State of the Club report, summer 2023


My friends in Celtic, tomorrow we raise the league championship flag, both domestic cups are in the Celtic Park boardroom and within six weeks, we will compete in the Champions League group stage.

This summer, so far, has seen the departure of one automatic first choice player and one occasional starter.  Five players arrived, while we extended the contracts of Callum McGregor, Kyogo and Daizen Maeda.  The most disruptive event of the year was the departure of manager Ange Postecoglou; replaced by the prodigal Brendan Rodgers.

We need to talk about the dirty little subject.  I usually have a good handle on what net cash figure to expect from the Celtic accounts.  They trend and vary based on previous cup runs and European progress.  Right now, it is difficult to know for sure.  Last term, Champions League income returned for the first time in five years, we ‘sold’ a manager and post-yearend sold Jota for £25m, although payments may be staggered and there will be a distribution to Benfica.

What we know for sure is that if you see a red haired man standing at an ATM, say “Hi, Michael”, as there is a good chance it will be Michael Nicholson, unable to suppress the urge to put his Celtic card into a cash machine every time he passes one, just to stare at the balance!

At the end of June 2022 we had just shy of £32m in the bank, up on the £26m when the interims were concluded six months earlier.  Our interims at 31 December 2022 showed a staggering net cash position of £59m, £33m up on a year earlier.

More than half of the net proceeds from Jota’s sale have gone out the door already to pay for the acquisition of five new players, but our position (after post-yearend transfer business) will be more than £40m better than it was last year, which itself was a healthy position.

What to do with that money?  The nouveau riche notoriously waste money, but it’s Michael, not Viv Nicholson, in charge at Celtic, so don’t expect us to spend, spend, spend on short-term hits.  We have continued to invest in strategy: buy players who can either immediately earn a spot in the first team, or who have the potential to get there.  More of the first team will earn improved contracts, hopefully allowing the manager a settled core to build on.

But we are not here for the money, we are here for the football, and on that front, there is a lot of work to do.  The champions of Scotland are on the cusp of being Champions League regulars.  To make that a reality, Celtic need to improve the rate they earn Uefa coefficient points.  Another season with only two draws among the defeats is not going to cut it, nor can we expect Newco to reach the latter stages of the Europa League so regularly.

This is the last season with Champions League groups as they currently are.  From next season, teams who qualify for the competition proper will play eight games, not six.  That raises TV appearances and all match related income by 33% over current group stage income, with a subsequent play-off tie up for grabs before the knockout rounds start.  It is a game changer for the new season’s Scottish champions, even at Celtic’s current income level.

As ever, everything comes down to who will win the most important league title in Europe – I am not exaggerating.  Nowhere can the title be so transformational, nowhere is interest in the game greater.  The Scottish population watch league football more than any other country by some margin.  It is not the most skilful, it just matters more than anywhere else – neither you nor I need attendance stats to know this is true, it’s why we spend so much time hoping, dreaming and reading stuff like this.  Massive clubs in England lose the league and their fans shrug, no one shugs in this town.

Newco lost several first team players without compensation, they took what resources they have, and assembled a squad who are at their peak.  None of them is likely to appreciate in value.  Instead of copying the Celtic strategy, they are living for today.  Sign experienced, physically stronger journeymen, and see if they can out-muscle Celtic’s shorter, younger players, with more potential.

Credit where it’s due, this is a coherent strategy.  It may even help them earn coefficient points in the Europa League, if that’s where they end up.  Lose the league, and they are right royally screwed, but that’s a worry for next year.  For now, it’s all about that most important league title in Europe.

Before a ball is kicked, no one would swap the Celtic squad for the Newco squad.  On paper, we win again.  But anyone who tells you Celtic winning the league this season is a certainty is unfamiliar with the vagaries of the game.  Should Newco qualify for the Champions League, their ‘live for today’ strategy will surely see them invoke the memory of the aforementioned Liv.

I expect a real challenge.  We lost managerial continuity, we have a new tactical plan, and I remain fearful that we will be bullied (euphemism) in the middle of the park in games that matter.

