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The prepack route for Rangers Newco FC

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In the event of Rangers facing financial Armageddon after the resumption of their HMRC tax hearing a quick – very quick – recovery scenario is available to them.  At any point during next month’s hearing they may consider their position is no longer tenable and, unable to meet the tax bill, a new company could be formed which attempts a prepack administration.

A prepack offer from a new company, for example, Rangers Newco FC Ltd, would offer an administrator a deal for all assets of the club, including stadium and offer to meet outstanding player wages.  Deals like this seldom offer unsecured creditors much but even a small percentage might realise more cash than the administrator would gamble on raising in an unstructured sale.

In such circumstances, the administrator could accept as little as £4m for the unsecured creditors.

In normal business Rangers Newco FC Ltd would begin trading and this would be the end of the story but football is not normal business.  Rangers Newco FC would own a stadium and would employ some footballers but they would not be part of any league structure. They would need to apply for membership to the Scottish Football League or Scottish Premier League.

In this scenario, the death of Rangers Football Club would leave a vacancy in the SPL, presenting several financial, logistical and sporting challenges.  Without Rangers, the league would have to invalidate all this season’s results involving the club, one team would be without a game each weekend for the rest of the season, current TV contracts and sponsorship deals could be jeopardised, while future contracts would be worth a fraction of their current values.

Every team in the league would have to downsize and some would have to win fresh support from their bankers, which may or may not be forthcoming.

There is, of course, a resolution to this problem.

Rangers Newco FC Ltd could present an offer to the SPL.  The new company, with its stadium and thousands of potential supporters, could take the obligatory 10 point punishment for going into administration and adopt the place of Rangers FC, complete their fixtures and allow every other team in the league to fulfil commercial obligations.

If these events took place before Christmas, Rangers Newco FC could be debt-free and signing players in January to enhance their league challenge.

To force the deal through, Rangers Newco FC would require 10 of the remaining 11 SPL clubs to vote in their favour.  If any two clubs stand against them, they would have to apply for membership of the Scottish Football League, but, having researched this story for several days, I expect Rangers Newco FC Ltd would get enough support to pick-up the place of the defunct Rangers FC.

Any natural sympathies towards Rangers aside (which will not exist in all places), money talks and, apart from Celtic, this league is neck-deep in debt.  Celtic might be in a position to survive Rangers failing but it would cost our club tens of millions.

Crucially, if the other SPL clubs back Rangers Newco FC, they create a template for a snap recovery from their own troubles.  Instead of repaying your debts, simply get yourself into a safe league position, ditch the company, prepack and start again with a clean sheet.

This would create a clear incentive to stiff creditors.  While the banks will get wise and not offer unsecured facilities in future, HMRC and small traders are likely to become perennial fall guys.   Why would any mid-table team pay millions in tax, rates and policing bills, when they have a sporting incentive to ditch creditors without punitive penalty, freeing income streams to buy football bling in the next transfer window?

This would make a mockery of the Uefa predident Michele Platini’s Financial Fair Play initiative and make our league the poster-boy for Financial Doping.

Scottish football will be mortally wounded if it were to parachute a club straight into the upper echelons of the game while establishing a blueprint for the abandonment of creditors.

It is incumbent on all who care about the game, in Scotland and throughout the world, that we insist Scottish Premier League clubs do not allow a prepack company to phoenix into the shoes of a dead football club.

Celtic fans, as well as those from Aberdeen, Hibernian, Dundee United and St Johnstone, together with fans from Motherwell, who could become genuine championship contenders, and from those clubs who would avoid relegation if Rangers failed, must insist their club votes against any prepack company parachuting into the league.

The SFA executive must use whatever influence it can to prevent the name of Scottish football being brought into disrepute.  Politicians, who either have, or aspire to have, tax raising responsibilities, must register their abhorrence that a self-serving oligopoly should attempt to vote themselves an escape from paying tax.

Fifa and Uefa must explain to the Scottish FA that the days of shady financial deals in football are gone.

