State of the Club Report, transfer, financial strategy


I read one highly unlikely article yesterday suggesting we were going to sign Alfred Finnbogason AND were still bidding big money for Kevin Doyle ahead of an 11pm tonight signing deadline.  It’s hard to be so wrong in so few words, but this one hit the mark.

Alfred is a target but, and this is the key point the newspapers have not picked up on, he is one of four strikers Celtic are seriously considering at the moment.  He looks the part, as do the others, I am assured, but the deal has to be right for Celtic to move.

Our strategic plan is to buy players at a comparatively low price, develop them on the Champions League stage, and sell high, in order to be able to build a team capable of competing further in the Champions League.

To do this we need to buy from the right markets, at the correct age and on the right wage.  There will be exceptions to this rule.  A few weeks shy of his 27th birthday, Dirk Boerrigter is unlikely to appreciate greatly, but teams need experience to tackle the Champions League, as well as some specific skills, so Dirk is here for what he can give today, not to be the next £12m exit.

We will see more business like Wanyama and Hooper.  Before Celtic agree a deal for Finnbogason there would need to be a gap between the buy price and the projected valuation IF the player is a success.  If this gap doesn’t exist we will do business elsewhere.  Sticking to strategy is more important than pursuing a target like some latter-day David “this time we’re really going for it” Murray.

You can also forget about the 11pm deadline tonight.  That is only relevant if we need two or more new players to overcome Shakhter Karagandy.  If we want to add Finnbogason, or any ONE other player, the deadline for a Wildcard signing is a day before the game, or pretty much when the team leaves Glasgow Airport, so there is no effective deadline tonight. As such, I would be surprised if a deal was concluded today.

Right now, at Lennoxtown and Celtic Park, people are deciding how to invest our money.  We have the kind of choices consistent with a well-run club, but while we are a well-run club, we can’t get caught up in the hubris.

We are living through some big changes in our financial model.  Revenue from domestic football (season ticket sales-now discounted, Rangers game £42-per-head ticket sales, hospitality sales, commercial income) has fallen, or disappeared completely (I reckon we’re in the region of £9m p.a. down in these areas, we’ll have a better indication when accounts are released later this month).  On top of this, the club was running at a loss without Champions League football or significant player sale (£7m for season 2011-12, the last we have accounts for), and as well as some income streams falling, costs have risen.

I heard that one ‘St Mirren’ supporting journo on Radio Scotland on Saturday said with last season’s Champions League income and money from player sales, Celtic have a £40m transfer kitty.

In the name of all that is sacred, nine years after ‘What the Celtic fans want to know is where is all the Seville money?’, the same nonsense is being peddled. As far as some are concerned, we are back where we started on CQN. The first thing you do with your money is pay your bills, including tax… there is no creditor left behind at Celtic. After they are taken care off you can look to invest in footballers.

This year, the underlying loss has been flipped because of player sales and that Champions League income, although not by nearly as much as journos who regard researching accounts before commenting on finance as an unnecessary indulgence, will tell you.  Without Champions League income (this season potentially £14m plus any prize money earned), the money from Wanyama alone would not make this a profitable season, even before the spend on our new signings.

The road ahead is clear.  Get into the Champions League as often as possible without allowing any individual failure to cause a collapse, sign players who will flourish at that level, sell them for a profit, repeat and reinforce all aspects of strategy with an improved budget.

Over any business period, every penny which comes into the club, has been, and will continue to be, spent.  Our money will be invested in footballers who will appreciate in value, and who will give Celtic their best chance of pushing further in the Champions League on a persistent basis.  It will not rest in a bank account earning a pittance in interest. The strategy is ambitious and sustainable but not reckless.

A year ago some wondered if Celtic could survive, never mind flourish, without a Rangers-branded club in the league.  If successful, this strategy will not only allow the club to flourish, it may even result in higher long-term income than Celtic achieved while locked in an arms race with a former rival, with a corresponding improvement in Champions League achievement.

Is Alfred Finnbogason the man, is he better than the others we’re looking at, good enough to excel in the Champions League?  I’ve no idea, but he is just one detail in the wider Celtic strategy.

