I bought my first tranche of Celtic shares in 1994 but when Fergus offered his shares to the fans (1999?) I was not in a position take up the offer. Few of us did, as a consequence, Fergus sold most of his holding to Dermot Desmond.
It was a pity, as I liked the democratic feel of wider share ownership. Subsequently, when the club needed money in 2001 and 2005, share offers were not taken up widely by the support, so perhaps share concentration was always likely. When the club itself was in jeopardy the support dug deep, Fergus famously commenting on how those queuing up in 1994 to pay money for Celtic shares, clearly had little income. The subsequent share issues were about rebuilding the squad and training complex, less emotive topics.
Still, it is important to me to be a shareholder, I know many of us feel the same. We can call the executive to account and, as there are many thousands of us, we represent with wider support, immune from fads.
The Trust yesterday proposed shares are issued instead of refunds to season ticket holders, who were unable to attend in person this season. In case it needs said, while we received rights to view games online, many families earned no incremental benefit for additional season tickets held in the same household. Some families, including mine, paid for several tickets to get the exactly same service as a family with one ticket. And on top of everything else, there was the football……
Unlike others, Celtic chose to offer a partial refund on tickets for last season to compensate for games not played. That is not going to happen this season for a variety of reasons. For a start, if the season completed, a refund (optional or otherwise) would not be due. Most significantly, they spent the money. Our ticket revenue is not just to maintain access to the stadium, it pays for Odsonne and his pals. I doubt a single club in Europe will offer refunds – and if I’m being brutally honest with you, the only money I want to see leaving the club is for a new manager and players.
I suspect the Trust feel the same, which is no doubt why they proposed a share issue. It is a question worth asking – and it keeps wider share ownership on the agenda. I can also imagine the next shareholders meeting if shares were issued on a voluntary basis! Anyway, if you can afford it, buy shares, own a piece of Celtic (that will forever unlikely be diluted to compensate for poor value from the season ticket).
The Scottish Government is the recipient of an angry letter from Newco on social distancing measures, or the lack thereof. “When you swim with the sharks”, springs to mind. They are a social and health risk to the country. Put them back in their box at the first opportunity, Celtic. It was correct the club Tweeted last night that they are not half of anything, in reference to their bus supplier’s “half of the Old Firm” comment. A whole lot more clarity on this and related matters would be appreciated. If the bus suppliers gets away with dragging our name into social unrest elsewhere, what damage could the sanitaryware company do? A line has been crossed. There will be no end to it Celtic – unless you put an end to it……