As I said earlier when I posted my piece on the Celtic fans – read it here and spread it around; we’re special, it sometimes helps to be reminded of that – let’s do a little good news for once.
Let’s do a couple of articles on why this club is actually in a better position than it looks like at the moment.
There is a lot of speculation about the internal state of the club floating around, much of it ignoring our fundamental strengths.
So let’s have a look at what those are.
The club’s financial position is probably healthier than some of the speculation would suggest.
We sold out our season tickets last summer, and whilst we lost a lot on match-day revenue we also saved a lot on match-day costs.
We spent money in the transfer market, but we also brought a tidy sum in, especially from the sale of Frimpong.
Our pot of money may have shrunk, but this is what the pot of money was for.
Rainy day funds are for precisely that; rainy days.
We have just gone through a big one.
There will be effects, especially as we were deprived European and domestic cup competition gate money – which is a big hit, easily in the mid-seven figures – but we’re in no danger.
In some areas of the finances, this has been a better year than it seems.
Shirts sales have been strong and steady, although nobody has had a chance to wear them out and about.
The club is still selling DVD’s and books and all that other stuff … perhaps more of it than ever as a lot of us have had a lot of times on our hands to sit and watch TV and read.
Nobody is going to kid on that things are tickety-boo, but ignore any harbingers of doom.
The same people who are telling you why Celtic are in trouble are the same people saying that everything at Ibrox is okay; we’re not the ones who needed director’s loans just to keep on the lights. One of these clubs is financially robust, the other isn’t.
It helps to remind yourself as to which one is which.
We will lose money from this season; that much we can say for sure.
It’ll be the first year in a while that we’ve posted a significant loss … but it won’t be as significant as many people think and it should not do serious damage to the club.
The global health emergency has hit us hard, but we’re still standing.
Once the club gets its act together – and it has to – the season ticket sales will solidify, especially if the managerial appointment is the right one and he starts to quickly implement his plan.
We are running out of time, and need our club to work better than it hasn’t before … but if we get even part of the job done before the qualifiers – as long as it’s the right part – we might be more ready than many people think.
It’ll be tight. But it’s doable.
We must have short-lists. We must have targets in mind.
Once the manager has his feet under the desk we can hit the ground running … and we need to.
Having the money to do the rebuild is everything, and not only will we be able to fund it from our season ticket sales, but we’ll have player sales on top of that.
This does not place us in any jeopardy because it’s assumed that some form of recapitalisation will be required at some point, and not only has it been a long time since we had a share issue, but the fans are almost eager for one if it gives us greater authority in how the club is run.
So we have funding options too, aside from the strength of the club in the first place.
If it seems like a gamble, consider the prize; a guaranteed Group Stage place in the Champions League.
That’s a reward worth going the extra mile for, and we’re able to.
The reason for this sudden burst of optimism is that when you look at the fundamentals of our club we are still strong.
Look, I am not granting an alibi or a Get Out Of Jail card to anyone at the moment, but the way our club has been run – prudently, within its means, establishing a rainy day fund, signing good commercial deals far in excess of what our rivals can – has set up us for a moment such as this.
Not only is it survivable, but we can come out of the other side strong … perhaps even stronger than we went into it.
In the days ahead it will pay to remember that.