One of Peter Lawwell’s greatest strategic failures as our CEO was in not tapping the gigantic markets of America and the Far East.
It’s easy to say that the EPL gets all the headlines, but if we had gone out and signed a couple of US internationals or a couple of Asia’s brightest talents then we’d have had a readymade audience which would have been entirely independent of the EPL’s own show.
There is no question that our new Japanese Bhoy is being signed to play in the team; that’s a given. He’s not being signed because of the commercial potential.
He’s a footballer first and foremost, a real talent who will enhance our squad.
But the commercial potential is certainly there, and Celtic’s name is already known in that part of the world, not just from the hiring of Ange Postecoglou but from Nakamura and the other Asian players we had on the books.
Our presence there can only get stronger.
What’s more, it is clear that the best way to help our new Japanese bhoy settle is by bringing one of his countrymen to the club as well. This increases our chances of getting the kind of exposure that makes this deal worthwhile, even from a non-playing perspective.
This deal is the best thing we’ve done, commercially, in a long time.
It is smart business as well as a very good addition to the football squad.
If we add another Japanese player and we take a proper look at the other leagues in the area, we should be looking over there for our next shirt sponsor, perhaps from the tech industry.
What a change that would be from booze and betting, restrictive, UK based markets which are already frowned up on European football and might soon find themselves being limited here at home.
After years of having to change our strips when abroad, I cannot believe that we so consistently failed to land a sponsor from outside of those categories … our entire focus was one dimensional.
It is one of the things that Dominic McKay must seek to change.
Under normal circumstances, the signing of a single player from Asia would not be a sign that we were radically changing the plan … but I suspect that the plan was in the process of radically changing anyway and all this will do is give us another lever to pull on.
We must double down on it and bring in a couple of others.
Dominic McKay must then use that increased exposure in the Far East to open doors which have never been available to us before. That’s one way in which we can improve off the field, as a result of a decision taken to benefit the operation on it.
I am sure we’re now thinking in this direction.