Why are Hearts proposing to limit the number of away fans to a few hundred, a move which would have consequence for only Celtic and Newco? It will allow them to sell more season tickets, which would bring in more money. It would also tip the competitive balance in their favour – no massed ranks of Celtic fans, just the baying hordes of home fans.
With Newco already employing this tactic to limit the number of Celtic fans who visit, others will inevitably think they can do the same. Why should Newco be the only side to work the system and gain a competitive advantage? We can bump our gums a bit, but that’s all, the rules permit this action.
What Celtic do about the ticket offer is more important. As we did with Newco, we can refuse tickets and offer Hearts none by return. This is unlikely to affect results at Celtic Park, where visiting Hearts fans are of little consequence, but could impact our results at Tynecastle.
If we refuse and Newco accept an offer of a few hundred tickets, they earn a competitive advantage over us. This would not be a smart play. It is also worth noting that making Tynecastle a more difficult place to get a result should be a good thing. The notion that next season will come down to who does best across four Glasgow derby fixtures leaves too much in the balance for me. I would be happy to throw visits to siege-mentality Tynecastle, Pittodrie and Easter Road into the mix.
Look out for news released today that Newco have settled with the promoter of last year’s Sydney Homecoming Tour. Newco claimed TEG had breached their contract, although they did not go into details. TEG raised an action in Sydney against Newco for pulling out of the tournament, after discovering Celtic were being paid significantly more money for the same event.
Like all publicity around commercial deals at Ibrox, white is black and black is white. TEG now get to sell Newco games for the next three summers, compensation, I’m sure, for the Sydney Homecoming Tour.