For the last few weeks, the focus of our media and our support has been on Celtic.
The blogs have written about very little else, even those, like this one, who keep an eye on events in the wider game. Yet a lot has happened outside of our club as we’ve been indulging in self-flagellation and naval gazing in recognition of the risks to our quest for the ten.
That quest is in a perilous place and nobody should pretend otherwise. We have a way to go before we can say we’re back on form or playing as well as we should. Even then, questions will remain about whether we can go to Ibrox in December and win.
We cannot count on the club across the city imploding.
We cannot count on there being some kind of meltdown over there.
But it bears repeating that this is not out of the question.
We’re still in the midst of a global health emergency and the pressures on all businesses are enormous, but especially football clubs and especially in Scotland.
Yesterday came and went without something I had expected to happen.
I thought it would see the publication of the Ibrox club’s annual accounts, which as of 1 November are now overdue by nearly a fortnight.
The last set were published on that date last year, on the eve of the League Cup Semi-Finals, a Friday night, to avoid the major scrutiny of the press.
It seemed like the right time; they had just pulled off another debt-for-equity switcheroo that might have allowed them to put a positive gloss on the numbers for the current campaign, which goes into the accounts as part of their projection for the rest of this season.
But there would have been no way to hide the results from last season; when those accounts come out the picture is going to be overwhelmingly grim. Friday night seems to be their favourite time for dropping dire news on the fans.
That’s why I thought that they would have done it yesterday. It was perfect timing, after a Scotland win which will dominate the news cycle for days to come. Either they’ve missed a trick or what’s in those figures is so ghastly that they don’t want to reveal it.
The Ibrox club didn’t produce six monthly figures either, although they would have had to submit them to the SFA as part of their licensing protocols. Perhaps this is why their licensing certificate is neither Platinum (Celtic’s level) or Gold, which is held by the likes of Hibs.
It was Dave King who removed the club from any of the stock market exchanges; having to resubmit themselves to full accountability is one of the reasons they’ve not yet re-entered one.
Their funding sources are opaque if we’re being generous; the one thing we can for sure is that the club isn’t being used a laundry.
No significant funds appear to be going out to cronies or “onerous contracts” as before … although how would we know, with no accounts and only the most basic details in those which they do submit annually now?
It is high time the whole licensing system in Scotland was overhauled.
This is not a minor matter; this is serious stuff.
If certain clubs are allowed to financially dope then every other club is operating at a competitive disadvantage, including ours.
Those accounts, when they come out, are going to be disastrous. This we know already. The media gave us a pounding because profits had fallen during a global crisis. I said when ours came out and we had to deal with that firestorm of negativity that the press would handle the Ibrox ones very differently when they were published … but a fortnight after they were due nobody in the press corps seems to want to know why or when they are coming out.
No amount of positive spin is going to change what’s in them though.
Look out for them within the week … it’s hard to see how they can go longer than that without producing something.