Newco accounts, a way forward if they take the medicine


It was around 5pm on the evening of 30 July 2003, Celtic were a couple of hours from playing a Champions League qualification game against Lithuanians, Kaunus, when an alert I had setup informed me the accounts for season 2002-03, the Seville season, were released.  I had been tracking our accounts for years and the cumulative losses, accrued since Dermot Desmond replaced Fergus McCann as the largest shareholder, was alarming.  We needed to break even and the Seville season would surely be the time.

Immediately I knew this was not a good sign.  Celtic Park had been packed out all season and the European ties extended into May for the first time in over 30 years.  There was also a massive splurge on retail memorabilia, as shirts, DVDs and Seville programmes were bought in their thousands.  After years of consecutive loss, we could be hopeful of some black ink at the bottom of the accounts.

The ominous timing of the publication was for a reason; income was up but wages rocketed, Celtic were spending 10% more than income.  Putting the information out hours before a Champions League qualifier was an attempt to divert headlines away from a harsh reality: Celtic were underwater.  Again.  We were borrowing to pay wages we could not afford.

So when Newco released their accounts late on Friday evening, you did not need to read them to know what they contained.

Last season was the first Newco competed in group stage European football, meaning this document would be significantly different from all previous Newco accounts.  Income was up substantially at £53m (2018: £32m) but operating expenses also rose, to £58m (2018: £39m).  This resulted in an operating loss before player transfer considerations of £4.4m.  A transfer amortisation charge (don’t start me!) of £7.2m, finance costs and £3m from player sales took the annual loss to £11.2m.

A year earlier Newco predicted they would require £3m additional funding this year, that figure has been revised to £10m.  The board also said a “material uncertainty exists which may cast doubt over the Group’s ability to continue as a going concern”.  Which is disarmingly frank.

By contrast, Celtic went one extra round in the Europa League, but turnover was £83m, a full £35m more than Newco.  Gate receipts were comparable: Celtic £35m, Newco £32m, as were media rights (including Uefa money), Celtic £16m, Newco £11m.  The big gaps came in sponsorship, Celtic £10m, Newco £2.8m, Retail, Celtic £13m, Newco £4m and stadium operations, Celtic £7.6m, Newco 3.5m.

Newco remain, but their own board’s admission, in a perilous position, but there is a workable way forward.  Revenue is within touching distance of operating expenses, shaving £5m in costs would get them there, and a significant portion of that would be taken care of if they stopped futile court actions against Mike Ashley.

They would have no money to buy players without first selling, but every other club in Scotland, bar one, is in the same boat and most manage quite successfully.  Ambitions would need to be tempered; becoming the top team in Scotland could only be achieved through, scouting, coaching and generally good housekeeping.  Of course, no amount of good housekeeping would make them likely to be the top team in Scotland, but they have more money at their disposal than Cluj have ever seen, so such dreams are not impossible.

There are also inordinate risks of running at such a loss.  It is more likely that next season they will fail to reach the Europa League group stage than overcoming Celtic, significantly increasing the burn rate.

My guess is that Dave King will continue to bankroll losses for as long as he can afford.  When he eventually goes, there is a chance a less flamboyant character will take control and deliver that harshest of medicines: living within your means.  They have done remarkably well to market their chances: the brilliant city trader, the exotic Portuguese, the A-list celeb.  There are surely limits to how many times you can resurrect failed aspiration.  They question is, are Newco viable as perennial runners-up?

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  1. Celtic majority shareholder Dermot Desmond admits he misses the city rivalry with Rangers in the Scottish Premier League.



    Rangers are playing in Division Three following a summer financial meltdown, leaving Celtic to dominate the SPL.



    “For us, it’s disappointing that they’re not there,” Desmond told BBC Sport.



    “But that was a decision by the various clubs, a decision by the various leagues and we accept those decisions.”



    Rangers is a fantastic football club



    Dermot Desmond


    Celtic majority shareholder


    The only chance of an Old Firm derby this season will come in knock-out competitions, with the next possibility coming in Thursday’s draw for the quarter-finals of the Scottish Communities League Cup.



