip,whether or not that was a smart decision.




    At the moment NL will have longer in her current job than she will.





    You’re a naughty bhoy.

  10. Too near election time for sturgeon to chastise sevco. She will do nothing . Sevco will stall till it blows over as they always do , seeing that the laptop loyal will ignore it too . Our own statement not containing much good news either ,I guessed the pandemic would take its toll on our financial clout ,as it has proved . Thank goodness for our sponsors , Adidas , magners etc but we must surely ask the question how long will they hang about with the team we have at the moment . Massive changes are needed at the club , if not Europe won’t be for us . We had total supremacy but we have been allowed to decline over the past few seasons through not investing in the proper personnel , through interference when we did have the right men in place , bad buys , penny pinching . We needed a good clear out of players not good enough , and players who don’t want to be at Celtic any longer , but going by those accounts the big overhaul at Celtic park can’t and won’t happen . I will be renewing my season that’s a certainty but I won’t be renewing until I hear what plans are in place to eradicate the ills that presently infect our club .

  11. MADMITCH on 15TH FEBRUARY 2021 1:46 PM



    Why are we in that position — where we cannot cover our costs through normal trading?



    What’s normal trading?

  12. C40M @ 2.30



    Normal football activities / trading without involvement in player trading.



    The accounts detail it pretty well — Revenue from current activities vs cost of sales.

  13. JT @ 2.19



    If you want a lucrative / big money deal from Adidas then you need results on the park to get top dollar.


    It is not all about flogging your stuff — you have to sell Adidas as well.

  14. C40M @ recently



    What are your thoughts regarding our finances?


    Should we be a ner seller of players to balance the books?



    My thoughts are that we should be a net spender — to the tune of £5mill every year.


    If we start to max out our reveneue then we could move up a net spend of £10mill

  15. Given everything that has happened this last year the finances are good. Celtic budget for europa league football. No way we eat all 20 million in bank, what with upcoming sales agreed and season ticket renewals start in 2 months time ffs. Ajer, christie, eduard and mcgregor are likely going to be used to find signings for season 21/22. God knows DD and co would not want to go into their own very deep pockets with a share issue to raise capital.



    Sevco need directors to spend money to keep then going and should they get into the champions league they will likely break even with current income level. If not directors need to pay up the difference. Its all very fimiliar if you ask me. The more things change the more they stay the same it seems.




  16. PL legacy — He started with a club with a turnover of £69 mill @ 2003/04.


    And he left us a club with a T/O of £65mill approx.



    Not great for 17 years of effort.



    New bloke coming in — he should be looking at £200mill T/O in 2030/31.


    Tough ask but very achievable if you have some vision and a plan.

  17. PeterLatchfordsBelly on

    Wee Nicola’s true blue colours on full display.



    I disagree about the magnitude of the task. You don’t need the wisdom of Solomon to finish top of a two team league. Especially if the other club is as financially hamstrung as you repeatedly assure us.



    You only have to be halfway competent; ie nothing like Lawwell, Bankier (joke figure) and Lennon.

  18. Football growth …



    T/O of £69mill in 2003/04 — with global growth rates should equal


    T/O of £140mill in 2020/21 — with some drive and determination …


    T/O of 200mill in 2030/31.



    PL has got some amount of explaining to do.

  19. MADMITCH on 15TH FEBRUARY 2021 2:34 PM



    Including depreciation and amortization in your expenses but excluding profit from asset sales on your income statement is not “normal.”



    It’s perfectly “normal” in football for profit from player registration trading to make up a significant proportion of income.

  20. There is a Pandemic out there and we have no fans in the stadium. last season we gave season ticket holders a rebate. Meanwhile, we have to pay the staff. Thats why we lost money



    With regards to selling Eddy, Ntcham, Christie, McGregor then thats fine by me as they have all let us down with their poor performance. Why should we keep these want aways? They want better money than they earn at Celtic and have been non triers this season

  21. C40M



    That might be the case for second string / selling clubs — Falkirk / Dundee / Motherwell …



    But it should not the case for us.


    At one time in the recent past we were a buying club.


    Our general finances allowed up to spend more on players than we brought in.


    That should be where we want to be.



    The issue should be the quality of the product on the park.


    If we are selling to survive then we are failing at this big time.


    Paying big wages to underachievers.

  22. C40M @ 2.58



    Our normal business is the staging of football matches.


    That should pay for itself and leave a surplus for investing / growth.



    We should not have to rely on selling players to balance the books.



    Could you give some pointers to where you are getting these ideas from?


    What line of business / experience are you bringing to bear to support this idea?

  23. Regarding the Covid party Rangers are investigating but go on to say they “will make no further comment”.



    Is that OK with the First Minister?

  24. WBC @ 3.22



    CMcG has been wilfully bad at times this season.


    Not trying a leg in some games / worse than that in others.



    He needs dropped or played at LB.

  25. Yet another unionist blog backed up by a lot of nonsense about the FM supporting the huns. Are you lot for real? The most pro union, pro tory football club in the country and the FM is supporting them to the deficit of all others? Really?



    Some on here would be more at home with the paranoid tories on FF than Tims who want an independent Scotland. I eind that very sad.



    By the way Bankier’s statement total garbage, he could have saved a lot of time by stating that a big boy done it and ran away, PS buy season tickets. Disrespectfully yours Ian.

  26. As Bankier has repeatedly demonstrated throughout his near decade long Chairmanship, he has no respect for the Support. He simply views us a source of revenue from which he extracts his £80k plus expenses annual income.

  27. Re Adidas- I was on their website twice in last couple of weeks, one of the very few things sold out,is the black away strip.

  28. This is from The Huddleboard.


    Supporters should take their lead from the club and not rush to any decisions re: Season Ticket renewal. They should, “Evaluate our options in order to make the right decisions at this time” & “state clearly that all decisions [they] take will be taken calmly and rationally”

  29. Madmitch, I worked in the largest airport in the country which was often criticized for their high landing fees, what was not known that not all airlines paid the same as some had “grandfather” rights which carried on after the government got out of the transportation industry, airlines, airports and lake and seaports etc.



    One of the areas that brought in the second highest income was referred to as non-aeronautical money, parking, commercial vehicles etc.. We as a fitba club cannot survive just on entrance fees alone hence the requirement tae sell players and one of our main selling points as a club tae entice good young foreigners tae a mickey moose league is the promise tae sell them on tae a bigger and more attractive set up without linoleum playing fields.



    As I have often mentioned on here we have always been a selling club often tae pay for improvements tae the ground, new stand, floodlights etc, even when in a position of strength, ie SC goal hero Willie Buchan, fortunately we had the likes of Malky MacDonald and John Divers snr in reserve.



    After winning our first double in 40 years as well as the Coronation Cup we sold our second goal scorer in the latter to Leicester, he took with him our and national team trainer Alec Dowdalls, we cannae blame Willie Maley for that like previous transfer deals as he had left the club.

  30. I think Arsenal increased match day revenue by about £1.5 million per game ,when they moved to the Emirates, obviously huge hospitality is part of these new stadiums.

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