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. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Lobbed a comment in on the hoof earlier.



    Have now read back today’s blog.



    Sincere comment. It must be terrible living in fear of the blue bogeyman coming to get you.



    For those afflicted, you have my genuine sympathy.



    BTW – Paul67 what’s the basis of 67% ?

  2. carpe diem 63 on

    Definition of procrastinate ….Beaton asked re the 55 game no penalty Rangers “mystery “ 🤣……It’s impossible to comment on a longer-term statistical thing. It’s an anomaly and stats will back up a story any way you want them to back up a story. All I can tell you is talk through decisions and say, ‘here’s what we did here.”……3 words to geographically locate Beatons comments (ie what 3 words)…PATHETIC HUN. LIAR

  3. carpe diem 63 on

    The greatest insidious EVIL to infect mankind …freemasonry or Satanism …2 cheeks of the same ARSE ……

  4. SIONNAIGH re: Pogues tune.



    That and Thousands are Sailing probably my two favourite Pogues songs.






    Come rain or hail or wind or snow


    I’m not going out to Flanders, oh


    There’s fighting in Dublin to be done


    Let your sergeants and your commanders go


    Let Englishmen fight English wars


    It’s nearly time they started, oh


    I saluted the sergeant a very good night


    And there and then we parted, oh




    Thousands are Sailing is one of my favourites….sums up how Celtic originated best.

  6. Good match day morning from a dry and bright Borrowstounness!



    Having a wee party for the Mrs 65th today.



    Guests to arrive at 3.00pm.



    Perfect timing!



    C’MON THE CELTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Happy 65th birthday to Mrs PHILBHOY hope you all have a great day starting with 3 points at Paradise 🍾🥳🍺🍀🎂

  8. Morning fholks!



    Article on the BBC fawning over Mickey Mole and the Huns, written by Clive Lindsay (clearly a fan), is enough to make you sick.



    Won’t post a link, but here’s the first paragraph to give you an idea of tone of the article, and it only gets worse from here 😳🤷🏼‍♂️🤢



    “The future starts tomorrow” might be a truism, but when uttered by manager Michael Beale before the new season, it is an indication of just how different his Rangers side will be to the one he inherited in November.



    Can’t wait until Brendan and the bhoys stomp this lot into the dirt again! I’m so glad we don’t have the media fawning over us and lying to us like they do.



    My biggest worry as always are the officials and their new VAR toy, and their get out of jail card, which will be the new rule changes.



    Gone for 5-0 today on Superbru. Reckon could even be more than that if we score early. Hat trick for Abada. 😃🍀⚽️⚽️⚽️🇮🇪

  9. bigrailroadblues on

    Good morning all from Alfredos. City Centre in chaos, tourists wandering around lost.


    Happy birthday to big Phil’s missus. How she puts up with that grumpy git is a mystery. 🤔

  10. fourstonecoppi on

    Morning all…..looking forward to ‘Paradise’ today.



    How i’ll get there and how long it’ll take me is another matter!



    UCI World Championships CSC

  11. Tom McLaughlin on

    Missing out today unfortunately. Not been good last 24 hours.



    Will watch from my armchair with son and grandson.



    Mate has my ST.



    5-0 Celtic.



    Hail Hail

  12. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    Morning all.



    Question – I don’t have a ticket for today and was thinking of watching the game in Malones.



    I’ve been on their website and it says nothing is scheduled to be shown today even though the game’s on Sky.



    Will this just be an oversight and the game will be shown?



    I live out of town and don’t want to chance coming in only to find it’s not on and I could have watched it at home (I can’t phone because they don’t open ‘til 11, which is a bit neat for me to get there on time).







    Doesn’t sound good TOM!



    Hope you are not incapacitated for too long!

  14. bournesouprecipe on

    Celtic, Celtic thats the team for me,


    Celtic, Celtic on to victory,



    They’re the finest team in Scotland, I’m sure you will agree,



    We’ll never give up till we’ve won the cup and the Scottish football league



    They come from bonnie Scotland, they come from county Cork,



    They come from dear old Donegal and even from New York,



    From every street in Glasgow they proudly make their way,



    To a place called dear old paradise and this is what they say.



    Celtic, Celtic thats the team for me,


    Celtic, Celtic on to victory,



    They’re the finest team in Scotland, I’m sure you will agree,



    We’ll never give up till we’ve won the cup and the Scottish football league.



    There’s Fallon, Young and Gemmell who proudly wear the green,



    There’s Clark, McNeill and Kennedy the best there’s ever been,



    Jim Johnstone, Murdoch, Chalmers, John Divers and John Hughes,



    And sixty thousand Celtic fans who proudly shout the news.



    Celtic, Celtic thats the team for me,


    Celtic, Celtic on to victory,



    They’re the finest team in Scotland, I’m sure you will agree,



    We’ll never give up till we’ve won the cup and the Scottish football league.



    Repeat to fade CSC

  15. August the 5th already. And it feels like an autumn day.



    All we need now is the fitba back….

  16. Brewers convention – The CEO of Coors orders a Coors light, the CEO of Miller’s orders a Miller light, the CEO of Budweiser orders a Bud light, the CEO of Guinness orders a coke.


    Why aren’t you ordering a Guinness they asked, ” well if you’re not drinking beer neither am I”

  17. Tom McLaughlin on

    Thanks PHILBHOY. Nothing too serious. Urinary Tract infection. Second in a few months. On strong antibiotics.

  18. Scottish Football League penalty Differential 2018-19 to 2022-23:



    Rangers = +37


    Hearts = +12


    Kilmarnock = +10


    Celtic = +9



    2022-23 only:



    Rangers = +10


    Motherwell = +4


    Hearts = +4


    Dutd = +4


    St Johnstone = +1


    Celtic = 0

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