    Desmond was talking the day after Celtic ended their long wait for an away win in the group stages of the Champions League with a 3-2 victory over Spartak Moscow.



    And he would have relished the continued domestic competition with Rangers at a time when he believes manager Neil Lennon has created a particularly strong squad.



    “Rangers is a great football club, it has a great history and it’s unfortunate that they have been relegated,” said the Irish businessman.



    “We would certainly like to contest with them every week – we believe we’ve got a better team and a better management structure.



    “Rangers is a fantastic football club, it is one of the greatest football clubs in Great Britain, we’ve got to acknowledge that. But we can only look after ourselves.”



    Desmond is sure that the Ibrox club will eventually return to Scotland’s top flight and believes they are needed there for the size of their support alone.



    However, in the meantime, he believes that Celtic, following a summer of turmoil and division in Scottish football, can help lift the spirits of the nation by their exploits in the Champions League.



    “There’s been some controversial issues, but the performance in the Champions League certainly boosts everybody who takes a pride in Scottish football, pride in the club itself, but also it creates an appetite to support Scottish football in its entirety,” he added.

  2. Not having seen the DD interview, live, in person, I wouldn’t read anything into what the BBC reported about it.


    Was DD accurately quoted?


    Was DD taking the p*ss?


    The words themselves take on an entirely different meaning depending how it is said.



    We all know that the MSM are nothing more than an Ibrox Old Boys club.


    Any quotes from the BBC need to be taken with a large dose of salt or better still, entirely ignored.

  3. Desmond expressed the same opinion as 99% of Dubliners I have met since I arrived there 11 years ago( the 1% being the Celtic supporters). Not an outrageous thing to say if you don’t live in Scotland.



    Title means nothing without Rangers



    Ah, you have to admit, you miss them don’t you



    Micky mouse league



    You need to be in THE premiership



    Etc etc

  4. Good morning CQN from a dark but dry Garngad



    Let’s get Thursday’s game and beat the Murders of Murderwell on Sunday out of the road and the squad can have a break. International break again, so if any of the players are tired or carrying knocks then they can pull out of their respective squads and get a rest…. Will that happen I doubt it, but the option is there.






    D. :)

  5. Good morning, friends, from a damp but drying out, not too cold East KIlbride. Thursday’s resulty is secondary to our own fans’ safety. Hopefully the fact that there are so many travelling over will help.

  6. NALLY81



    Genuinely curious… Other than being complicit, can anybody think of any other reason for the board’s actions re Res12, no matter how weak an argument/excuse?



    1- Celtic know that Sevco are going bust and are happy to let this happen without the blame going Celtic’s way



    2 Celtic worry that if there is no team playing out of Ibrox then Celtic will suffer. None of the other teams will step up to challenge Celtic so the league will become a procession year on year and fans will become bored, sponsors and TV companies will lose interest and ultimately Celtic will suffer.



    Just possible scenarios without any facts to back it up

  7. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on 5th November 2019 6:32 am


    The desire to see Celtic fans attacked, so you can heap blame on other Celtic fans and vindicate your own views, is absolutley ripping out of you. Disgusting

  8. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    YORKBHOY on 5TH NOVEMBER 2019 7:17 AM





    Genuinely curious… Other than being complicit, can anybody think of any other reason for the board’s actions re Res12, no matter how weak an argument/excuse?







    Is it just possible that the Celtic Board have legitimate concerns about the health and welfare of Club players , office bearers , employees and supporters , and fear that cornering the hun and severely damaging and / or


    terminating his team may well antagonise the feral wing of their support thereby provoking more of the same as before ?


    Would that be worth it ?





  9. Shortie is not to be trusted. Brown Brogue Broadcasting.


    Scoddish foo’baw………………a hun retirement and redundancy package where the welcome is always warm and – where the Saturday Special is always “soup” for any FORMER Celt.



    The sleekit devils have the world thinking “wans as bad as the ither”, two sides o’ the same coin……etc etc……….The reality is we are a small minority who’ve had to fight for everything against a huge horrible institution most of Scotland wants to see kept.