Stick to plan, Celtic.
[calameo code=00039017126b6a648d717 lang=en page=128 hidelinks=1 width=100% height=500]

Click Here for Comments >

About Author

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. 7
  9. ...
  10. 30

  1. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    ‘Get into the Champions League as often as possible’



    – we might have to spend some money to achieve this; or look at when we cash in on our best players.



    Fingers crossed no big bid comes in for FF before we have to hea dout on the ole Silk Road.

  2. Philbhoy - It's just the beginning! on




    Finboggasson, Doyle and who are the other two strikers we are looking at?



    Any idea?



    Great article by the way!



    Heads definitely screwed on in our boardroom.

  3. Neil Lennon & McCartney on




    Wow – I’m shocked – expectation management in extremis!




  4. What is the Stars on

    Sack The Board



    Penny pinching,biscuit tin mentality,back of the bus sitting,soup taking,forelock tugging,old firm brand craving,evil capitalist gits


    and replace them with an anarcho syndicalist commune made up of the green brigade,save the whale,friends of palestine,true sons of erin etc

  5. Philbhoy - It's just the beginning! on




    Due to our recruitment policy, is there in fact a limit to what we can achieve in the CL, ie beaten in the last 16?



    Or can we go further where the mega money is?

  6. Philbhoy - It's just the beginning! on

    Don’t know much about Doyle except he plays in the 3rd tier in England and may not suit our sell on policy.

  7. Neil Lennon & McCartney, that’s what I get when I refer to money. I get the opposite when I refer to signing prospects.



    Get back to me if you find a mistake.

  8. TheOriginalSadiesBhoy on

    Having read the article now, I’ll be very surprised if we get Alfie Finnbogasson. Kind of reminds me of Steven Fletcher. Put in a bid to prove that we wanted to get him – but make sure it’s not actually big enough to seal the deal. :-((

  9. Paul ….excellent summary of the way forward………where to you sit in the boardroom!




  10. Alfie fits our profile – however the point i think Paul 67 is making is that if we buy him for £4-5m we will have decided that we can sell him in the future for £8-10m (i.e. we will make a profit).

  11. Aswell as Alfie and Doyle, the other 2 potential strikers are Robbie Keane and Eidur Gudjonnsen. Obviously.

  12. 67Heaven ... I am Neil Lennon..!!.. Ibrox belongs to the creditors on




    Absolutely spot on……… and, if you promote this concept / reality on CQN, some brand you a ‘Happy Clapper’ …… We are ‘working’ in a financial ‘minefield’ (Scottish Football) and the Board’s strategy is SPOT ON …… our long term future is assured / will improve, despite the negatonians …… onwards and upwards, with NEIL / JOHN, doing a grand job ……



    I have not heard one word of ‘strategy’ criticism from NEIL, and he is my gauge in all things Celtic….. And, just for the record, we are lucky to have PETER as our CEO…..HH from the king Happy Clapper…..



    Bring back the GB, quick ……. so they can show us how easy it is for them to behave themselves, and how much we would miss them…..

  13. Glendalystonsils likes a mr whippy with his lime green jelly on



    12:26 on


    12 August, 2013





    The speculate to accumulate mob must be on lunch just now.






    Either that or speculating at the bookies.

  14. Delaneys Dunky on

    Dobbo…. I replied to you at end of previous thread. No need for apology. As BMCUW stated, not the most obvious of Norwegian names :-)

  15. 67Heaven ... I am Neil Lennon..!!.. Ibrox belongs to the creditors on




    12:21 on 12 August, 2013



    Dooooooooo ….. leave devious strategies to oldco / sevco…….since they are reaping what they sowed ( with their greedy / corrupt strategies)





    A well thought out piece,and largely one with which I agree.



    Though grudgingly,of course,as I want the best players possible on that pitch wearing The Hoops.



    But then,we all do!



    The bone of contention,I suggest,is the £9m down to which you refer






    The £100 refund has been largely funded by uptake,but even if not,with 42,000 SN holders last season amounts to £4.2m



    Total of £5m.



    Now if we are down by a further £4m,and that doesn’t include the players who are now off the wage bill,btw,it must be down to hospitality and commercial interests.



    The question which this raises is…



    Why is Peter Lawwell receiving a bonus for such a turgid performance?

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. 7
  9. ...
  10. 30