I know many of us are annoyed that a Celtic player, who didn’t appeal for a foul, is not being charged for inappropriately looking for one, is headline news today. This is all a consequence of Sky Sports pundit Neil McCann’s insistence that John Guidetti cheated, while he simultaneously acknowledged Guidetti didn’t actually claim for a penalty.
TV analysis can enrich viewers’ appreciation of the game, but it has to carry a degree of responsibility too.
Those of us from Scotland will be familiar with the summertime noise of a scramble – pennies dropping all around you. It’s a wedding-day tradition, when the father of the bride throws coins into the street for kids to collect as he and the bride leave for the ceremony.
Today’s story in the Record, lifted from a fans’ group, that newco Rangers receive approximately 75p for every £10 spent with Rangers Retail, the joint-venture between the football club and Mike Ashley, must have had pennies dropping everywhere.
These figures are for last season, so predate whatever new arrangement Ashley was able to negotiate for the return of stadium naming rights. We’ve covered this point before, but it’s worth reiterating:
Football clubs are in fact a series of business units. Few make a profit over any business cycle but there are profitable business units inside every club, including retail, trackside advertising, media rights and kit deals.
Football operations almost always lose money. The considerable cost of operating a stadium, recruiting and employing footballers (and occasionally a manager on an onerous contract) isn’t met by ticket sales, even at community football level.
The club accounts detail how much financial control Ashley has over newco’s profitable revenue streams, from retail, to kit supply to trackside advertising. The true consequences of forming the with investors looking for a financial return, as newco did in 2012, should now be apparent.
If the club has a future it will have to survive pretty much on ticket sales alone. As we’ve covered before, when you need to pay circa £17m p.a. to open the doors at a club which will occasionally house 50,000 spectators, and your gate receipts and hospitality sales totalled £12.3m last season, you have a chronic problem.
Even if ticket sales doubled in value, there would still leave only around £7m to pay for football operations, a figure the likes of Kilmarnock can survive on, but you have to wonder if a ‘Rangers’ brand is viable at that level?
Does this sound like a viable football club to you? If so, let’s see how it looks after Ashley has his pound of flesh for financing the second half of the season. No wonder fans are so keen to stop him.
I see newco have appointed WH Ireland as their nominated advisers, a name you may be familiar with. Back in May 2012, Kitalba, with an astonishing degree of understatement (“It couldn’t be clearer”), noted here in the comments section the breadcrumb trail between Craig Whyte, a whole series of his companies and associates, and the aforementioned WH Ireland. It’s worth a 15 minute read.
It’s the big Glasgow derby tomorrow and Celtic sponsor Magners have offered us two premium seats in the Jock Stein Stand. All you need to do to win the seats is to email me the name of our opponents, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Competition closes at 22:00 tonight, so check your email thereafter. Tickets can be collected from the ticket office before the game.
Planning is underway for Mary’s Meals to build a kitchen Chibwata Primary School, Dowa, Malawi, which we in the CQN community have committed to paying for. We have already built three school kitchens in Malawi this year, so I am sure we will complete this one sometime over the coming months.
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