  10. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on



    macjay1 for Neil Lennon on 5th November 2019 6:32 am





    The desire to see Celtic fans attacked, so you can heap blame on other Celtic fans and vindicate your own views, is absolutley ripping out of you. Disgusting






    You certainly are.



    Well your puerile opinion certainly is.

  11. Alasdair MacLean on

    Interesting weekend ahead…..




    Saturday 9th November



    Hearts v St Mirren



    Kilmarnock v Hamilton



    Ross County v Aberdeen



    St Johnstone v Hibs



    Sunday 10th November



    Celtic v Motherwell



    Livingston v Sevco

  12. lets all do the huddle ? on

    wonder if the cqn resident nazi is heading over to rome to be the chief spotter for his lazio friends on the look out for celtic fans

  13. I’m not a fan of Macjay but the last couple of posts directed at him were totally out of order.



    Like every Celtic fan I’m a bit worried about the travelling support, Usually a Celtic away trip is like a Fleadh Ceoil with plenty of open air drinking, singing & dancing & generally a great craic. I have a feeling that this will be a bit different. Main thing is stay together. Neds will be looking for a couple of inebriated strays to attack.


    Don’t give them an easy target.

  14. Macjay1 @6:32



    `The Scottish Sun also reports that specialist Police Scotland officers will fly out to assist their Italian colleagues.` I wonder what kind of ASSISTANCE we can expect from the Scottish Police !!



    Also, I agree with Corkcelt`s opening sentence @ 8:57.

  15. South Of Tunis on

    Went to a Lazio bar last night -Vecchi Spalti – to get my tickets..Busy.Shirts and historical striscione on the walls.Got my tickets /had an espresso .Only problem was the volume of the quiz show on the tele – that and the volume of the punters offering their answers to the questions.

  16. YorkBhoy


    I think the answer is almost certainly your no. 2.


    Celtic’s supremos’ bottom line is the bottom line, while the sponsorship and TV deals are already poor in comparison with other like sized countries without an entity from the Crumbledome they would almost disappear entirely. This is because of the disappearance of a league challenge/rivarly it doesn’t have to be real just as long as everyone (media etc.) go along with it then that’s ok, see the last three years (Treble treble) for reference. The reality is our other ‘big’ clubs, Hearts, Hibs and Aberdeen have no real belief or ambition that they can challenge and start every season accordingly. Also the media have no real interest in promoting Scottish football outwith Sevco so we all get sucked into the self fulfilling prophesy that Scottish football isn’t very good. If you’ve ever had the misfortune to watch an EPL game live (not the highly polished highlights version) then you’ll realise a significant proportion of EPL games are dire but again with everyone on board saying on a daily basis that it’s exciting and the ‘best league in the world ‘ it doesn’t matter if the reality is very different.

  17. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    HOT SMOKED on 5TH NOVEMBER 2019 9:27 AM





    Nice of you to say so.



    I agree that any assistance provided by Scottish police may well be half hearted. Not keen on making a generalisation though.


    They protect the Orange Disorder .I believe that the tax payer covers that bill .


    Can we reasonably expect them to protect Tims on the road ?


    Remains to be seen.



    I wonder if the tax payer pays for the Scottish Police trip to Rome.


    Rather doubt it .

  18. McPhail Bhoy



    It was never in Celtic’s business interest or indeed of other clubs to see RFC disappear off the map.



    So logically you would think after RFC brought that fate upon themselves that Celtic and other clubs would do all they could to prevent a repeat like introduce domestic FFP.



    I was writing about FFP in 2010/11, indeed bringing it about as part of SFA reform was a driver for Res12.



    The article that can be found via https://twitter.com/Auldheid/status/1191636064554881024?s=19


    was sent to Celtic at time of publishing where it was noted.



    So why resistance to Res12 subsequently that should have produced the necessary leverage for reform?



    It makes no sense whatsoever to allow Scottish football to be part of what is a massive punt unless of course those allowing it benefit in some way.



