If there is one question we should be asking our board of directors in the aftermath of last week’s financial figures I feel that it’s this one; why don’t we have a magic money tree?
We have a billionaire on the board, but our club is built on the player trading model which sees us progressively weaken from every position of strength we reach until we’re no longer strong. The shambles of this summer is the natural result of that model.
Other clubs appear to have money on tap.
So either they have a bottomless well of it or there is, somewhere in the vicinity of their ground, a magic money tree. Which begs the question; if they have one of those, why don’t we? And when are we getting one? I call this failure a classic case of sleeping at the wheel.
There are other explanations, of course, for how the operations of other clubs are funded.
If you conclude that bottomless wells of cash don’t exist outside of the sheiks and oligarchs, and once you accept that magic money trees are about as real as magical beanstalk beans then it leaves only a handful of other options, including “the proceeds of crime.”
Celtic has consistently posted profits. Our club is healthy and robust and we know exactly how it was done and who paid for what. We can account for every penny.
But we exist in a football environment where another club has continuously posted losses. Huge losses. Our £11 million deficit from last season was made up partly from our cash reserves and we only managed to limit the damage because we flogged a footballer for £12 million.
How did other clubs survive it?
How, specifically, did one specific other club survive it on top of the losses they had already made in the years prior to it?
Their losses for last season must be several degrees of magnitude worse than ours, yet still they stand with a squad they added to, without having made a single sale.
Does anyone on our board care? Are any of them capable of doing the maths, because the maths don’t add up. There is no billionaire over there, no sugar daddy investor, nobody who has the wherewithal to carry the kind of losses that they must have made.
Are we to assume that this doesn’t concern anyone at Celtic Park?
Good God, there is sleeping at the wheel and there is watching what might be the next big scandal unfolding across the city and doing nothing about it.
They don’t have vast resources. They don’t have a surplus.
None of their directors has the kind of money which would have been required to fund the last five years of loss making, a situation made exponentially worse by the health emergency. Their failure to reach the Champions League groups was certainly consequential, but who’s picking up the tab?
We are a PLC. As a shareholder led organisation the board of directors is derelict in its duty if it is not asking how a major rival can afford to keep spending money it plainly does not have. If we were chasing a procurement contract instead of a league title and they were submitting substantially lower bids than we were, loaded down with guarantees which on paper were impossible to reconcile with reality, we’d be demanding an investigation.
What exactly is our board doing whilst these questions demand answers? That ancient excuse about it being none of our business is plainly ridiculous in light of the stakes here. Of course this is our damned business; how can it not be?
Who is taking this issue seriously? Are we content to allow what might potentially be dark money to be funnelled through another SPL club? Have we not had our fill of being cheated yet? The questions are simple; how are they meeting their obligations? How are they financing their operation? Where is the cash coming from to pay the damned bills?
If they’ve found the secret to mining money from a hole in the ground, then that’s something we should probably be looking into. If they have a magic money tree, then great; when are we getting ours and how long will it take to grow?
Other than that, they ought to be put under pressure and asked to give a full accounting of their funding sources. If Celtic isn’t demanding that then we’re more than sleeping at the wheel; our board is either grossly negligent or worse.
Some might even think we were complicit.