Our board’s mantra for many years was “We make decisions on what is best for Celtic without reference to what happens elsewhere.”  This worked across an era when Rangers went into liquidation, for the want of banking Champions League income to cover the possibility of an adverse court verdict.  We did not follow the lemming over the cliff, but in those difficult years, the pages of CQN were full of advocates to be as ‘ambitious’ as David Murray.  We lost several league titles doing the right thing, it was a bitter time best not relived.

I trust the manager, the scouts and the treble-winning players, but our chances of us winning the league this season is no more than 67%.  Celtic is our gift;  enjoy tomorrow, enjoy the season and let’ s hope for an era defining title win.

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  1. In eastern time and two podiums in a week.



    I’m undermining Aipple’s strategic advantage.

  2. So the richest team in Scotland just got even richer. The also-rans have thrown everything on red again with a team assembled to bully the league and win penalties with impunity, at a scandalous rate.



    Share your concerns on midfield Paul67.






    Buy some bloody quality in there that moves us up from your 67% figure then!



    This summer, has a feel of a poker match and the huns have shown their hand.



    What you got Celtic ?



    A suit of four Aces would be just dandy, wouldn’t it :)



    Make it happen Celtic…




  3. So I take it from P67s header that the whole sell bigger (Jota money) buy bigger that he was extolling last season was all smoke and mirrors.


    It’s pitiful.


    We have, as P67 admits, champions league matches in 6 weeks while the first 11 is weaker, where we only gained 2 points from a favourable group last season.


    On Mooy, P67 is being disingenuous.


    He was the main man in midfield from after the world cup till he got injured.


    The McGregor/ Hatate/O’Riley midfield had run its course and the addition of Mooy was huge.


    Jota, for me, was our best player.


    For a club in our financial position it isn’t good enough.

  4. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    “Our board’s mantra for many years was “We make decisions on what is best for Celtic without reference to what happens elsewhere.” ”




    Well it might have been the mantra…….




    “the pages of CQN were full of advocates to be as ‘ambitious’ as David Murray”




    Been on here a long time and I can’t say I remember that but there you go.




    “and I remain fearful that we will be bullied (euphemism) in the middle of the park in games that matter”




    All games matter, Paul. Three points for a win every week of the season.

  5. Excellent State of the Club report Paul67,



    A very interesting season, precursing a European Football changing era.



    Getting it right the most important league title in Europe is imperative.



    Luckily, we have the people, processes and resources to make that happen.



    Hoopy 2023/24 season…



    Hail Hail

  6. LAMBERT14 @ 12:20 PM,



    We have sold 40mn+ of football players this year so far.



    We have spent way less than half of that so far.



    We can spend a great deal more without even touching MN’s current account.



    As P67 states, this is a crucial season, the most important since the Stein era.



    It would be madness not to properly invest in the first team this season.



    Hail Hail

  7. how many games last season did Celtic get bullied ?



    who bullied who ?



    Results versus the big bulked up rangers thing



    4-0 celtic park (abada x 2, jota, turnbull not exactly giants)


    2-2 ibrox (maeda then kyogo, we came from behind to equalise, our smallest fella on the park)


    2-1 hampden (kyogo, kyogo)


    3-2 celtic park (kyogo, kyogo, jota)


    1-0 hampden (jota with the head an awe, and our solid defense got us over the line).



    -0-3 when the league champions lost, in a dead rubber game.



    why the fear of big players and refereees and var ?



    we won the lleague by 7 points at the end, but won it with still 4 games to play, we scored 114 goals.






    we lost 1 first team player, sure a hun skelper and a bit of a football genius, but he wanted to go.



    get behind the team.



    5-0 tomorrow,



    happy flag day try enjoying it,



    and ps, still 4 weeks in the transfer window to go, and 6 weeks till we enter the big arena.



    thems have it all to do before they even play us,



    stopp frettin try supportin



    Aaron Mooy very nearly a legend since he retired




    If you couldn’t see that Mooy was our best midfield player from January till he got injured then football isn’t for you mate.

  9. Sorry but I can NOT do the musical link to any songs, maybe some kind soul will help me out ?



    A Beautiful CUBAN Song that was written in 1925 ( I think ?)






