Commenting on following on from his predecessor Dr John Reid, chairman Ian Bankier, told a Celtic AGM he was not a man to deliver an insightful one-liner but Celtic’s Preliminary Results, released yesterday, are best summarised by the chairman delivering exactly, that, “This year demonstrated above all, the impact that football success brings to Celtic plc in its current shape”.
In short, there is no success, debt reduction, profit increasing, stadium improvement, squad development, retail or PR, without football success, those who suggest otherwise are overlooking the obvious.
These are wonderful financial results, delivered against an uncertain landscape when some, who should have known better, were delivering all kinds of alternative predictions for Celtic’s future, but there are cautionary tales within.
Any single event (in this case Champions League qualification) which can increase turnover by 47.7% is to be welcomed, but this is sport, where qualification cannot be guaranteed, no matter how many resources you commit to getting there. We don’t have to look far to find the unedifying consequences of clubs who bet the tax money on getting to the Promised Land. The challenge for Celtic is to fortify football operations every season without gambling recklessly.
In the year to 30 June 2012, when more season tickets were sold and we reached the Europa League group stage, turnover was £51.34m. This is by no means a worst-case-scenario going forward, but it is a good budget starting point. With operating expenses, including significant bonus and Champions League costs, coming in at £62.71m last season, our potential loss from failure to reach the Champions League is of the same order as our actual profit last year. Any individual bad season would not wreck plans.
Like-for-like merchandising sales were up 29% on the previous year. Celtic put this down to three elements: Champions League participation, improved retail performance, in particular at Glasgow Airport, and 125th Anniversary products.
It is likely that recent changes in the UK sports retail market has had a greater impact in Glasgow than any other UK city. Sports Direct consumed JJB during the period and are now the overwhelmingly dominant sports retailer in the UK. The firm’s owner is also one of the largest shareholders in a new Glasgow football team, who’s merchandising Sports Direct now operate. I’m delighted Sports Direct own other local football brands but Mr Ashley will have discovered that you can’t ride two horses in this town.
In 2011 and 2012, with significant changes in Scottish football up for grabs, we debated the potential impact on our club. Looking back on subsequent events it is clear to see that the arms race we were embroiled in for around a century was not good for Celtic, not good for any other Scottish club and not good for Scotland as a whole. Football today is like a breath of fresh air compared to the way things used to be.
Read ‘em and weep, Armageddon-merchants.
1254125 at The Great Scottish Run.
On Sunday 6 October there is a 10k and Half Marathon. If that is beyond you. There are family events taking place the day before. This is your club, remind the world of what really counts and get involved in 1254125.
Once you’ve done that, you can register for the 1254125 campaign here.
Then you can create a donations page here. Click Start Fundraising, search for Celtic Charity, setup your My Donate account).
Email me and let me know if you are having trouble signing up or need any more help, firstname.lastname@example.org.
To read the new issue of CQN Magazine click here (don’t try to read the graphic below).
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