Watch the media coverage of these events carefully.  If and when the decision time comes, the case to acquiesce to Rangers Newco’s demands will be overwhelming.  Sincere ‘impartial’ observers will do their upmost to convince us all we must do whatever necessary to save Rangers for the good of the Scottish game.  Some voices will even tell you Celtic need Rangers Newco.  Whatever part of my club is dependent on Rangers I am willing to lose.

Rangers-HMRC tax hearing resumes next month, when there is also a two week international break.  The most important element of making a prepack offer succeed is to offer a fait accompli: ‘Here is a solution, you have no time and you have no alternative’.

Should Rangers go into administration, I believe this is a very, likely scenario. If you are a supporter of Celtic or any other club, make your views known.

Read issue 3 of CQN Magazine free online here or buy a print version at Magcloud.
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1,511 Comments

  1. PFAyr , cheers for that. we’re sorted for our two groups , Livingston Boys Club and Indigo Childcare , but thanks.

     

     

    Will bear it in mind in future . Drop me a text or pm me on linked in – i’ve lost your moby .

     

     

    HH

  2. I have a K-9 which I ‘tether’ to the Rowan outside Farmfoods.

     

     

    or am I barking up the wrong tree?

     

     

    hail Hail

     

     

    Estadio

  3. ‘BBC One’s award winning school drama series Waterloo Road is to re-locate from its current Rochdale base to Greenock in Inverclyde.

     

     

    The move will see the former Greenock secondary become the new on-screen Waterloo Road school from next year’

     

     

    – Zombies?

     

     

    -Scarlett Johansen as the sultry supply teacher?

  4. TheGreenManalishi(WithTheTwoProngedCrown)

     

     

    Read the article you posted last evening – Thanks – two years on it makes fascinating reading.

     

     

    HOWEVAH

     

     

    There has been a lot of water under the bridge since then and DK has been back to Scotland on several occasions Here he is in Scotland with the RFC board AFTER his passport was taken away.

     

     

    For a man with his known assets frozen and has to conduct his business activities in the twilight zone, and facing 300+ criminal charges that could find him doing a long streeeeeeetch.

     

     

    Liberty Capital – Who say the Scots don’t do irony.

     

     

    Hail! Hail!

  5. The Honest Mistake (Sickened) on

    ernie lynch 28 October, 2011 at 10:30:

     

    Instead the DR go with Hugh Keevin’s story. A disgrace.

     

     

    From last night, I still can’t see how an administrator can demonstrate reasonably that a maximum return has been achieved for all creditors while the registration of the newco is in doubt. On top of this I can’t see how the paper value of the assets will allow a prepack for a pittance to happen.

  6. fritzsong says:

     

    28 October, 2011 at 10:35

     

    jackie mac says:

     

     

    28 October, 2011 at 09:53

     

     

    Has anybody in the media or clyde or speirs etc. said or written Rangers have been run unsustainably, buying success has led them to ruin, the use of EBT is being judged as being illegal by HMRC.

     

     

    Auldheid called RC and made the point about morals and Rankers present financial position, panel weren’t interested claiming Celtic fans indulging in whataboutery

  7. The Spirit of Arthur Lee says:

     

    28 October, 2011 at 10:32

     

    King in a Catholic Style

     

     

    China Crisis CSC

     

    Brilliant

     

    Kittoch-you are quick…………..so your good lady says……..;)

  8. Mountain_Bhoy is Neil Lennon says:

     

    28 October, 2011 at 10:42

     

    Estadio, :) I despise cables, anything that reduces need for them is a bonus for me.. havin a mobile phone acting as yer network and everything else is good for me.. now how are they progressing with wireless electricity?? cables be damned!!

     

     

    **************************************************************

     

     

    Oh how very true. In fact so true that here is my latest billion-making wheeze that i am looking for investors to support.

     

     

    I propose to adapt the principles of WiFi and Cellular technology so that it delivers ELECTRICITY rather than net-access. Think of that eh. No batteries, no solar power required and most of all just for you …NO FRIGGIN CABLES!

     

     

    And they said I was mad, mad , MAD!!!!

     

     

    Hail Hail

     

     

    Estadio

  9. This is worthy of a repost.

     

     

     

    greekster67 says:

     

    28 October, 2011 at 00:30

     

    Hi Paul

     

     

    Long time no post, hope you are well.