    The lyrics are…



    ” I’m an honest man


    From where the palm trees grow


    And before I die, I want


    To share the verses in my soul


    Guantanamera, guajira guantanamera



    My verse is light green


    My verse is fiery crimson


    My verse is a wounded doe


    Looking for shelter in the mountains


    Guantanamera, guajira guantanamera



    I cultivate a white rose


    In July as in January


    For a true friend


    Who gives me his honest hand


    Guantanamera, guajira guantanamera



    And for the cruel one who breaks


    My beating heart


    I cultivate neither thistles nor nettles


    I cultivate a white rose


    Guantanamera, guajira guantanamera



    With the poor people of the earth


    I cast my lot


    Mountain streams


    Please me more than the sea


    Guantanamera, guajira guantanamera etc, etc. ”



    Its amazing to think that this old Song Tune is STILL sung at Celtic games ( With DIFFERENT Words of course )





    ” NO huns at Hampden and/or NO Huns in Europe ” by the Celtic support.





  10. Great article Pau67, fine way to kick off the new season.



    I don’t believe our first 11 is weaker than last year. We lost 1 starter and the ‘legend’ Aaron Mooy who had a season last year that seems to have got better and better since he retired. We have brought in 5 experienced players, all of who I think were scouted over a period of time. All of who will figure in the team at points during the season. Hopefully we’ll see some of the fringe players leave over the next couple weeks and another couple of starters come in.



    Brendan will improve the players we have. Ange improved the system we played and many players thrived on it. It’s time to kick on – all the tools are there and we have one of the best managers in the world at the helm, supported by a very capable back-up team. All is good – really looking forward to tomorrow.



    For now, I’ve cleaned up the bike and am heading out to put a few miles on the clock before the Sun does it’s thing.

  11. see that FIFA WORLD CUP gaming thing, that all the weans play rather than real football,



    my nephew skelpd me 12-0 on it and said



    “Virtual fitb’s naw for you stivs”

  12. Looking at some of the comments on here, it’s going to take one or two performances in Europe in order for them to take the blinkers off

  13. Aipple – cheers – on a plane to Houston now, so I’ll take my place in the also rans again, next week.



    Looking forward to tomorrow’s match – it’s on CBS sports so I should be able to watch it from when I wake (0630 CST may be a challenge).

  14. bournesouprecipe on

    Looking forward to the game tomorrow, if you’d said we’d sign six players and have a new old ‘world class’ manager walking home from the treble final we’d have questioned your sanity. All a month before the transfer window closes in the new Brendan era, and before a competitive kick of a ball.



    Expect some fringe players Oh, Turnbull and Bernabei to push on for the start of the season, who’d have thunk we’ve even allegedly got suitors for our ‘ bombscare ‘ Carl Starfelt. Whoever we’d let go they’d be our best player – according somebody.



    Abada super fit Maeda and Matt O’Riley look up for it, big season ahead for Haksabanovic and would like to see Tony Ralston take over at right back, as a natural full back.



    Forecast Celtic 4-0

  15. Within knowing who will be in our group for the champions league, and no matter what pot we end up in, I am going to predict we will be lucky to get 2 points again.



    The gap between us and the big 5 leagues represented is beyond us now, even if we spend our £60m on 2 CL experienced top level players.



    Competing in europe is just an impossible dream.



    Being there, taking the monies for participation, and winning a few times is as good as we can hope for .



    Like Moron in the Scottish cup, that is us in the Champions League.

  16. kevinlasvegas on

    Excited for tomorrow.



    Everyone still feart of sevco.



    Treble winning squad or patched up freebies.








    Looking forward to the game tomorrow, if you’d said we’d sign six players and have a new old ‘world class’ manager walking home from the treble final we’d have questioned your sanity. All a month before the transfer window closes in the new Brendan era, and before a competitive kick of a ball.




    Yes 6 players, and I have high hopes for Nawrocki.


    Kwon has been our holding player addition.


    Do you think he will be the answer in midfield champions league this season? Seriously?


    Holm looked promising on his performance v Bilbao.


    He, I imagine will be given games here and there for his first season.


    Neither of these players will be relied on for champions league.


    We need quality now for midfield to be ready for it,


    Danilo I regard as a project player.


    Yang the same.



    You are bigging up Bernabei, what position do you see him in?


    Who is the other new player we have bought?

  18. SAINT STIVS on 4TH AUGUST 2023 12:50 PM


    how many games last season did Celtic get bullied ?



