Sell your credibility and play to your base


There was good news from Uefa yesterday when we learned that only the first three qualification rounds would be held as a one-off game, the play-off round will be home and away.  There are still chronic hazards, let’s not forget that our incredible domestic ‘Invincibles’ season started with defeat in Gibraltar to Lincoln Red Imps, a similar result next season would see us exit Europe without a parachute to the Europa.

Our current financial situation means it has never been more important that we reach the Champions League, but it is absolutely critical we have European competition of some sort going into the autumn.  We’ll hear more on what Uefa have to say on Financial Fair Play later today.

I don’t quite know where to begin on Hearts and Partick Thistle.  They started proceedings in the Court of Session yesterday, seeking £8m and £2m compensation respectively for being relegated while in a relegation spot when the league was ended.  They also threatened to serve an interdict to stop the Premiership starting on 1 August.

First off, the threat of interdict is nonsense, the evidence required by a court to stop 13 businesses from operating (12 clubs and the SPFL) would be overwhelming and simply does not exist.  Secondly, you need to show where you are damaged before a court would award compensation.  It is easy to make claims about all the money you could make, but it is very difficult to establish that all the successes you hope for would happen.  Hearts £8m figure looks like it has lots of could happen, there is no supporting evidence of what would happen.

Legally, this issue comes down to two matters: did the votes to terminate the Premiership (which Hearts supported) and the lower leagues take place according to the SPFL’s rules, and does the SPFL have the right to decide upon its own rules and procedures?

There was no ‘dossier’, no claim has been made that League rules were not followed and no one, as yet, as claimed the League cannot decide its own rules and procedures.  A similar action, with different promotion/relegation outcomes, failed in the Netherlands, where a court ruled that the League was entitled to decide the rules of its own competition.

So why are Fran and Anna of Hearts and Thistle doing this?  Consider what Newco did in April and May.  As Hearts and Thistle are now doing, they ran an ‘Us against the world’ campaign.  It looked futile, and technically it failed, but nothing sells season tickets like a mad rant.  I have absolutely no doubt Newco have sold more than us right now and that money is keeping the lights on.  In football, politics and elsewhere, when you have nothing else, you sell your credibility and play to your base.  This is how the world operates now: polarise and fill your boots.  Anger rewards imbeciles, you will see it every day.

We got to win the arguments but ‘Everyone thinks we are right’ does not sell season tickets as well as ‘Everyone’s against us’.  Hearts and Thistle need a bit of that love from their fans and I am sure ticket sales at both clubs bounce the more militant they sound.  The scorched earth policy to the rest of Scottish football is a sideshow; this is all about selling season tickets. Frame the question like that and everything mad that’s happened since April makes sense.

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  1. glendalystonsils on

    Whether it’s the Police Federation chief saying it or the Beeb glibly repeating it , the suggestion that Celtic supporters were participating in the rioting is scandalous.

  2. Uncle Jimmy


    The comments were a voiceover re the trouble in George Square.


    I did think the voice sounded as though it was not a professional announcer/radio journalist but, as far as I am aware, there was no mention of who the speaker was.




    Even worse, perhaps, is what it means re the Police Ffederation`s lack of understanding in these matters. The policy would seem to be that ` One side is as bad as the other`when the Huns behave badly but not so when it is only Celtic supporters involved. Sickening.

  4. To clarify, I believe the comments were ridiculous (blue / green, nationalist/ unionist) and did not represent the events in George Sq at all.



    It would appear the spf chair was either badly briefed or simply mischief making.



    Equally, I am no lover of the BBC. However, if they were reporting the remarks of a third party, I doubt they will pay much heed to complaints.



    Clearly, they should hold these comments to account and question the obvious error therein. It would appear they didn’t and simply reported the prepared statement. Poor journalism.

  5. Hot Smoked – you’re almost spot on



    “There is no moral high ground to be claimed. Right or left; green or blue; unionist or nationalist; statue wrecker or statue protector, your side is as guilty as the other.”

  6. TURKEYBHOY @ 11:51 AM,



    Well, that wasn’t really my point. I made a series of comments and the jist was that a PLC is not a good ownership vehicle for Celtic Football Club.



    As GUYFAWKESAFOREVERHERO states, two thirds of our shareholding in the hands of wealthy men, it wasn’t what Fergus envisaged.



    The more specific point relating to “profit taking” in terms of money in the bank relates to the lack of re-investment.



    It is generally assumed that leaving large amounts of Capital in a Bank Account not “working” is a waste of an important company assey.



    I’m sure that wealthy people don’t pay Nick Train hansomely to manage their money to have it sit in someones bank account it may as well be in their own right!?



    So it’s a curious investement.



    Celtic PLC have over £40 million in the bank supporting the share price to give value to the shareholding. A “normal business” which football Clubs are, of course, not, would re-invest the money back into the business to give value or hand in back to shareholders in way of a dividend.



    Now, in a football club re-investing is high risk, you can easily wipe out tens of millions of pounds, damaging the share value.



    Also supporters aren’t going to accept tens of millions of pounds paid out to wealthy men as dividends, then pay thousands into the Club.



    So my conclusion was the money is in the bank to support the large investors. Most small shareholders see Celtic as an emotional investment.



    It is a key function of the PLC to protect and augment their shareholders investment.



    There are many more models and much better ways to structure the ownership of a community club like Celtic for the benefit of the stakeholders. It could give supporters a say in running the club, it could give more impetus to take part in community events, it could mean the ownership are prepared to take the higher risks to get UCL football.



    The PLC model has proved a failure as far as Celtic punching their weight as a football team, a vehcile for developing tomorrows talent and being a modern an innovative club as it was 25 years ago.



    Hail Hail

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