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. HOT SMOKED on 16TH FEBRUARY 2021 10:21 AM



    That’s the same one.



    Though I remember that his bio on the SNP website was rather coy about that episode in his life. Like it was insignificant and fleeting, rather than the reason for his high profile.



    The point is he was a life long hun who became a nat. And it’s people of that ilk that Sturgeon is trying to woe. Hence the partisan and lopsided approach to Covid breaches.

  2. HOT SMOKED on 16TH FEBRUARY 2021 9:59 AM







    I bag the penalty spot




    I baggsy anywhere but the Jungle bogs.

  3. Hot Smoked, yes the very same Jimmy Reid who along with Tony Wedgewood Benn, Jimmy Airlie, myself and thousand others marched from Blysthswood Square to Glasgow Green to support UCS.


    Jimmy was also a columist in the Daily Hun prior to supporting Labour/SNP in his latter years.


    Great man when we were trying to save jobs on the Clyde.



    Me? Gave up the Clyde and went to the North Sea 1974

  4. What exactly is going on with the sevco house party thing?



    They are getting away with it again aren’t they?



    When I saw itvwas a Saturday morning/Sunday night I thought no big deal. Suspend the players involved, they wouldn’t have been in contact with the rest of the squad so really, much as we would have loved it, beyond that it would go nowhere. But why the delay? Why the silence on it? Damage limitation? Cover up? Something isn’t quite right about it.

  5. Is the SNP thing a strategy or just unacknowledged internal inherent bias, perhaps skewed by advisors of a sevconian nature telling wee nippy what to say about it? My money is on the latter. As a strategy it makes little sense. Take Glasgow and Lanarkshire. I believe the celtic minded population to be significant, perhaps in areas above 50%. Many have moved from Labour to Snp vote wise. Why alienate them?



    I’m not saying the SNP are handling this well but it looks to me more error of judgement than attempt to woo sevconia. That would be imbecilic.



    But I suppose that never stopped politicians in the past – I give you the public self destruction of Scottish Labour and now their friends in England.



    Anything is possible.

  6. PL on his way out, has nothing to lose in putting Celtic’s case forcefully to both the ScotGov and the SFA. But has he got the guts to do it?



    ‘Is the SNP thing a strategy or just unacknowledged internal inherent bias,’







    You’d maybe want to ask yourself how the SNP came to win over so many of the Irish/Catholic part of the Scottish electorate given those unacknowledged inherent biases.



    I’d suggest that it was because of a strategy they adopted.



    Being all things to all people and having more faces than a town hall clock is, and always has been, an essential part of the SNP approach to politics.



    So wooing the hun is entirely in keeping with how they go about things.



    And it’s not like the hun mindset will come as any kind of Kulture shock to someone from Dreghorn in Orange County.




    Hi, loved your book by the way :-)



    Do you see any hope for Labour? I’ve not voted for them since 2017 (well, i would have probably voted for them purely for JC in 2019 if i hadn’t had the chance to get rid of Jo Swinson instead).



    Not a fan of the snp but i would vote for an indy scotland. I can understand the concerns and the feeling that it’s better to stick with the devil you know… but the world has changed. Brexit (and its effects which will last generations) is going to pretty much destroy the uk.



    The British electorate are dumber than the Americans – Trump lost because of covid, Johnson and his cronies do even worse and yet his numbers stay the same. Labour are utterly hopeless and the bright idea to choose a bland, managerial style leader with no values will end up in another election defeat. And the Tories will move even further to the right, they’re already toying with authoritarianism as it is – Thatcher would have been kicked out of the current govt for being too left wing. The one thing labour could do would be to try to form a coalition with all the non-Tory Parties with the promise of PR. But that would require some vision which they don’t have.



    So that’s the choice, be part of a greater England which is in inevitable decline or become independent and rejoin the EU. Either way will lead to hardship, the only difference is in an indy Scotland there is a chance things will eventually improve.

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

    FRANKTERRY on 16TH FEBRUARY 2021 11:05 AM







    I feel about the same. Potential hope for Scotland back in the EU (appreciate it isn’t all sweetness and light – very far from it) but tying ourselves any longer to a Tory-dominated, incompetent England let by private school buffoons is just awful much to contemplate. I have spent far too high a proportion of my life under that remote rule – Heath, Thatcher (damn her to Hell), Major, Cameron, May and now BawBag – as it is.



    Both children (21 and 18) are desperate to split from England – they are both well-educated, independent-thinking (especially Miss BGFC) and (mostly) level-headed – neither are SNP fans but see them as the only available means to an end.



    Both agree – no independence from Westminster rule means emigration for them (us).






  10. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Guy Fawkes / Celtic40me



    Cheers both.



    Completely forgot about Kouassi.



    Indicative either of my poor memory or a recruitment strategy which compels us to taking lots of punts over a fewer (unaffordable) sure(ish) things.



