On the morning after we become Invincible, as the media scrambles around for a negative, as Kris Boyd writhes in a puddle of his own vomit, as numerous Scottish hacks try to find out how to delete their entire tweeting history of big predictions about Sevco and as Stewart Regan maintains his total silence on the abuse suffered by Scotland’s undisputed Player of the Year, an interesting story has crept into the media. It couldn’t realistically be ignored.
A London investment firm has, this morning, become the second biggest individual shareholder in Celtic, with 15% of the club’s share base now in their hands.
They’ve been steadily increasing their holding for years, starting when the total “book” value of Celtic was around priced at around £30 million. They believed that grossly undersold the strength of the club and the price of the shares as an investment.
The London Stock Exchange now valuates us at £128 million.
This is a vote of confidence in us that’s hard to ignore. A city finance house, which also owns shares in Juventus and the WWE enterprise, thinks we’re as safe as money in the bank. This is a company that doesn’t buy shares to speculate, and they aren’t interested in seats on the board. They just think we’re a good company to have an investment in.
Down south, in the shadow of the money markets, we’re not seen as being a sexy acquisition like one of the English clubs would be. We have no pot of gold awaiting us just for being there. Clubs like Brighton will take home £80 million plus in Sky revenues alone. The channel devoted more time yesterday to John Terry’s going away speech than it did to the full Celtic match, pre-match and post-match celebrations and all. It is an insult to us.
But we’re credible, for all that. We’re rated, in spite of it.
Celtic is a brand. A very successful, high profile, lucrative brand. Our culture, our history, the passion of the fans, the success of the team, the vision for the future, all have meshed to become more than their constituent parts. The club is a colossus, although we hail from a small country which doesn’t have access to the wealth down south.
That’s why we’re seen as being a good investment bet.
When a finance house is looking to buy shares that’s what it looks for. Growth, imagination, a sense of where the company is going, strong leadership and good values. We have all of it, and a history which few other football clubs, far less companies, can muster.
Across town, they would kill to have this kind of interest. Only the “Real Rangers Men” have any interest in putting a penny into their club, and only then to prop up the fantasy that Sevco is the same club as the one that vanished, in a toxic cloud of debt, in 2012.
There are no fundamentals at Ibrox. Just a series of short term solutions to major problems which only saves up the trouble for another day.
Their corporate governance is a joke, which partially comes from having a convicted crook at the head of the table. His disregard for Stock Market regulations means that as long as he’s at the club there’s not a hope in Hell of them ever seeing investment from City sources, not that such hope isn’t a mere pipe dream anyway as it stands.
The club can’t get bank credit. It depends on directors soft loans to keep on the lights. It is perpetually at war with its sponsors and commercial partners. Who would touch it, with a 20 foot pole? Even when Rangers was operating out of Ibrox, as opposed to this basket case, there was not a chance of them securing one extra penny from reputable sources; this is why Whyte looked so inviting in the first place. He was the only option on the table.
The company in question here, Lindsell Train – named after its founders – made their position clear back in 2012, after Rangers collapsed. Nick Train said, ““We would never have invested in Celtic if it had had the sort of debt one knew was in Rangers.”
That is doubly true now, because although Sevco claims to have no debts – which we know is utterly false – they are still a mess.
As the high finance people sniff around Celtic – Lindsell Train how owns 14 millions shares – the only hovering around Ibrox are vultures.
That’s what Whyte was. It’s all Green was and King is.
The smell of death wafts out of Ibrox right now.
One of these clubs is on the rise.
The other is sliding into a stinking pit.
You don’t need to have watched the celebrations of this weekend to know which is which.