In every industry in the UK which has suffered during the global health crisis, the offers of government assistance have been most welcomed and taken by thousands of firms up and down the country, big and small.
These loans were often the critical difference between companies living to trade another day and having to close their doors entirely.
That’s what the grants and loans are for; to help businesses survive.
When companies really need them, they are there to provide a safety net.
The same is true in football, although it’s an industry that stands apart. Clubs in Scotland were invited to dip in to a £25 million fund to keep the wolf from the door. Every club in the top flight did, except one.
Only Celtic held out. Celtic held out not because our club didn’t suffer during this but because those running our club, for all their faults and flaws, understand that those loans were there to ensure that clubs didn’t go to the wall, and there was no danger of that happening to us.
It seems that our directors understood that whilst people were losing their jobs and belts were tightening across every sector that it would be disgusting to take a survivability loan and then parade multi million pound signings.
Other clubs had no such scruples.
We know who grabbed the most money off the government’s table, and we know what they did with it.
They used it to sign the karate kid, the player who almost took off a goalkeeper’s head in the Europa League.
Celtic signed players last summer, a whole bunch of them, and spent a small fortune doing it. We got most of it back as a result of a handful of sales. We sold out our season tickets.
In short, we lived within our means. We didn’t splurge.
We never do, not even now when there are so many players required.
It is infuriating at times, but it’s also the reason the club has survived this crisis without copious infusions of emergency capital. It’s why we’ve posted profits year on year whilst others have posted losses.
When we finally do put together a share issue to recapitalise, we’ll do it from a strong position.
We won’t be doing it to pay off debts or to give the balance sheet a temporary lift.
I think the conduct of our rivals is obscene.
We can all laugh and joke about people like Kieran Maguire and the arrant nonsense he writes about the two club’s finances, but this isn’t funny in the least. We have learned in the past few months that the cost of Rangers sins is going up and up and up and I didn’t even think that was possible now that they are dead.
But this is more money from the public purse that the second Ibrox club did not need and should not have got.
Once again, a club over there is winning things built on debt, and the rest of us are picking up the bill.
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