The Record has published a piece today where they have pointed out that Sevco’s decision to sign two players already is somewhat abnormal. No other club in Europe is trying to do as much business at the one from Ibrox. It’s as if the insanity of it isn’t obvious.
What is going on at Ibrox? Nobody in the mainstream press – save for Michael Stewart, who alone has dared to ask questions – seems to want to know.
Yet there might not be anything with more destabilising potential in the top flight.
A recent report identified their club as amongst the most at-risk in Europe; indeed, the survey of 100 sides had them at first in the list of those in greatest peril. They needed £10 million in external funding to get through the last campaign, and that was with everything running at peak performance. They had full houses every week. They had some semblance of merchandising income. They had group stage European football. Yet they were running at a loss.
How is that club supposed to survive when all the old certainties have already been swept away?
Season ticket sales will take a major hit; it’s not clear how much of one, but it’s not likely to be small in scale. Merchandising is a joke. Their deal with Castore has gotten zero real scrutiny, but nothing about it adds up to anything but trouble.
European football is by no means guaranteed.
We don’t know what the qualification path is going to be, but I have a bad feeling it’s going to be pretty perilous for clubs playing in Scotland. I wouldn’t be surprised if we had to settle for the Europa League groups again because UEFA had made it nearly impossible for us to get to the big table.
Sevco is facing a dire financial situation, one where the only clear path through it is to sell some high earners for major money.
And I don’t think there will be a single club interested in buying their over-priced dreck.
I know the signing of the kid from Leicester is to clear a path for them punting Barisic, but they’re not going to get the mammoth fee for him that they’ve got their hopes pinned on. The move for a Leicester reserve right back is obviously about finding a quick replacement for Tavernier as well, but again it depends on them getting the money for their current captain that they claim it would take. The same applies to Alfredo Morelos, the Excitable Boy.
Sevco is behaving as if football hasn’t been radically upended. There is no logic to what they are doing, and don’t even look for any. Even if they were to sell every single season ticket, football matches generate income from sources other than ticket money and that cash is lost to the Ibrox club. Season ticket cash will sit in the bank but every day the pile will dwindle until it’s all gone; that will not take very long at the rate they burn through it over there.
Major challenges loom for them. There are three months of deferred wages that they have to make up to their players for starters. King is said to want the return of nearly £7 million that he loaned them. If their European adventure ends in disaster that club will fall into a hole they might not be able to climb out of … and none of this even considers the simple day-to-day bleed out that happens at every football club, no matter how great or small.
Two SPL clubs – Celtic and Ross County – have spent money on coronavirus testing machines; Sevco has not yet done so. Are they really that skint? How can you plead poverty on something like that but still parade footballers as signings?
The Record report this morning breathlessly suggests that Sevco might be about to add Rhian Brewster of Liverpool on loan; the obvious excitement in the newspaper’s office over the prospect of securing another Anfield reserve is readily apparent in the piece. What’s not so visible is any sign that all this is insane. The piece points out that Sevco is one of the only clubs in Europe to do business … it does not ask if that is a dangerous strategy for the club to pursue.
Football journalism in Scotland is virtually non-existent.
But thankfully we do have the blogs keeping an eye on all this.
Even without us, most people are capable of doing basic maths and a sophomoric understanding of economics tells you that what that club is involved in is completely unsustainable. Money does not appear by magic.
The books have to balance. Directors cannot keep paying the bills out of their own pockets; UEFA won’t allow it for starters.
The Record doesn’t want to ask hard questions of Ibrox. Surprise, surprise. But there have to be people at that paper who know all of this is lunacy, and that Sevco should be preparing their fans for the tough choices they are definitely going to have to make.
Instead they’ve opted for more public relations. It never changes.
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