Marlborough, Murray, Ideguchi


A little appreciated determinant of the rise and fatal fall of Rangers under Lawrence Marlborough and then David Murray was the effect of an inflating, then deflating market for player transfers.  Betting on an inflating asset was a guaranteed success and the bigger you bet, the more successful you became.  Celtic eventually tried to copy this strategy, but we were betting with smaller stakes than Rangers, seeing poorer returns and unable to draw level.

Rangers seemed unstoppable.  Celtic’s league win in 1998 was as unlikely as it was remarkable.  Everything went right for Celtic, including the arrival of the Great Swede and an early season postponement, but even then, the win was by the skin of our clenched teeth.

Rangers responded to that loss with the biggest spending splurge in Scottish football history.  Transfermarkt records a figure in excess of €40m, but they don’t have a fee for the new World Cup winner, Lionel Charbonnier, or Rod Wallace.

Their accounts for season 1998-99 were a classic of the genre.  They opened with a copy of the Centenary Certificate, recording 100 years since the club registered with Companies House.  The celebratory tone continued as David Murray discussed their treble win.

Turnover was £36.526m (a record), loss was £24.393m (also a record, but not for long).  That’s despite an amortisation charge for player registrations of only £12m, most of that €40m plus splurge had yet to hit the P&L.  Despite this, the board, the media, the fans, were unanimous in celebrating how clever David Murray was.  Some of us were muttering “Crash and burn” to anyone who would listen.

Within three years of those accounts being signed, ITV Digital, broadcast partner for the Football League, collapsed, causing the market for player transfer to dip.  At that moment, it was all over for Rangers, they hobbled on for another decade, but the writing was on the wall.

Anyway, why am I bothering you with this today?  For a start, it’s always an enjoyable story to tell (with many more chapters), but one thing bothered me during the rise of Rangers.  They were able to sign players that didn’t work out, sell and either get their money back, or make a profit.  Their mistakes, were profitable mistakes.

Also, Yosuke Ideguchi today left Celtic for Vissel Kobe.  Celtic made a small profit on a player who scarcely wore the strip.  He is clearly a better player than he was able to demonstrate in Scotland, who benefited from a successful loan period in a market able to spend money on him.

Keeping the ship financially afloat means constantly working to enhance the value of all your players, including those well out of the picture.  More of this, please.  And no, Companies House will not be sending a letter this year, congratulating Rangers on the 125th anniversary of their registration.  I’m sure you’ll remember, that outfit ended in liquidation in 2012.

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  1. GaryGillespie



    I honestly don’t know why they guy bothers with it.



    I certainly wouldn’t. Even less so for the financial reward he takes for it.



    Ignorant misinformed jealous customers who are easily wound up by those who would see our club fail.



    I find it amazing how selective folk are with their allocation of credit or blame.



    No one blamed Chair Bankier when we lost a semi final to rangers on pens in 2016 or when Ronnie D team failed to qualify ….. they blamed the CEO.



    Now weirdly no one blames the CEO for anything they now blame the chair who is a non exec and spends less than a day a week on club business.



    I do know he is the single biggest bogeyman in rangers supporters minds which is quite a unique double he seems to have achieved.

  2. Turkeybhoy 5.03pm



    We haven’t always agreed on stuff in the past but you were spot on with what you said.



    I would love to see the workable strategy which would deliver more success from the football backwater we have to operate in.

  3. Greenpinata 1pm



    Spot on Re



    Why 45 years later can’t we put a man on the moon ? Maybe my kids will find the answer to that one.

  4. B78- why is The Chairman negotiating with CCV agent?Surely well above his pay grade…….

  5. Celtic40me 7.05



    Agree 100%.



    Personally the hideous mix bitterness and entitlement sweeping around the stadium from the customers cannot make for any kind of long term success.



    As I said I don’t know why Peter Lawwell bothers other than wanting the club to do as best it can and that he has the same dislike of our closest rivals that we have.



    If he left would it make any difference ? Or would there be another blame figure / scapegoat needed ? Etc etc.



    Like many successful periods of dominance they come to an end with in fighting. It seems that, supported and amplified by a compliant media, our customers won’t be happy until they have some figures to hound out after we lose to our rivals.

  6. One transfer so far completed inis window.Timo Werner to Spurs.


    Loan deal for the Huns.


    To the infernal moaners that are popping up everywhere,trying to slag of Celtic for lack of action.,in this window so far.


    We all know how it works in January.Not many class players on the move,those that are,will wait to see the best offer.Even mediocre players will wait.


    The problem is,the guy at Celtic looking at signings is named Lawwell,a guy that Ange was very happy to welcome on Board in the job.Thats their problem,nothing else.

  7. Woman’s team should be self sufficient, simple fact. The youth team has given us lots of players over the years. Our wonder kids leave and the club pocket anything between 250k and 1m for potential. Pays for itself.



    Balance prospects with experienced players better and the results on and off the pitch are likely to be better than overloading the team with kids.



    Folk are dreaming up figures of 60 million for champions league qualification to justify spending big. Its pie in the sky that figure. Dropping into the europa league will also generate stupid money based on new concept so it’s not really a game changed for us or sevco.




  8. CARPE DIEM 63 on 9TH JANUARY 2024 2:40 PM


    Also …our custodians know that if that if we do win it there is a real danger of 2012 all over again and the real possibility of another period of Tim dominance that could actually leave them behind …do you think Lawwell is not considering this ?…at this point of transfer inertia ? 🤔



    Absolute drivel.But,if it makes you happy.

  9. AN DÚN on 9TH JANUARY 2024 2:40 PM


    Thank goodness we have those tens of millions earning interest. We can all look forward to lifting the Balance Sheet Cup come May even if the Huns win this league and the £60 million cash prize that comes with it. Well done to the board. Can we develop Scales into a goal keeper or second striker.



