I see some confusion online regarding the submission of football club accounts. All clubs have to submit annual accounts to Companies House. In addition, Celtic issue interim accounts to shareholders and publish them online. Newco’s annual statement for the year to 30 June 2022 was submitted in December (they made a small loss). They are not obliged to submit interim accounts and commercial sensitivity reasons are good enough to inhibit publication.
Douglas Park stepped down as Newco chairman yesterday, making way for his deputy, John Bennett. Newco have been dependent on shareholder support since their inception. They gave the impression of surviving hand-to-mouth om 2021, a year which saw 11 share allotments – almost but not quite one per payroll run.
A successful run in Europe last year, coupled by Champions League group stage qualification and upwards of £30m earned in transfer fees, reduced the number of times the club had to go to the shareholder well to just twice. Despite that boost in income, 2023 has already seen two share allotments. I expect more to follow – if they can find a shareholder ‘clever’ enough.
Share issues can keep the lights on, but Uefa’s Financial Stability Regulations means there are limits on how much of this money can be used for football purposes. Newco have reached those limits and must now live within their means or forgo European income. Even an actual ‘billionaire’ new investor could not spend money on football operations.
Living within your means is a 19-year-old mantra on CQN. It is neither easy nor popular – there is a reason our board didn’t buy the bling some craved. Football fans are entitled to want their team to improve without being required to learn about finance. In this respect, even fans who should have learned the harshest lesson, seem ‘knowledge resistant’.
To resolve their problems, they need to win the league and automatically reach the Champions League group stage, or again succeed in the qualification rounds – a steep ask. Alternatively, they could sell talent. Park will know what chances the club has of achieving what is required on both these fronts. You may be inclined to see his departure as an indication of confidence. The actual only way out of this is a Celtic collapse far greater than they temporary on-field disasters we experienced in 2020-21. That is the only strategic game in town.