    I don’t get that narrative either. We were outnumbered in every derby in midfield last season but beaten only in one where we played a load of reserves



    Their replacement for Fatty is 5’ 9”



    Their new midfielder, Cifuentes, who will take the place of either Lundstram or Jack is 5’ 9”



    Their midfield is likely to be Raskin, Cifuentes, Lundstram and Cantwell. The fans don’t want Lundstram in the team so it might be Jack



    They’re going for mobility over strength, we’ll beat them by playing quick technical passing football not going toe-to-toe



    I would like to see Brendan trying Oh and Kyogo together. A decent option when you’re faced with a high press, Oh looks good enough and strong enough to take the ball with his back to goal

  19. CELTIC40ME on 4TH AUGUST 2023 1:48 PM



    aye all of that.



    and if the new panel of VAR dedicateed specialists could actully ome to the correct decision I live in hope of some penalys being given against thems, and less given for thems.



    We are 1 season into it now, surely at some point they get it right.



    I know I know,

  20. Just a couple of points after catching up this morning…



    At no point last season was Mooy our best midfielder…he was good, and at times very good, but he was part of a highly effective midfield ‘ensemble’ or ‘unit’, a dependable fulcrum that allowed all to perform…



    As far as I’m aware, there are still 4 weeks left until that ‘window slams shut’ for us to strengthen our eleven/team/squad… or five weeks until the Saudi league window closes…



    And finally, reassuring to see that Paul now trusts our manager to deliver an era defining title win… when up to 48 hours prior to his appointment, we were being told he was not the right man for the job! Six weeks clearly is a lifetime in Scottish football!

  21. Lambert14



    I loved Aaron Mooy but seriously how many games did he play for us and how many did he really influence and do what another might have done ?



    We signed. Japanese POTY in January who plays midfield and has had 6 months to bed in. We signed a Norwegian POTY who plays midfield. We signed a top rated SK midfielder who plays midfield. Surely between these guys we can make up for a chap who pre his 4 months in the sun at Celtic was at best regarded as a journeyman

  22. LAMBERT14 on 4TH AUGUST 2023 12:52 PM



    “If you couldn’t see that Mooy was our best midfield player from January till he got injured then football isn’t for you mate.”



    Nor Ange who only picked him to start in half of the league games he was available.



    Hatate was the Jobo vote poty. Football isn’t for us all obviously

  23. P67


    ‘What to do with that money? The nouveau riche notoriously waste money, but it’s Michael, not Viv Nicholson, in charge at Celtic, so don’t expect us to spend, spend, spend on short-term hits. ‘






    What gives you more pleasure?


    Watching Celtic with quality players on the park or reading a profit and loss account and balance sheet?



    ‘so don’t expect us to spend, spend, spend on short-term hits…’


    Paul, quality players we sign are all short term hits.


    Jota was here for 2 years.


    Edouard and Dembele left before their contracts ended.


    All our quality players do.


    It’s the Celtic model.


    Is this just an excuse for us signing projects?


    Whatever happened to your boast of our new transfer model?


    Where we would be selling higher and buying higher?

  24. BURNLEY78 on 4TH AUGUST 2023 2:00 PM


    Mooy started almost all the matches after the world cup and was MOTM in several.


    Do you remember all his awkward interviews after matches after given the accolade

  25. Hopefully after he scores his his first Goal for Celtic, we will be shouting ” YESROCKI”…..Not ” NAWROCKI”….unless its an own goal ?






  26. Tim Malone Will Tell on




    I am with you – we would be better off competing in the Europa League from the off rather than looking for those ready-made unicorn “champions league players” who are prepared to play in the SPFL.


    We might develop players who will become CL class – but they are unlikely to hang around in a league where there is a glass ceiling on their technical development and financial remuneration.

  27. CELTIC40ME @ 1:48 PM,



    Is it me or have the good fholk of CQN gone stark, staring mad.



    When did last May’s reserves become this August’s megastar!?



    The team that lost three nil at Ibrox…



















    Only Jota has gone only Nawrocki is (hopefully) an improvement of the new bhoys.



    So why is our current team so much better than the “crap” reserve team that got ragdollef at Ibrox??



    Hail Hail

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