    Hail hail



    Keep The Faith




    Great minds etc :-)

  12. P67


    Is Sturgeon not an Ayr?



    i think Celtic and Aberdeen were unlucky to be first to screw up hence got battered.



    Celtic have been on the front foot trying to get fans back at games; we had the protest outside CP and Dubai after that. She isn’t the forgiving kind and i think we have annoyed her and are on the naughty step.



    Sevco seemed to get a free pass at the last party (which i agree was bizarre) but what she eventually says when the full facts are out is now is key



    i don’t buy the argument that the SNP are courting Sevco voters by being biased to them. Those guys prize UK, Royalty, dominant Religion above all else and vote Labour (incongruously) and Tory to achieve that through the UK set up . They expect to be treated as superiors within Scotland whether there is a Scottish Office or Devolved parliament anyway. Breaking up the union may ironically give them more power but if you already have it; why take he risk?

  13. From July 2019 – it’s amazing what some bloggers and contributors are willing to ignore about the Labour Party –



    A LABOUR politician has been criticised after taking on a top job with the Orange Order.



    Airdrie councillor Ian McNeil is to be the new executive officer of the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland.




    Labour party council leader votes to give Orange Order ‘community’ funding







    Council leader Craig Martin votes to grant Orange Order £1,145 of public funds



    THE LABOUR PARTY LEADER of Falkirk council has pushed through over £1,000 in public grant funding to support the controversial Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland.




    Let’s face it, Labour has historically been as willing as any other political party to appease the Orange lobby. In a party that pretended to want equality they didn’t care if you hated Catholics.

  14. 20% of the TFOD2 support vote Tartan Tory.


    Not-Jacinda wants to move that figure up to 30%.



    In addition she does not want to pick a fight with them.


    She knows what happened to JMcC when he tried to look at the issues.



    No matter that the trendy wendy / GB / young team element of our support are now dyed in the wool Nats — she knows that they won’t go back as they have invested too much to leave so it is a free hit for her to give us a kicking and treat then with kidd gloves.

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

    MADMITCH on 16TH FEBRUARY 2021 11:48 AM



    I won’t do the link – but if you wanted another reason to not entertain The Sun – here is how their headline twisted the focus of the Orange thug attack on Irish political marchers in Glasgow:



    “…Jack McConnell slams ‘cancer’ of sectarianism in Scotland after Glasgow Republican march riots and blames SNP for their approach…”



    – “Glasgow Republican march riots…” indeed!! Those IRA thugs on our streets again!!!!! What conclusion is your average ill-informed punter supposed to draw from that headline?










  16. Cha … @ 11.46



    It might surprise you that a political party could involve a wide strand of outlooks and opinions — join together to move things forward regarding building the New Jerusalem of progressive / Democratic socialist politics.



    Seems a bit old fashioned but it worked most of the time.



    Compare and contrast with the division that the current Nat Crusade is bringing upon us.

  17. BGFC @ 11.19



    Having had similar conversations locally — I think the only solution is to raise the voting age to 25 or 30.



    I would have to ask — given your circumstances — where would they emigrate too?


    if we were to seperate I fear that too many of the teenage Nat Warriors would move to England in later years to build their careers.



    I have absolutely no hope for Scotland on its own given how the SPFL runs football on its own now — old pals act based on knuckle crunching / golf club membership / what school you went to / who would vouch for you.



    You cannot complain about Bojo and his private school background when the St Als alumini have tentacles in too much of our public daily life — we are very little better as a society than south of the border.



    Just a case they are more shameless about how they hide it.

  18. Bhoy From The Boyne on

    Marvin Bartley thinks Celtic’s struggles this season could be down to the differences in managerial styles of Brendan Rodgers and Neil Lennon.



    The Livingston captain played under the Hoops boss when he was in charge at Hibs and describes him as a motivator but “not a manager who greatly believes in tactics”.



    Asked if he anticipates big changes on and off the pitch for Celtic, the Livingston captain told Go Radio: “Well, I thought there would be a change by now so I’m not sure anymore.



    “As Neil Lennon said today, he’s quite confident in his job and is quite happy with the way things are going”.



    “You talked about coaching there and when you do Brendan Rodgers is up there with the best doing it at this moment in time so I think it was very difficult when he left to try and find somebody of the same level.



    “And I think you hit the nail on the head with Neil Lennon.



    “I’ve worked underneath him, fantastic motivator but not a manager who greatly believes in tactics whereas I think Brendan was quite the opposite so I think that some of problems that Celtic are facing at the moment, the players who played under Brendan and the boys who have been brought in after are maybe on two different wavelengths.



    “If you’ve gone from a manager that’s all about where you should be when the ball is here. All about going to full-back positions and all these other things then you have another manager who is like ‘well, you go out there and work out the problems for yourself’ and then he motivates you to do that, I think at times it’s not as seamless as it had been before. That could be part of the problem that Celtic do have.”

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