You would be forgiven for thinking Honest Dave King is a bit preoccupied by the C word. Every time he extrapolates where the club he supports (through an accomplished undermining strategy) is heading, the subject returns to knocking Celtic off their lofted perch.
This task could take £30m-£50, King estimates, a burden he is willing to share with others, although he does not appear to put a figure on his own piece of the action. Ploughing £50m into newco Rangers over the next five years would certainly help, but it would still leave them short of Celtic’s projected income over the period, and in this town, success is a zero sum game.
Top dog gets a crack at Champions League income, which is a bit of a chicken and egg situation. For a Scottish club to get into the Champions League in a responsible manner, they need Champions League income more seasons than not. Alternatively, they can gamble recklessly, build up contractual commitments which stretch out for years into the future, in the hope that they out-perform the other would-be top dog.
We’ve seen this movie before, it is the arms race that David Murray bulldozed Scottish football into. It was calamitous for his club, which was sold for £1 to an insolvency specialist before being liquidated.
It had consequences for Celtic too. Fergus McCann build a stadium and left us almost debt free, but in the intervening 20 years Celtic lost far more than they would have, if they had copied the lavish spend (and tax) policies Murray undertook with Rangers.
Things are different now. We have cash in the bank, a winning team on the field, who have qualified for the Champions League group stages twice in succession, and we’re guaranteed to be seeded to qualify again next season. We also have a secure long-term borrowing facility, so in the event of a reversal in qualification, the club would not be put in jeopardy.
Starting an arms war with this Celtic team would be an act of remarkable courage. Observers will also note that the upper limit of King’s expected requirement, £50m, is just a little less than 10 times what the highest bidder for Rangers assets managed to clean up with, when the supporter’s need was greatest.
There is an alternative football development strategy, it’s called sustainability. Budget to spend no more than what you expect to earn, appoint good coaches and scouts, pay your tax and look the world in the eye.
Engage fans in this sustainability model. Tell them the road to the top will have twists and turns, and will take a while, but they can be sure their club will never be liquidated. This is the only way to run a football club, whether your Celtic, Aberdeen or newco Rangers. It’s not always popular, there will often be calls to speculate a little more, but it will ensure the club survives.
King is a smart guy, so he will know this. He’s even lived through all the pain and drama once before, so the sustainability question will be intimately familiar to him. The question, therefore, is why is he attempting to lead strategy into the Clyde, flute in hand, like some latter-day Pied Piper of Govan?
He seems reluctant to underestimate Celtic but I detect a belief that the hedge funds, not to mention the Easdales, can be shoved around. That is courageous.
Keep up the good work, Dave.
Here we Go for 10 In a Row!
The 10th annual CQN charity golf day is set for Aberdour Golf Club on Friday 4th July. As ever it will be oversubscribed so if you’re interested in attending drop an email to BlantyreKev and Taggsy at cqnopen10IAR@gmx.co.uk as soon as you can.
Cost for the full day’s entertainment including golf is £80. There are a very limited number of non golfer evening places at £45.
Further detail will be released nearer the date and when places confirmed.
Seville – The Celtic Movement:[calameo code=0003901710a55b5798f06 lang=en page=48 hidelinks=1 width=100% height=500]