    More absolute nonsense



    Do we ever do succession planning with this wonderful strategy we have that ensures we have the healthiest bank balance. It seems a scatter gun approach to finding gems and then selling them on regardless of position they fill. Will we see, next season a midfield of Calmac, Bernardo and Holm, once we’ve sold Matt and Reo, is that the example we’re hoping for?



    Ask Ange and Brendan.They will answer that question.Ange sold our right back,because he told us that was the sensible model.Brendan has always said we have to do this.


    If players want away,they are allowed.When was the last time we forced a player out for the money.

  11. Chairbhoy,



    Your post earlier decrying the amount of Leagues we won,because there were no Huns in it is absolutely shameful.Often read on the pages of every Hun forum.You come away with this crap,yet would love for the Huns to have been finished in 2012.How does that work.?You have an agenda,and nothing is too low for you to use in your pursuit of it.

  12. Lawwell is non executive Chairman,for one reason only.It keeps his place in the couple European bodies.Celtic have a strong voice in both.He is hardly ever at Celtic Park during the week.The paranoia from fans ,stoked by ,well,I have no idea what to call them,is totally ridiculous.Grown men acting like jilted schoolgirls.FFS,grow up.


    I ain’t a PL lover,keep telling the Jessie’s,on here,I don’t give a monkeys about him,but it sickens me to see these schism appearing in the support.Places and Blogs like this with their petty minded,spiteful,agendas,do more to harm the club I love,than any scum across the river.


    What they get out of it,Fek knows.

  13. Turkeybhoy- The Scottie McClue of CQN, has absolutely no concept of what a blog is for.

  14. Prestonpans bhoys on

    “Genoa are reported to have joined Lecce in trying to take Gus Lagerbielke to Serie A”



    We gave this guy a 5 year contract and looks out the door after 4 months. That is not a good look on our recruitment side 😕

  15. All shades of opinion feed an open mind 🤔….Peter Gabriel …not one of us ….PG 3

  16. Just logged on seen a few Happy Birthdays, Thanks Bhoys, Happy Birthday for Tomorrow Prestonpans,



    As I’m on I’ll just make a point on the Footy.


    Think Gustaf is being loaned out.


    I see no great problem or error there, we have 4 centre halves ahead of him now, he needs football.



    He will be a better player next Season.

  17. Prestonpans bhoys on

    It’s a loan.



    “It was reported yesterday by Sky Sports reporter Gianluca Di Marzio that fellow Serie A side Lecce had approached Celtic about taking the Swedish international on loan.”

  18. Prestonpans bhoys on

    Posted too quick, so I guess the other is a loan too. Just read CORKCELT post, yes bhoy needs games as he’s down the list at CP

  19. Courtesy@Ritchie



    9 years ago today



    Rest in Peace Martin(kano)Kane



    Your name will live on




  20. Lawwell/Lawwell camp trying to rewrite history. Lawwell cost Celtic over £100M in CL revenue with his interference on football matters, The beancounter control freak briefed behind a Celtic managers back to the hun media and delayed offers to get McGinn. Lawwell also lied to shareholders on the 5WA and helped them back as it was in his personal interest. He took £17M from the club as we became nobodies in Europe.



    Now Lawwell/Lawwell need to bring in quality to win this league. Over the last 2 windows they have blown circa £25M on fees and contracts. Only one of the 9 recruited by Lawwell/Lawwell has been a regular and he is a poor player compered to Jota.



    So let’s see how how they do in this transfer window. We will judge Lawwell/Lawwell and if they don’t deliver the fans will force the parasites out. The biggest risk to winning the league is the gruesome twosome. 90% of the fanbase feel this way —- time for them to go.



    ps if DD took all the decisions and they are yes men why don’t they walk—— money money money. Beancounter extraordinaire.

  21. bigrailroadblues on

    So we haven’t signed anyone?🤔 Big deal, so what, grow up. We have enough to destroy the hun. Played twice with most of our team missing. Points 6 goals for 3 goals against 1.



  22. It’s shaping up to be another Lawwell transfer window.


    I’m sure he is working very hard behind the scenes.


    Trying to sell Matt O’Riley.


    This is such an important season. We win the league and we earn in the region of £50m. Lose the league and sevco get the big cheque.


    The summer window, given the money we had, was a disaster. We cannot afford another disaster.


    Two disasters in a row would be disastrous.


    Please Mr.Lawwell please go.




    You said “So let’s see how how they do in this transfer window. We will judge Lawwell/Lawwell and if they don’t deliver the fans will force the parasites out. The biggest risk to winning the league is the gruesome twosome. 90% of the fanbase feel this way —- time for them to go.”



    Others say “There are two kinds of statistics, the kind you look up and the kind you make up.”

  24. Oh we have another wee debate on the merits of Peter Lawwell suggesting we need him for his role on the European committees and guess whose back on, aye William Frederick Cody.



    Cody was active in the concordant bodies of the fraternal organization of Freemasonry having been initiated in Platte Valley Lodge No. 32, in North Platte, Nebraska, on March 5, 1870. He received his second and third degrees on April 2, 1870, and January 10, 1871, respectively. He became a Knight Templar in 1889 and received his 32nd degree in the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry in 1894.

  25. garygillespieshamstring on

    Thanks for the replies from earlier on guys.



    Got dragged out on a shopping expedition so missed them earlier.



    I don’t subscribe to the sabotage theories but believe people st the club are working to keep us winning trophies.


    However we can’t win every trophy far less every game.



    I was appalled at the reactions in the ground to the draw against st Johnstone and the hearts defeat.

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