Record breakers again, then. This time off the park, as Dafabet extends their current agreement with us for a further five years. They can see beyond the here and now, to a club that continues to fill stadiums and play in big games. And a club that continues to be the biggest in Scotland by far.
The deal is affirmation that we are the only show in town.
The timing could not be better.
We are on the eve of a brand new domestic campaign, and the contrasting commercial fortunes of the two biggest clubs are clear for all to see. This was the week when Sevco fans were forced to confront the full measure of their own board’s incompetence; the Sports Direct screw-up is perhaps the worst of all their disasters so far.
Getting a five-year sponsorship extension is a fantastic accomplishment for Peter Lawwell and the board, and that we’ve done it on terms which are being so effusively described – “record breaking”, how good is that? – is a major tribute to them. I’ve said many times that when our CEO gets on with the main part of his job, which is closing deals like this, there’s nobody like him in the business. On days like today he’s worth every penny of his salary.
There’s more money in the bank today. That strengthens Brendan’s hand significantly when he’s putting his player list to the board. He says deals are being worked on; now that Lawwell and the commercial department has closed this one lets hope they can get in some of the footballers they are supposed to be chasing.
It’s the one cloud on the horizon.
The other cloud – that of our complete financial and organisational supremacy – looms over Ibrox now like the mushrooming one from a nuclear detonation. The fallout raining down on that club at the moment is going to have the greatest impact on Steven Gerrard, as the realisation sinks in that he has taken the reigns there at a time when they are spectacularly outgunned.
What he is perhaps not fully on board with is the scale of the task in front of him.
He won’t be privy to the details of this particular agreement, but as he comes to terms, this morning, with headlines about stabbings and street fights and waits on the verdict from FARE (more on them later) this was the last reminder of where he is (and where he’s not) that he would have wanted to see.
Congratulations to everyone at Celtic Park. This is a deal that shows us at our very best and our very strongest. We do this stuff so, so well. Even if there were not a club across the city who we can compare this to and marvel at the gulf, this would still look like an achievement that should be toasted and celebrated.
It is a vote of confidence in where we are and where we’re headed.