THE importance of participating in Champions League football has been underlined once again in Celtic’s announcement of increased profits in their interim PLC report for the six months to December 2022, as CQN reported last night.

The club are poised for record-breaking revenue figure, beating the previous £101million set in the treble-winning 2017-18 season.

The foundation for such encouraging and praiseworthy figures is, of course, success on the football field and the performance in the transfer market.

Ange Postecoglou’s signings have been fairly sensational without fees going through the roof. The most he has spent so far has been £6.5million to recruit Filipe Jota from Benfica last summer.

Cameron Carter-Vickers cost £6million from Spurs while one of his first buys, Kyogo Furuhashi, was brought in from Yokohoma F Marinos at £4.6million in July 2021. Money well spent all round, we think everyone will agree.

The priority silverware target, of course, remains the Premiership title, won in such spectacular style last season after limping in 25 points off the pace the previous term.

Football in Europe’s elite competition in next season’s campaign is well in sight with the champions currently nine points ahead at the summit.

The League Cup Final, under the guise of the Viaplay Cup, is due at Hampden a fortnight tomorrow while the Scottish Cup continues this evening with the visit of St Mirren in the fifth round.

These are exciting times for all of a Celtic persuasion.

Peter Lawwell, speaking in a club statement, said: “I am honoured to present my first chairman’s statement on behalf of Celtic Football Club. Being back to chair the club that I have always supported and served for almost 18 years as CEO, is a privilege. I look forward to fulfilling the role, and playing my part in our Club going forward.

“The key factors driving the improvement in the underlying trading performance in the six months to 31 December 2022 compared to the same period last year, was the direct qualification to the UEFA Champions League Group stages. This was the key driver in our revenue increase over the same period last year which reflected UEFA Europa League Group stage participation.

“Gains from player trading this year of £1.8m (2021: £25.8m) were notably lower, reflecting our strategy of assembling a new football playing squad under our football manager, Ange Postecoglou. Period end net cash at bank was £59.2m (2021: £25.6m). After adjusting for a net trading balance on prior inbound and outbound transfers, this sum reduces to £50.2m at December 2022 (2021: £39.7m).

“In line with the seasonality inherent in our earnings profile, the second half of the financial year will see losses incurred, as our earnings are biased toward the first half of the financial year. These losses however will be in part mitigated by gains on player trading realised from the January 2023 transfer window along with greater revenue from operating activities than was previously anticipated.

“The bias in earnings towards the first half of the financial year reflects the fact that UEFA distributions and UEFA match ticket income are largely recognised in the first half of the financial year and as in previous years, the second half of the financial year typically sees lower retail sales. Our outturn earnings can also be materially impacted by football success and the year end assessment of player registration carrying values.

“Taking all of this into consideration, we would expect our total outturn profit before tax for the year ending 30 June 2023 to be significantly lower than the result posted for the first six months of the financial year.”

* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Celtic v St Mirren this evening – only in your champion CQN.


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