State of the Club Report, summer 2015


Celtic are about to embark on their fourth season as the last remaining Superpower in Scottish football. The old wars were won, while current challenges on the domestic front are accomplished with ease, but many questions remain about the club’s place in the world, what it’s objectives should be and how best to deliver them.

My expectation is that Celtic’s annual accounts, which will be released next month, will show they club washed its face, largely aided by the sale of Fraser Forster, but turnover is likely to be around 35% below the peak figure from season 2012-13, where we progressed to the knock-out stages of the Champions League, selling tickets and merchandise by the ton.

Season ticket sales are down around 10,000 from their peak a decade ago, reflecting the lack of domestic competition, an overhang of the economic climate, and – I expect – a tail off from what was an unsustainable high during the years of regrowth after the long, dark, 90s. The good news is the distress rate appears to have bottomed out. New blood has replaced old in many parts of the stands, as many learn to appreciate The Game for its sporting merit, not simply a means to three points.

We had a terrible start to the Ronny Deila era. We huffed and puffed in Iceland, were torn apart in Poland, but the performance against Legia at Murrayfield was nothing short of a capitulation. From the opening minute of the game we were worse, much worse, than we were in Warsaw.

Results and performances remained disappointing for months as Aberdeen regularly led the league into the new year, but signs of recovery appeared in the Europa League, where we qualified for the knock out stages and put on two credible performances against Inter.

Last autumn Ronny was under pressure. In another era, this could have been overbearing pressure. The change in managers brought a change in tactics, training and personal objectives, which disoriented the club. It also meant that we didn’t have a recruitment strategy in place for the new requirements.

There are many long term strategic threats, but if Celtic ever lose a league again, it’s likely to be when they embark on such an overwhelming technical change. If we do this again, we need to anticipate the shock and compensate accordingly.

Sporting objectives remain clear: win the league every season “forever and ever” and qualify for the Champions League group stages. Having given this some thought, I cannot see the scenario when we will lose the Scottish league title.

A horizon exists in Scottish football, no one can see beyond 10-in-a-row. This season WILL be five-in-a-row, most bookies are offering 1/33, a 3% return on your money, on this outcome. After that the countdown to 10 will grow louder, but 10 is not a real horizon, it just exists because Jock Stein’s ways were eventually copied. He had no mystical touch, only good strategy.

Rangers should never had stopped at 9. The money they had gave them an enormous advantage. Wim Jansen arrived from nowhere (Japan) with half a team signed by Jock Brown. It defied logic how we won that title, but it’s also clear than many at Ibrox had put their tools away before the start of that season. There is a warning here for Celtic. The latter parts of the Martin O’Neill, Gordon Strachan and Neil Lennon eras were all characterised by less innovative signings. More scouting trips to Edinburgh, fewer to Cracow, and the like. When the players, manager or scouts get weary, teams fail.

Achieving Champions League group stage qualification is the most difficult challenge Celtic face. We are clearly a better team than Qarabag, and have considerably more resources, but much of Wednesday night was spent worrying if the goal would come, and about what we would face in Baku. Even if we’re successful, strong unseeded teams will await in our section of the next round draw.

We are more than good enough to win league after league, but we’re not more than good enough to qualify for Champions League after Champions League. This should be Celtic’s objective for the next year – arrive in next summers’ qualifiers with a much better team.

The success of this will depend on Ronny’s ability to turn potential into actual European class players. He can do this, but he’ll need a tail wind. In particular, we have to hope that an earlier, ‘recruit from Edinburgh’ strategy, has not been redeployed in the form of a ‘recruit from Dundee’ one.

There are objective measurements we can point to. We are sound financially, pay our bills when due, have seen off all domestic competitors, will report more than 40,000 season ticket holders, a buoyant retail business and strong commercial partnerships. The stadium looks incredible, whoever conceived of the Celtic Way deserves some credit – but please – finish the job.

Copy what we saw at Murrayfield, put turnstiles at the perimeter of the footprint, build fan zones, build a café outside the ground. 30 years from now people will not sit in stadiums like Celtic Park, they will have better facilities, start planning for them now.

As anyone will tell you, football is a results business, and results over the next four weeks will have an enormous bearing on what state we feel the club is in. Defeat will not mean we are on the wrong path any more than victories mean we are on the right path, but it’s the game we play, so ‘play on’.

