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. Bigbhoy



    We don’t know that will be the team. Football is about squads these days though.



    We have far greater depth than a year ago.



    We have a treble winning squad with some huge potential sat on the bench which will almost certainly emerge as the season progresses.



    We also have the amazing Alistair Johnston to come back from injury !



    Team is not just the 11.

  2. Chairbhoy 3.31



    Guppy was an upgrade on Petta .



    MON tried to get Muzzy Izzet and Matt Elliott .


    Both would have been great signings for Celtic.







  3. SAINT STIVS on 4TH AUGUST 2023 2:52 PM


    Guantanamera – The Sandpipers















    now i am going to ask something else, was this a theme tune to a spaghetti western film back in them days ?




    I honestly dont know mate ?


    There were/are many Spaghetti Westerns that I have never heard of …far less..seen ?



  4. glendalystonsils on



    Guppy didn’t adapt to the Glasgow gold fish bowl -))))




    He only signed after being told that Celtic were the biggest fish in a small pond

  5. As things stand, we’d need a very kind draw to have European football after Christmas and going by past draws, Brendan should not expect one.



    If Europe is our aim, more is needed. We’ve still got plenty of time to add that quality as no doubt the players we’re in for have plenty of options and will be in no hurry to remove themselves from the transfer market with 4 weeks to go.



    The huns look one dimensional to me with the onus still very much on two aging full backs that can’t defend. I think P67 is being a bit conservative with his 67% but it’s a nice number all the same.

  6. carpe diem 63 on

    Psychology and fear factor are key esp in the Glasgow Derby …. When they had money they went out and bought big….Gascoigne and Laudrup for example and believe me they installed fear in both our support and players..anyone who denies this is lying …strike whilst the iron is hot Celtic whilst we are ahead and create FEAR..don’t underestimate them or let them back in the game 🍀

  7. I would like us to sign another Centre Back a Goalkeeper,personally I think we have enough forwards so I don’t think we will strengthen in that department,the defense is a priority

  8. St Stivs, Jimmy


    I like that song and played it at a recent charity do as part of a world Medley alongside Bella Ciao etc. Some more info. “Guantanamera” ([ɡwantanaˈmeɾa]; Spanish: (the woman) from Guantánamo)[1] is a Cuban patriotic song, which uses a poem by the Cuban poet José Martí for the lyrics. The official writing credits have been given to Joseíto Fernández, who first popularized the song on radio as early as 1929 (although it is unclear when the first release as a record occurred). In 1966, a version by American vocal group the Sandpipers, based on an arrangement by the Weavers from their May 1963 Carnegie Hall Reunion concert, became an international hit.


    The most famous version though, comes from the Celtic supporters in Glasgow who sing a grand version to their rivals across the city. NO HUNS AT HAMPDEN 🎶🍀



  9. carpe diem 63 on

    2 genuine questions ..1.Do you think Sevco / and /or their support are fearful re our team presently ?…2…If they were in our position don’t you think they would be spending big ? …I know for an absolute fact there is no fear factor amongst them and they fancy their chances 🤔

  10. carpe diem 63 on

    If they win the league this year ..just watch who they sign next close season …eye on the prize Celts

  11. carpe diem 63 on

    Gene …you are sounding like Bankier …as much as I get the sentiment ..we can be ambitious without being reckless …but don’t underestimate psychology and it’s impact on big games

  12. carpe diem 63 on

    Let’s get 2or 3 experienced players in that they would be scared of when that team sheet is read out

  13. carpe diem 63 on

    Goalie….defender …midfielder ….3 game changers please 8-10m each ….? 💚…show them we mean business

  14. If we win comfortably on Saturday, a few will come on and say `Ah, but it was only Ross County at Home`.


    If we then win our next three games, it will be ` Ah, but wait `till we play at Ibrox`


    If we win at Ibrox, it will be `Ah , but wait `till we play in the CL`


    If we ……


    well, you get the idea.




  15. PS


    Carpe diem


    Maybe you should take note of your blog name.



    Definite cheerio now.

  16. I remember football legend Mickey Thomas got jailed for making big money…..


    It was a quarter an inch too big



    “I’dve been more upset at losing 3-0 at Ibrox if we’d been playing Rangers.”






    por cierto

  18. VHMAN



    Brilliantly interesting. Fascinating.



    I knew partly it was Cuban for some reason, just curious if it had been in a western as well.



    As an aside, Dunky was up the road last month at uncle billy kinkaid funeral, he was in some form, and was telling me about out on the bike himself nowadays. you got a name check for the last every rangers game and getting me in the standing section.



    His Angela was there as well, and my aunty betty, tough wee day but i was happy to see them all.



    Ange is living in North West Spain now, got bumped from a flight when travelling back at the early covid days, and has settled there in a wee mountain village.



    As an aside to an aside , will you be at the celtic club dinner on 25th August ?

  19. I know for an absolute fact there is no fear factor amongst them and they fancy their chances 🤔




    Mate, do you honestly expect anything else?



    According to the huns weak Celtic sides have just done 5 trebles and a double the last 7 seasons.



    I’d actually be worried if the huns shut up and talked us up. As is, their pomposity is very much part of the supremacist mindest they’ve been reared on.

  20. St Stivs I had a neighbour of that name, went to his funeral last year. Not going to the Celtic dinner as I’ve something else on.



  21. ‘Guppy didn’t adapt to the Glasgow gold fish bowl’



    Took me a sec before I almost spat my coffee over my keyboard. Very funny.

  22. I have a foot in both camps re our squad. I enjoyed the game on Tuesday night and was happy with both sets of players, some need game time, some back from injury etc. Brendan has a difficult choice how to get the best out of those players and how they gel. I think we will win the league with that squad but it would be better if we signed at least two first team players to increase the chances of that happening. In reality, I think we will get a goalkeeper and a few in at the winter break.


    Still in aw, my money is on Celtic winning the league HH

  23. VMHAN



    After Tuesday i would have picked the second eleven………tough team selection for tomorrow i think he will play it safe.



    Sevco caller ssb a few days ago supremely confident said if sevco don’t win the league he will donate 500 pound to cash for kids.

  24. Sevco caller ssb a few days ago supremely confident said if sevco don’t win the league he will donate 500 pound to cash for kids.



    he has been saying that guff for 7 years.



    Cash for Kids is up 3 grand, I suppose that is a win-win

  25. First names on the team sheet, most effective players bought recently? Did their arrival put the fear up the zombies? Dont recall that but does their ongoing presence in the team? Probably?



    CCV – was a bit of a gamble. Mixed reviews when he arrived but has been brilliant.



    Kyogo – none if us knew much about him. Think there was a confidence he would do well. Hit the ground running.



    Abada – numbers wise he’s phenomenal. Arrival wise he was a hope not a hit.



    Hatate – on arrival we knew little. Exploded onto the scene.



    Al Johnstone – again, we knew very little but he’s been brilliant.



    My point is, we could sign a ‘name’ or three but there are no guarantees. We may already have signed the new batch of players that will put the zombies to the sword. Recent recruitment patterns suggest that is likely. More players will arrive. Some that are here will be better this season – coaching, maturity etc



    Steady the nerves bhoys. We are in a good place. I’d put our chances of winning the league at 88%.



    Enjoy tomorrow.

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