As some Scottish football clubs start to consider drastic cuts, it is good to know that the BBC has their eyes on the ball.
It is good to know that they’ve gone back, over years of facts and figures, and produced journalism that is insightful and brilliant.
It is good that they’re delivering the kind of hard hitting analysis that the public needs.
If you’re reading that and wondering what the Hell I’m talking about then congratulations to you; you pay more attention than the BBC does. Because, of course, they did none of that. This weekend they took a look at once club; ours.
And they didn’t base it on evidence but on the honest words of Neil Lennon. The rest was idiotic presumption.
Who is Brian McLaughlin? Celtic fans of a certain vintage will remember the name. He’s one of our ex-players. He is not a financial analyst. He is not an expert. He has probably never studied a cash flow statement or sheaf of accounts in his life.
Yet based on Lennon’s very honest admission that Celtic is not immune from the hardships facing the rest of the world he has pronounced doom. Celtic, he says, have the biggest wage bill in the country.
So obviously, that has to be eating into the finances right?
Even with that £30 million surplus, he says, as though he understands everything.
First up, our club has already taken steps to limit the damage.
We’ve deferred salaries for players and coaches. We’ve furloughed some of the non-essential staff. The club has also been selling season tickets; we aren’t broadcasting our numbers, but there will be enough money sitting in the bank to run the club for a significant period of time.
Even without a single football match being played, even without a single penny coming in, our surplus would have allowed us to run the club for roughly six months. Beyond that, yes, we would have had problems, big problems. But between the action we’ve taken, the season ticket cash, the expected cheque from UEFA for our European run and money in the bank as our advance on the Adidas deal, I reckon we’re probably in decent enough shape.
But some in the press have chosen to focus on Lennon’s remarks – as this site predicted the media would – and amplify them to reach the conclusion they want. Yet even as I write this, the BBC has just published a story hailing the Ibrox NewCo for selling 30,000 season tickets.
The BBC, like every other news outlet, has swallowed every single word that has come out of Ibrox since this crisis began.
Not one club in Britain is pretending to be immune from this, except for them, and our press has lamentably neglected to do its job. Sevco needed £10 million in additional income to get through the last campaign; that was under optimal conditions and European football.
How the Hell are they meant to get through this one?
Nobody wants to know.
Instead the hacks are writing stories about how great everything over there is, as though the entire media has become an extension of the Ibrox PR machine.
Celtic’s wage bill is in the highest in the country, but as a percentage of income it is lower than Sevco’s. Sevco is the most dependent club in Europe on gate receipts.
Selling a lot of season tickets will help, but that’s still ten thousand less than in the last campaign and even if they qualify for the Europa League Groups they will not get the income for those matches they would have last year.
They are in a dire position.
Anyone with the most simplistic understanding of hard numbers can do the sums here perfectly well.
I don’t mind the media writing over-dramatic pish about Celtic, just so long as they are being honest about the plight of other clubs and refusing to swallow the public relations line. I don’t mind scrutiny of Celtic’s situation, as long as it is honest and they subject others to the same.
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