As you’ll probably have seen – it has been widely covered on the other sites – our friend Swiss Ramble has produced an incredible thread on how much we might earn from Champions League Group Stage participation next season. The numbers are mind blowing, with a guaranteed £30 million from qualification cash and TV income alone.
This of course says nothing for ticket sales, which will be substantial, and add even more cash to the kitty. The estimates of a £40 million take are not exaggerated. This is the ballpark we’ll be in even if we fail to win a single point.
But we can earn much, much, much more if we do win games of course.
And that, my friends, is where the really great news lies.
Because a pot of gold which is half as big again awaits us if we get three wins in the Group and go through … that could add as much as £20 million more to the take and give us a further Champions League round after Xmas.
All we have to do – and it’s not as easy as it sounds, of course – is rebuild Fortress Parkhead.
Three homes wins and I think we’ll be in good shape.
Nine points is usually enough to get you through the Groups of a major competition, although I’ve seen unlucky sides go out with that total and incredible ones with the luck of the devil go through on eight.
There was a time when our home ground was one of the most feared in Europe. Crucially, our home form, domestically, has been exceptional under Ange. We also beat Betis, AZ, Jablonec and Ferencvaros here last season in Europe.
We’ve all been a bit spooked by the Bodo/Glimt result, I think.
Before that people had looked at our Europa League form and were pretty confident.
Certainly, if we did have qualifiers to play and we’d been drawn against Midtjylland for next season there would be none of the trepidation we all had going into that game at the start of this one … we’d be very confident.
The Champions League is a different playground entirely though, of course, and its harsh and unforgiving nature has exposed better teams than us. We need at least a partially favourable draw, but the likliehood is that we will get at least one of the super clubs and that’s a simple fact of football life which we have to face up to.
It’s also a fact that we have a manager whose first instinct will be to go toe-to-toe with that team and try to punch them out. Which guarantees us a white knuckle ride and a half, and especially in the away fixture. At home though … well you’d have said that at home we should always have a chance, and so it might prove to be here.
The preparations will have to be excellent, of course, but we have the insurance policy of knowing that money is in the bank. It’s not a theoretical prize, it’s real, it’s a tangible, we have our hands around it. So really, there will be no excuse whatsoever if the transfer business is left to late, if we’re scrambling about at the last minute trying to do deals.
But with a summer to properly prepare, and the best summer we’ve seen in well over a decade, with no need to endure qualifying fixtures – and we’ve played a minimum of three rounds per season in that time, which is incredibly draining early in a season – I think we’ll be as ready for those Groups as we can possibly be.
If we get the home form right, the prize will be immense … not to mention the restoration of our profile and the belief that we belong on that stage.