     

     

    I felt compelled to point out one major flaw for Whyte in the ‘pre pack’ route.

     

     

    The administrator who would have to agree to the pre pack sale, although not requiring the consent of the unsecured creditors (HMRC), still requires to realise the most he can for the assets. In simple terms that means the key test is – would the administrator be able to get a better deal elsewhere in the circumstances? If he cannot answer this with a ‘yes’ he will not sanction the pre pack at that price.

     

     

    Yes it is true pre packs can leave unsecured creditors angry and dismayed but that tends to eminate from the fact they are not consulted before the sale. It is a myth to say that pre packs offer the opportunity to rebuy the assets at a ‘song’ and leave the creditors behind. You can leave the creditors behind all right, but only at value (in the circumstances).

     

     

    The BIG difference in any potential RFC pre pack case is the potential value and potential marketability of the assets (squad, stadium, property). Pre packaged sale to the same directors are most commonly used where the assets are not substantial and not much use to anyone else (be objective lol); in service companies for instance that hold unmarketable assets (cigarette machines for example – in a famous case before the rules were tightened), where the administrator could not get a better deal elsewhere in the circumstances and is unlikely to be able to realise more.

     

     

    If RFC is pre packed and the unsecured creditors get £4m (which I assume incoporates the £18m Whtye will receive first – meaning the pheniox pays £22m) the administrator would be utterly negligent in the circumstances, it cannot happen in my view.

     

     

    Also, it is a ‘pre’ pack, i.e. cash has to be put up first by Whyte to buy the pre packed assets (has he got it?) before he recoups his £18million from the money he has just pumped in. I’m not sure he could use his £18 million to buy the pre packed assets as he will not have it until after the old company receives the cash.

     

     

    Following any pre pack there must be full disclsoure of the rational why that course of action was undertaken by the administrator, there must be good reasons. No insolvency practitioner would be able to justify such a small return on an entire company who value their assets at over £100m. There would need to be an independent valuation and Wyhte and the new pheniox would have to pay value for the assets (back to square one for him).

     

     

    The administrator will only agree to the pre pack if he thinks (reasonably) that he could not realise more than what the pheniox was offering.

     

     

    Alternatives – Ibrox as a venture capitalist project to rent back to them? marketable. (That course would incidently leave Wyhte without the £18m he would recoup on the prepack due to his secured debt, as he could not use that asset as further security he would have to repay it – see ya!!!). Players in January – Jelavic, Naismith, Davies – we are sailing over the pheniox offer.

     

     

    The scenario for Wyhte of £18m into RFC – pre pack administration and £18 million out – then use that £18 with another £4m to buy all the assets for a newco is just not going to happen.

     

     

    In any event there is no indication has the xtra £4m, or the extra £18 million he may need upfront.

     

     

    In my opinion it will be administration with players sold, stadium sold – or even liquidation (less likely).

     

     

    Good times ahead……..

     

     

    —–

     

     

    MWD

  10. Livibhoy

     

     

    Desist forthwith.

     

     

    That is about Celtic. Today’s subjects are Mobile phones, Champagne and HMRC.

     

     

    Get with the programme.:-)

     

     

    Hail hail

     

     

    Estadio

  11. Mountain Bhoy

     

     

    Wireless electricity is here, it works from pads at the moment, we are developing a charging solution for protection products which will charge without cables or docking stations.

     

     

    The futures bright the future is Rangers free.

  12. Estadio says:

     

    28 October, 2011 at 10:54

     

     

    Don’t like Champers and I have an Iphone but not bothered about the apps. HMRC gave me a cheque last year for over paying my tax. They are my heroes. Helped my wedding fund.

     

     

    LB

  13. Latest Survey Results as at 1pm yesterday

     

     

     

    Take part in survey (4 questions) to gather the views of as many supports from as many Scottish clubs as possible re. Rangers FC 2012 and direct entry back in to SPL if/when the exist Rangers FC experience a liquidation event that sees the death of Rangers FC 1873 to 2011.