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  1. Careful With That Tax, Moonbeams on

    I reckon the sheep will run us close again this season ..



    If, we’re in the UEFA CL group stages ..



    Fingers crossed








    Double up for you,I’m in the bookies-any tips from a master?


    This is why I love CQN.




    Beautifully expressed by a wonderful fella whom I only met through the site.







    LEFTCLICKTIC on 31ST JULY 2015 10:12 AM


    after my 1st post was lost in the new ether :)))


    Just sitting here thinking about the pleasure I had meeting many CQNrs at the game on Wed, people I have met that are firm friends now that I would probably have passed in the Street with an “aww right” and a friendly nod after seeing their colours.


    People like our two new Polish recruits whom I met through Delaneys Dunkey.


    People whom I now watch ,discuss and whisper it criticise with :))).


    People whose kids and grandkids now meet you with a smile ,


    People I now share text & emails with ,


    People whom if they can ensure I make my journey to & fro the game easier.


    People who ensure I get to games I may not have made,


    People I have met a gatherings


    ,like CQN nights and Hootenanny days (I usually slope before the real fun begins) :)),


    People I have met at bucket collections and more people I will catch up with at the Kano bucket collection tomorrow, People whose effort to see The Celtic Leave me in AWE(a special mention to Dena and her princess) and all those whom have to travell many miles to see the Hoops,


    People I will meet for the 1st time tomorrow after Interacting with on here about many things.




    More than a football blog


    where people become friends for life .


    Off ooooot to try and change the wee mhans 1st school blazer that he has stretched out of in the past few weeks :)))))))))))


    Till later all and thank you for being here especially the roasters they know who they are



    – See more at: http://www.celticquicknews.co.uk/welcome-to-the-new-look-celtic-quick-news/comment-page-15/#comments

  4. embramike says "the Huns are Deid" on

    The stadium looks incredible, whoever conceived of the Celtic Way deserves some credit – but please – finish the job. Copy what we saw at Murrayfield, put turnstiles at the perimeter of the footprint, build fan zones, build a café outside the ground. 30 years from now people will not sit in stadiums like Celtic Park, they will have better facilities, start planning for them now.




    Couldn’t agree more, Paul. That’s what impressed me most about Murrayfield – the ability to mingle, have a seat, grab a snack and have access to toilet facilities after entry and before taking your seat. Definitely the way forward. If the Celtic triangle was fenced off, I’m sure this could be accommodated easily.

  5. Next Wednesday is a massive – almost season defining – match. And it comes at the beginning of August. The idea of starting steady and building up doesn’t apply to us these days, Our biggest challenges come early.



    BTW, is the new blog a good point to confine the podium chasing nonsense to the past?

  6. Yer right Paul67, we need to get the Golden Nuggets from outwith Scotland, if we are going to make it beyond the last 16 of the CL.



    Unfortunately, they are less likely to stay at the club than the 2 excellent additions from Tayside. If Nadir becomes Box Office, it is more likely he would move on than GMS or GA. I dinnae have a Scooby how we fix this?



    Oh Wait, yes, Bring our own through the ranks, hopefully it will happen soon.

  7. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Interesting analysis,Paul. Moonbeam-free, but with some optimism. Is your glass 2/3 full? :-)


    Well done with the new-look site.

  8. blantyretim is praying for the Knox family on

    Having had a wee walk around the merchant City market yesterday wouldn’t it be great if we could get the food stalls like them at Celtic park


    Every taste catered for





    Hope to catch up again tomorrow

  9. The heart sinks a bit to read “30 years from now people will not sit in stadiums like Celtic Park….”. Difficult to get the image of Cambuslang out of my head.

  10. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on 31st July 2015 12:15 pm



    Oz lead 100.





    This is bubbling up to be a cracker of a Test series.



    I’ve always wanted England to win @ the Cricket but the Strength of the Aussie will should never be underestimated, this specific game isnae over yet.





    Spacing out the paragraphs now needs some work.








    Bit of a nuisance,mind.

  12. If Celtic managed to sell over 40,000 season tickets that is a great result for the club.



    But it surprises me, and to a extent represents a watershed for the Celtic support.



    The club have treated it’s supporters disgracefully over the last decade. They have banned innocent Celtic supporters, stood by while we were criminalised, passed out details to the police and lied about it. Lied about safety issues in the stadium and banned the GB.



