Michael Stewart has been talking about the Ibrox finances today, and casting doubts on their ability to retain any of their “top stars” should they fail, again, to make the Champions League Groups.
Unlike some in the media, and unlike most of the Ibrox fan-base, he is not impressed by the money they’ve made getting to the Europa League semi-final.
The likliehood is that Ibrox has probably done enough to post a modest profit this season.
I would be very surprised at this point if they weren’t able to.
Those extra European games at home bring in a minimum of £2 million each … it is probably enough to forestall any further director’s loans to keep the lights on for this campaign.
But one good run in Europe and one year of profit in the last ten does not change the brutal equation that faces that club. They do not make enough to sustain their business at the current level. They cannot rely on such good fortune in continental competition every single year. The club spends more than it earns, and that can’t be sustained.
So Stewart is correct; sooner or later, something has to give and in the last three transfer windows at Ibrox they have barely spent a penny in fees. That’s doable if you are adding to an established squad but a number of their players are out of contract this summer and others are out of contract this time next year.
If they don’t bring in fees for these guys, where is the money to buy their replacements going to come from?
I thought that our directors did outstanding business this summer, in outgoings as well as incomings. The outgoings enabled the manager to bring quality in the door, and whilst he gets the credit for the quality of the signings the board must get their share for backing him and for making sure that we got the best possible deals for the players who left.
Ibrox’s directors have been saying for years that they need to follow the Celtic model if they are ever to make consistent profits; what they won’t admit is that they have been trying to, and to no avail.
The idea that they will suddenly earn megabucks deals for players in their final year, when they have failed to sell those players for that kind of money up until now is for the birds. They will be lucky to get a quarter of what they claim these guys are worth.
And that is a major problem for them, and this is what Michael Stewart is alluding to.
But as I frequently say on this site, we don’t operate here with special knowledge or secret information.
For all people occasionally scorn this site and others like it when we predict that Ibrox is in financial trouble the facts bear out our version over and over again; that club posts losses year on year on year on year and they have to be covered by director’s loans. They are, by definition, running on empty.
Everything we’ve been saying is true.
Yet where do we get that information from? How come we’re able to predict this stuff with such surety? The old joke over on the Ibrox forums is that if you want to know what’s going on behind the scenes at their club, “ask a Celtic fan.”
It’s funny because it’s objectively humorous … what makes it objectively humorous is that it’s 100% true.
They refuse to face the facts.
The Scottish media refuses to write them, by and large.
But Stewart has simply looked at the same data we all have access to – it’s there in their accounts, year on year, in the profit and loss statements and in the financial projections.
Just because others refuse to talk about it or acknowledge it, that doesn’t make it less true.
And the truth is that if they are to remain competitive in even the short to medium term, they are going to have to spend huge sums of money on their team … and if they don’t have a very, very good summer in terms of sales that money will not be there.
The only other way to get it is to reach the Champions League Groups, and probably more than once.
Failure to win this title is an absolute disaster for them.
Whatever they spent on loan fees and modest transfers in January, it was their last throw of the dice both in trying to grab that big bounty and in preventing us from doing so.
And although they weren’t able to spend a lot, they sunk a minimum of £2 million into that ridiculous deal for Ramsey … God alone knows what they paid Manchester United to take the wonderkid.
But those acts of desperation demonstrate clearly that their club is not capable of making the kind of moves that we are.
Their transfer business also proves that they don’t have anything like the scouting system that we do, and for which Ross Wilson has been massively hyped.
Their operation is built on sand, and Stewart at least is willing to say so.
Yet it’s as I said; he has no access to secret information or anything of that sort.
He simply knows how to add up, to do basic math, and to appreciate that we are so much better at this stuff than the club across the city. We’ve moved ahead of them.
If they’re going to catch us they need to get everything right, because Ange doesn’t get much wrong.
They are in a lot of trouble, barring the Europa League pipedream coming to fruition.
If I were them, I’d be getting ready for some hard, hard times.