     

     

    Please pass to friends/relatives/other football clubs supporters (we’re getting a bit top heavy with Celtic viewpoint and it be good to get more views from other supporters including Rangers supporters), websites via facebook, twitter, email, txt etc.

     

     

    Take the survey

     

     

     

    MWD

  14. Guys, I’m off to motorpoint to buy a car, any hints tips

     

    or tricks to watch out for.

     

    I should state I’m buying it cash.

     

    Any Cqn friendly car salesman in the joint ?

  15. greenmaestro says:

     

     

    28 October, 2011 at 10:43

     

     

    As far as I know, there is no legal bar to there being a catholic prime minister. There is a practical difficulty in that the PM has a role in appointing CoE bishops.

  16. Headtheball says:

     

    28 October, 2011 at 10:54

     

    I would like a cordless hose to wash the car.

     

     

    ……………………..

     

     

    Drink plenty of fluids, open zip on trousers, use cordless hose!

     

     

    :-)

  17. MWD – read that repost with interest.

     

    It also throws up the possibility that another player/players could bid for the phoenix company.

     

    Whyte would still get his dosh as a secured creditor but someone like erm… Murray (or a.n. other) could purchase the Newco and Whyte could ride off into the distance as the fall guy.

     

     

    Just a thought.

  18. greenjedi says:

     

     

    28 October, 2011 at 11:03

     

    Headtheball says:

     

     

    28 October, 2011 at 10:54

     

     

    I would like a cordless hose to wash the car.

     

    ……………………..

     

    Drink plenty of fluids, open zip on trousers, use cordless hose!

     

     

    Can I put a brush on the end of that hose to clean under the wheel rims?

  19. An alternative view.

     

     

    Article from Change Scotland

     

    Scotland’s World Cup by Tom Miers

     

     

     

    IT IS thirteen years since Scotland qualified for a major international football tournament, and twenty-eight since a Scottish club won a European competition .

     

     

    The long years have brought much hand wringing abut the state of the Scottish game. How can we recapture the glories of the past? Or are we doomed to endless long term decline, our triumphs confined to the occasional upset in qualifying rounds?

     

     

    Most of the solutions offered concentrate on trying to reform the organisational hierarchy of the game, or else place an emphasis on improving the basic skills of Scottish footballers through better youth programmes.

     

     

    The 2010 report by Henry McLeish recommended wholesale reform of the structure of the governing bodies of Scottish football and of the domestic competitions.

     

     

    These kinds of approach have merit. There is no doubt that organisational change can maximise the use of resources, and that improving the skills of footballers in this country will boost performance.

     

     

    But this largely ignores the most important factor influencing success in modern top level football, which is money.

     

     

    Scotland only has a population of about five million, so its potential in terms of basic resources is limited compared to Germany or Brazil. But it enjoys certain advantages that could be exploited better. One is that football is remarkably popular in Scotland, with a very high proportion of Scots attending football matches compared to other European countries.. Another is that football is of course an endeavour where only limited resources need to be deployed to achieve success. The best team in the world can only have eleven players on the pitch. Smaller countries can therefore compete at the highest level if they can deploy their resources and enthusiasm effectively.

     

     

    This paper argues that the real way to reviving Scottish football lies in transforming its economics so that the domestic, club game becomes more competitive. It advocates creating a ‘ladder’ of success by bolstering the financial potential of Scotland’s middle tier of clubs to the benefit of all.

     

     

    Buying success

     

     

    Football success at club level is inextricably linked to money. And there is a very strong link too between money and support, or fan numbers. There are exceptions to this of course – a club can be bought by a tycoon with deep pockets, and brilliant managers can win against the odds (though these days they tend to get poached very quickly by richer clubs). But on the whole, success is related to income, and income is related to attendances. Gate receipts still make up a large proportion of club income, especially in countries like Scotland where TV rights are not particularly lucrative . But there is a strong indirect link between gates and other income too. Attendances obviously reflect support in the wider community, and therefore sales of merchandising and the value of corporate entertainment and TV rights.

     

     

    This is clearly demonstrated by a glance at the figures. The following chart shows the enormous gaps in both attendance and income between the Old Firm and some of their nearest domestic rivals.