    Perhaps more daring is their desperate attempts to save Rangers, probably in line with Paul’s view of the desire for competition.



    We have also begun to once again accept the so called honest mistakes.



    For those who believe Celtic are more than a club I guess we are coming to a parting of the ways.



    Paul claims that the fresh blood that take up season tickets are somehow morally superior to the old guard by claiming that these new supporters are somehow here just to watch football. He of course implies that those who gave up season tickets where chasing after Hun games (and deeper implies that they are bigots).



    Of course I could equally say the opposite is true and claim that the new season book holders anticipated a return of the Hun and looked forward to the return of bigotry. The truth will of course be varied but this doesn’t suit the cqn agenda.



    Celtic have clearly thrown their hat into the ring of wanting bigotry back. Part of the 5 way agreement discussions, PL and DD clearly love the old firm. Many supporters, having seen this for what it is, can’t associate itself with the club whilst those in charge are there.



    Sadly. Not enough supporters have realised the betrayal that went on. I think, as time goes on, this will greatly diminish Celtic. Once the Hun returns our journey to the back of the bus will be complete.



    And from a purely footballing perspective,,the truth is, for a club with celtics resources, we are massively underperforming. Smokescreen a about the Scottish league are produced but if you simply look at the turnover of the club we should be far more successful in a European sense. The reason we aren’t performing is because we don’t build teams, we asset manage. We play money all.



    Celtic more than just a club? Nah. We aren’t even a club anymore.

  13. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    PETEC on 31ST JULY 2015 12:29 PM



    Good onya,pal.


    117 lead.


    England look to have this test lined up,but,as you say,you never can tell.


    Such a laugh to hear the English crowd singing.


    Fun contest.

  14. hi paul


    You are no doubt correct in your theories about the reduction in the season ticket base however I feel there are two glaring omissions in my opinion, the first is a terrible television deal with kick offs being changed for a pittance of a payment and the second the governance of the game here where the game has not dealt with the liquidation of Rangers in a clear and concise way,the continual peddling of the fraud that the history has been bought is too much for many.

  15. NegAnon2 on 31st July 2015 12:35 pm



    I wish guys would stop using turnover as a benchmark it’s meaningless. By all means state that a team with our footballing budget should perform better but it’s futile comparing teams by turnover. It tells you nothing about their true spending power.

  16. If Stokes, as it appears, is to be sold and clearly Ronnie doesn’t rate Scepovic, we need two new strikers as Ciftci for me is worse than Stokes, nearly as big a project as Balde.

  17. What is the Stars on

    Good Afternoon



    Update n Galway Races



    The Plan Man is fancied in the first but I like Tandem myself (might back both each way as Dermot Weld should have a good day)


    Clondaw Warrior strongy fancied in the 6.50 (11/2 with Paddy Powers paying 4 places,great each way bet)


    Van Schaik and Pictogram in the 725 (take your pick I cant make up my mind)


    Weld should win with Palmetto Dunes in the 545 and Good Tradition in the last


    Also word for Hawesbury 3.30 Thirks and SkyCape 8.05 Newmarket



    Clondaw Warrior my main bet

  18. A poster mention the app PUFFIN for a faster iPad experience and although I’ve got ads running (and driving me mad), at least I can access CQN. Problem seems to be with Safari.



    Hope WITS still has time to post those promised tips for Galway – holding breath meantime.




  19. Mountblow tim on

    Delaneys Dunky on 31st July 2015 11:14 am Mountblow Tim We had a great time in your company on Wednesday before the match. Maybe catch you tomorrow.



    DD sorry I put Post-Match instead of Pre-Match




  20. blantyretim is praying for the Knox family on

    Dundee Utd 12/5 at home on Sunday against Aberdeen (hills)


    Not a bad price at start of the season

  21. tenerifetim10 on

    With reference to Cafe style on Celtic Way , I’m not sure our weather would be condusive to that!


    We do have access with a season book or match ticket to the Kerrydale Lounge with food and drink available on most match days with the exception of CL nights ( for hangers-on IMO) , just a shame we can’t get into what is supported most of season !


    The ground is looking fantastic and hopefully ,as you suggest , will continue to grow along with the Team’s performances !

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