    I doubt very much the existing approach to governance would survive external scrutiny, hence the resistance.

  19. I don’t think there is any debate about our starting lineup in Rome



    Forster, Elhamed, Jullien, Ajer, Boli, Brown, McGregor, Elyounoussi, Forrest, Christie, Edouard



    That 11 have established themselves as starters. I would like to see Rogic get some minutes as well.

  20. MacJay1



    Having been subject to intimidation myself I can understand fear of it being a factor in Celtic’s silence.



    However I am a single individual, Celtic are a wealthy organisation whom other clubs depend on as much as they do the blue meanies.



    That gives them power to protect employees by for example stating that any attack on a Celtic employee by TRFC supporters that causes fear or injury will be deemed to be the responsibility of TRFC for which sanctions will apply including sporting ones.



    It might have to be reciprocal of course but by and large it is unlikely Celtic fans would want to intimidate. Jelly and ice cream are hardly weapons of crass destruction are they?



    My overall point is there are answers to the problems, but first as in any recovery programme they have to be admitted.



    Scottish football is sick, it should be a source of entertainment and joy, not anger and hate, but it appears incapable of healing its sick self.



    There is no governance, it’s an illusion that is gradually dissipating and hopefully it takes with it those responsible for maintaining the illusion , to be replaced by men of vision, energy and substance.

  21. My friends in Celtic,



    Every decent person must have shuddered when the Lazio fascists strutted their stuff through Glasgow.


    The Celtic support rightly made their views clear on this unacceptable behaviour.


    Let’s be blunt; many of us lost relatives fighting the evil of fascism. This doctrine is not welcome and we should not apologise for opposing it.


    Uefa are wrong on this matter, the media are wrong on this matter and so are some Celtic supporters.



    We did not inflame the situation, we only opposed and highlighted it.






  22. T29- Bolingoli doubtful, I would start Taylor anyway,and try and be a bit more solid defensively.

  23. I feel a song coming on…



    You say you want the resolution


    Well, you know


    Our board don’t won’t say a word…




  24. HENRIK1967 on 4TH NOVEMBER 2019 6:11 PM









    Just out of interest why have you blocked @DanielOConnel18 🤔







    Not really. Too judgemental, too unforgiving of the human condition, not my kind of Christianity. Not what I’ve read of Christ’s teachings.

  25. !!BADA BING!! on 5TH NOVEMBER 2019 10:32 AM


    T29- Bolingoli doubtful, I would start Taylor anyway,and try and be a bit more solid defensively.






    Taylor has only played 90 minutes with teammates.



    I’d prefer Boli if he’s fit enough but that will be the coaches call. Did he travel?

  26. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    AULDHEID on 5TH NOVEMBER 2019 10:22 AM




    ” That gives them power to protect employees by for example stating that any attack on a Celtic employee by TRFC supporters that causes fear or injury will be deemed to be the responsibility of TRFC for which sanctions will apply including sporting ones.”



    Were sanctions sporting or otherwise applied in relation to the aforementioned three , including Lenny ?


    I don`t recall any.






    Auldheid. You have enough on your plate . And my admiration for fighting the good fight against an injustice both sporting and social which I became aware of from my earliest days.


    As regards the Board , there are unknowns unknown to the general public.


    I refuse to condemn the Board without understanding their motivation in what SEEMS to be dereliction of duty on their part.


    Meanwhile , every best wish for pushing on with what seems to be a thankless task .


    Hail Hail

  27. Read an article from the local press in Leicester as a review of the season so far



    One thing they pointed out is that Brendan Rodgers has obviously changed his mind on Benkovic. He’s not played a minute of first-team football and didn’t even make the bench against League One Burton Albion…



    Some Celtic fans have suggested we should take 10 million & Benkovic for Ajer in January. I wouldn’t be accepting a bid for any starting 11 players mid-season. Especially replacing him with a guy who hasn’t kicked a ball all year.

  28. CELTIC ace Olivier Ntcham has switched nationalities from France to Cameroon after being called up for their Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches against Cape Verde and Rwanda.

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