     

     

     

     

    But the relationship is two-way. Attendances affect support too, because a club’s attractiveness to new fans is partly a function of the atmosphere at the ground and its image on the TV screen, as well as its success on the park (which is in turn affected somewhat by the level of support in the ground).

     

     

     

    So a club with modest attendances can suffer from a vicious circle: It lacks the income to compete successfully, and therefore cannot generate the appeal to build its support and attract a larger gate.

     

     

     

    This in essence is the problem facing Scottish clubs outside the Old Firm, and in particular those medium-sized clubs that have historically posed an occasional challenge to Rangers and Celtic.

     

     

    The issue affects Scottish football generally, because domestic competitions have become drearily uncompetitive, leading to lower overall revenue and poorer quality of play than would otherwise be the case. For Scottish football to flourish in the future, we must look for ways of improving the competitiveness of the senior domestic game, and that means encouraging smaller clubs to increase their resources so that they can challenge the Old Firm more often.

     

     

     

    The capacity constraint

     

     

    The key to bridging the gap lies in financing a new generation of stadia for the middle tier of Scottish clubs.

     

     

    The problem at the moment is that ground capacities are too low for these clubs to build up their regular support base. In other business fields it is possible to improve revenues by lowering prices and attracting a higher volume of sales. But the middle tier of Scottish football clubs has become trapped in stadia that are too small to pursue innovative pricing and marketing policies. Ticket prices therefore have to remain high to maximise revenue from the available seats, and as a result attendances typically fall well below capacity . In other words one of the basic laws of economics, the dynamic between supply and demand, cannot work properly, because supply cannot increase sufficiently.

     

     

    Larger stadia would allow such clubs to improve attendances by offering a better spectacle as well as lowering prices without affecting overall income. In the medium term revenues could rise well beyond current levels as greater demand from a larger fan base turned into higher sales.

     

     

    This would create a ‘ladder of success’ as exists in other leagues, allowing greater competition and the possibility of smaller clubs achieving significant success from time to time. In the English leagues the same regulatory restrictions – i.e. the requirement to introduce all-seater accommodation – were imposed. But the equivalent tier of clubs has been able to leverage TV revenues to redevelop their stadia on a larger scale to rebuild capacity and thus present a commercial and footballing challenge to the top clubs.

     

     

    So the missing link in Scottish football is the investment needed to re-house the half-a-dozen or so clubs which used to present a regular challenge to the Old Firm, but are no longer financially capable of doing so.

     

     

    Building a ‘ladder of success’ would benefit every Scottish club, including the Old Firm. True, Rangers and Celtic would start to lose the occasional domestic competition. But the overall appeal of the Scottish game would improve, generating higher overall gates and higher TV and other commercial revenue. This extra financial strength would allow the top two clubs to compete more successfully in Europe.

     

     

    It is also likely that the extra competitiveness would improve the technical quality of the domestic game, making Rangers and Celtic better prepared for their forays abroad.

     

     

     

    The ‘ladder’ clubs would obviously benefit most, but so too would the smaller clubs below them. Overall, league and cups would be more competitive, with the Old Firm toppled more often, making the distribution of points and trophies more even. This would improve the odds for smaller SPL clubs doing well in domestic competitions, just as in England well run and managed clubs like Stoke and Bolton regularly challenge for European places in the league and reach the later rounds of the highly competitive domestic cups.

     

     

    Yet the problem is almost impossible to solve without outside help, because even if the middle tier clubs could attract a wider audience, their grounds are now too small to accommodate the new fans, and their finances too limited to expand their grounds cost effectively. It is this financial dilemma which is at the heart of Scottish football’s problems.

     

     

    The following table gives the cost of some of the more recently built new club stadia around Britain and their capacities. It can be very expensive to build a new stadium such as Arsenal’s Emirates, if land redevelopment costs are high and the design specifications are complex. But some modern football stadia have been built very cost efficiently.

     

     

    Even so, all of these are currently out of the financial reach of Scotland’s middle-sized clubs. Building a group of up to half-a-dozen new stadia in Scotland could cost in the region of £200 million in total .

     

     

     

     

     

    Breaking the deadlock

     

     

    There are only two ways to find the resources necessary to solve this dilemma. One would be for the Scottish Government to provide the funds. Actually the sums are not great considering some of the very expensive and quixotic projects that government money has been spent on recently. Transforming Scottish football would arguably be a better cause than the Scottish Parliament building (£431 million) or the Borders railway (£295 million).

     

     

     

    Perhaps understandably though, the government is reluctant to commit taxpayers money to subsidise an otherwise self-financing leisure industry. In that case, there is one remaining option – for Scotland to host a major international football tournament.

     

     

    The World Cup in South Africa last year generated $1 billion of revenue for the hosts, mainly from tickets sales and a $625 million contribution from FIFA that included a ‘legacy contribution’ (FIFA took the TV rights and $2 billion of profit) .

     

     

    From 2016 the European Championship will be expanded to 24 teams, and the tournament is likely to generate about half as much revenue as the World Cup (which has 32 entrants).

     

     

    Either event would deliver enough funding to build several new stadia in Scotland, even if Scotland had to share hosting with one or more other countries. Investment could cover all kinds of infrastructure improvements which would be highly desirable for economic development in the aftermath of the competition. The tournament would boost interest in the game in Scotland, giving clubs an added opportunity to attract new fans.

     

     

     

    Hosting a major football tournament

     

     

    The reality is that Scotland would probably have to prepare a joint bid to host even the European Championship. The idea of a close knit festival of football just in Scotland is attractive, but the French 2016 bid will deploy nine stadia with capacities over 35,000. The minimum criteria set by UEFA is for two stadia of 50,000 plus, three of 40,000 plus, and four of 30,000 plus .

     

     

    An additional issue is that UEFA made it clear during Scotland’s last bid for the tournament (for 2008) that it was uncomfortable with several stadia being used in one city at the same time. This would require carefully rationed use of Hampden, Ibrox and Celtic Park, as well as any other stadia in cities where there were more than one. So unless Scotland could somehow ‘borrow’ stadia in a neighbouring jurisdiction such as North-East England (a method sometimes used by Rugby World Cup hosts), it is difficult to see a Scotland-only bid succeeding even under the ambitious plans for new stadia envisaged here.

     

     

    So logic points to a joint bid. And although the football authorities prefer single bids in theory, the growing size and complexity of tournaments means that joint bids – with up to three prospective hosts – are now commonplace. Next year’s European Championship will be co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine, and four of the seven likely bidders so far for the 2020 tournament involve two or three hosts .

     

     

    Winning the bid

     

     

    Recent developments in football politics may have presented Scotland with a good opportunity to succeed with a bid to host either the World Cup or the European Championship.

     

     

    England’s repeated efforts to host another World Cup have foundered on the twin rocks of unpopularity and unoriginality. Scotland can offer to solve both problems by co-hosting with its neighbour to the South. At the same time we can add something of our own – an ambition to transform Scottish football for the next generations. A crucial factor by which successful tournament bids are judged is whether they leave a tangible and lasting ‘legacy’ for the future, preferably involving the recruitment of a new swathe of fans.

     

     

    One of the several problems with the Scotland/Ireland bid for 2008 was that it offered little new. The prospectus was cobbled together largely using existing stadia or ones that were going to be built regardless of whether the tournament went ahead or not. A fresh bid would benefit from displaying ambitious plans for the game in Scotland.

     

     

    The next tournaments ‘available’ for bidding are the European Championships from 2020 on (though preparations for 2020 would need to be rapid), and the World Cup in 2030 (the ones before then have been allocated to other continents). These might seem a long way ahead, but in football politics forward planning is essential.

     

     

    Experience shows that repeat bidding is often necessary to win a tournament. Thus the otherwise lacklustre 2008 bid might be put to good use. Bidding time after time is rewarded with admiration (for the determination and faith in the cause) and sympathy (a sense that ‘it’s Scotland’s turn’).

     

     

    Apart from anything else, the English FA have recognised the need to spend a deal of time and effort rebuilding their position in global football politics.

     

     

    An over-mighty neighbour?

     

     

    This begs the question, of course, whether going into such a project with England is sensible. There are two issues here. One is the possibility that Scotland could be tarnished by England’s reputation for arrogance in the game. Yet this stems in part from the English FA’s stance on corruption which, despite its inconsistencies, has rightly been supported by the Scottish FA. It seems unlikely that the SFA could plausibly benefit by disassociating itself from this approach, and it would be better to make a virtue of it.

     

     

    Another issue, raised repeatedly in the case of a joint British Olympic football team, is that acting together undermines the case for separate associations and teams. It is true that the separate status of Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales is regarded with envy in certain quarters. A joint team might indeed play into the hands of those who want to abolish the home nations’ special status, and the SFA is right to resist it. Yet there is now such a well established precedent for co-hosting international tournaments in football that there is little risk that this could be used as a Trojan horse for threatening Scotland’s independent football status.

     

     

    Both problems would obviously be avoided by bidding jointly with another association such as that of the Republic of Ireland. It may be that the first couple of European Championship bids could be based on co-hosting with another Celtic association, or else ‘borrowing’ stadia. But England offers such advantages in terms of its own stadia, its geographic connections and its commercial potential, that a cross border bid would probably stand the best chance of success in the long run, particularly for a World Cup.

     

     

    Funding the new stadia

     

     

     

    How would we decide where and which clubs benefited from money to build new stadia? After all, those that received such investment would gain a competitive advantage over many of their rivals, even if all would benefit from this project in the long term. There are also all sorts of fraught issues to do with preserving the heritage and traditions of clubs. Could Hearts and Hibs be persuaded to share a larger ground, and where would it be?

     

     

    The best solution to these difficult questions would be to leave it to the clubs to weigh for themselves the various factors to be taken into account. They should then be invited to bid for stadium funding, with their bids being judged according to a range of criteria, including cost and, crucially, likely stadium usage going forward.

     

     

    The tournament authority – perhaps a new construct jointly owned by the SFA and the Scottish Government – would launch a fund financed by bonds to a total value of the projected share of tournament revenues plus any additional funding the Scottish Government was prepared to make available.

     

     

    Bidders – clubs or consortia of clubs with other interested parties such as local authorities or construction companies – would apply for funds from this body to finance the project they had in mind. Bidders would be encouraged to set out a vision for how spectator support could be grown in future years through attractive ticket pricing to attract new fans participating in Scottish football.

     

     

    Such a bidding process would encourage imaginative marketing plans for the future, commercial logic, and also co-operation between clubs. For example, a bid that could offer the sale proceeds of two grounds and the fan base of two clubs would clearly have an advantage. But the selection process would promote voluntary co-operation, not seek to impose it. A club could make the judgement that the benefits of ground sharing or moving did not compensate for the loss of identity. Instead, it could decide to bid for stadium investment on other criteria, such as regenerative benefits to the local community, the economic advantages of associated infrastructure, plans to integrate the stadium with new commercial premises or housing, the architectural merit of new building and so on. The important point is that the decision would be the clubs, not that of the central authority.

     

     

    Scope for growth?

     

     

    The question remains whether it would be possible for the middle tier of football clubs to grow their support so that they could challenge the Old Firm commercially and therefore on the park as well. The redevelopment of club stadia would come on the back of a major football tournament taking place in Scotland. There is no better way to market the game to new audiences than such a spectacle being staged locally.

     

     

    Nonetheless it is sometimes said that the likes of Hearts and Aberdeen are limited not by their ground capacity, but by reasons of demography. Changing leisure patterns among the public, for example, mean that potential fans are more likely to stay at home playing computer games that attending a football match. Or else the population base from which potential support could be drawn is too small.

     

     

    Yet the evidence shows that a number of SPL clubs should be able to attract much bigger crowds than those that currently support them. For example, Southampton is a city with a population of 240,000, only fractionally bigger than Aberdeen. Its club spent last season in the third tier of English football, yet attracted average crowds of 22,000, more than double Aberdeen’s. Sunderland, in the Premier League, enjoyed an average gate of more than 40,000, even though the city’s population (178,000) is comparable to Dundee’s (152,000). The two Dundee clubs’ joint average gate last season was just over 12,000.

     

     

    In the 2004/5 season, Hearts conducted an interesting experiment by staging its UEFA Cup group matches at Murrayfield. These three games attracted an average gate of nearly 24,000, some 6,500 more than the capacity at Tynecastle, the Hearts ground. Murrayfield is not a particularly popular venue for football fans, and the UEFA cup group stage is far from the biggest draw for Hearts supporters. If the club owned or shared a purpose built football stadium with a capacity of, say, 40,000, its average gate, ticket income and commercial revenue could all be dramatically expanded.

     

     

    To begin with, it might only be the big games – against the Old Firm, and Edinburgh rivals Hibs – that drew significantly larger crowds than are currently possible. This is why the bidding process – not just for stadium investment, but for the right to hold the tournament in the first place – should place an emphasis on ideas to bring football to a new audience and thus expand participation, partly by lowering prices.

     

     

    Internet technology used by airlines and train companies can dramatically adjust prices to demand on an hourly basis. The ‘ladder’ clubs could use mechanisms such as this to rethink their approach to marketing what they offer to a wider public. To do this, stadium capacity is the key. A revolution in Scottish football can be achieved if we can find the wherewithal to rebuild a group of stadia for use by a handful or more of middle ranking Scottish clubs.

     

     

    Tom Miers is a writer and commentator on Scottish public policy

  20. Ffsk! Think boys its only lip service establishment pay go catholic/monarchy/succession..never happen boys-skools r target, until constitutionalised bigotry is changed then nothing else can i.e skools, so they change cnstn an skools go, but nae tims ever make the throne or marry one

  21. glendalystonsils on

    Macky

     

     

    I bought a car from them a while back and found them really good to deal with. They had the car I wanted but I was’nt keen on the colour so they brought one up from Derby and I had it in Glasgow the next day. And I don’t work for them, honest!

  22. JinkyvJohnGreig-saysitall on

    LiviBhoy says:

     

    28 October, 2011 at 10:19

     

     

    Do you know if there is anywhere to donate to this lads family?

  23. TheGreenManalishi(WithTheTwoProngedCrown) on

    Chairbhoy says

     

     

    Thanks for the update, I assume when he discussed his passport with Alistair Johnstone he was told “we have a saying in this boardroom, two words, surrender and no”

     

    Anyway it looks like he has more than his fair share to deal with, don’t expect to be hearing much from him soon.

  24. The Battered Bunnet on

    Emdy got anything to say about Samsung’s Smartphone offerings?

     

     

    Seems iPhone is good for internet but not good for telephone calls.

     

     

    HTC gets the nod from most users, but some problems with freezing screens and the likes.

     

     

    Blackberry is going down.

  25. Livibhoy.

     

    If you are interested,FIANNA Irish Rebel Band,would be willing to play a gig to raise funds for the young Celtic supporter.They would do this at no charge,if a date can be arranged.I have spoken to them and they are up for it.Slan

  26. Looking for a new phone myself as my current one is ready to give up.

     

     

    I don’t text much, occasional phone calls. Any advice?

  27. Livibhoy-this might have got lost in your post mate-

     

    On another note anyone in the Livingston area is welcome to attend a race night fundraiser tonight for Sean Cantwell who was injured on his way to see the Hoops in Rennes.

     

     

    He fell from the ferry from Portsmouth and is in a bad way in hospital. He is in recovery but it’s a long way back. He also has no insurance which means his family need to pick up the tab. We are trying to help him out. Please note this is NOT a Celtic night. There are plans to organise a Celtic night tho.

     

     

    http://www.scotsman.com/edinburgh-evening-news/edinburgh/around-the-capital/celtic_fan_seriously_hurt_after_falling_from_ferry_s_top_deck_1_1933678

     

     

    Bhoy from our bus got a video from Chris Sutton for Seany Bhoy.

     

     

    http://kerrydalestreet.co.uk/topic/8595067/3/

     

     

    All welcome.

     

     

    LB