The recent accounts were outstanding. What they revealed about our club’s “cash in hand” position has been reported on, but the implications of it have not been widely explored.
We have £30 million in the bank, as a surplus which performs two major functions.
The first is of crucial importance and we ought not to overlook how significant it is. This is the protection it gives us against some possible future disaster. COVID should have taught us that this is more than possible. The world is a dangerous and scary place and any number of things can go wrong, and any number of calamities can befall us and the game.
Scottish football, in particular, faces a number of major challenges. Imagine sponsorship money tanks in light of Ibrox’s little game with the SPFL, as some of us are very concerned that it might.
I know that our rivals obsess over certain legal cases; it is highly probable that Celtic’s insurers are all over that issue, but if they are not this is the kind of cushion we need to be able to settle the matter one way or another.
That snatches away their greatest hope.
So that’s first. It protects us from cold winds, whichever direction they blow in from.
Although these things are unlikely they are possible … and we’ve learned that from a season and a half of total disruption due to the pandemic. It is a lesson we won’t soon forget.
The other thing it affords us is the opportunity to invest further in critical infrastructure. This, in fact, is one of the things Michael Nicholson talked about in his CEO statement. And whilst on the surface some modest enhancements to the match-day experience might not necessarily get the pulse racing, we should not play them down either.
We know the club has been sitting on major infrastructure projects for a couple of years now, but there are two things that we need to remember in light of them. First, the initial outlay might be so large that the rewards would need to be big enough to justify it. And secondly, these projects would take years to stay paying off even if we started right now.
There’s an argument, of course, for saying they should have been begun years ago … that’s valid but it might well be that we didn’t have the wherewithal at that time.
Maybe we do now. Only those inside the club know that for sure.
There is one key area where there could be changes; the stadium capacity.
That pays dividends almost at once, and if we put another ten thousand seats on the capacity it would reap rewards in the millions from the day that the work was completed.
I know the bean-counters have looked at that. I know they have to be thinking about it.
The costs of doing it would be huge … but so would the potential rewards and they would be immediate and lasting. This has to be part of the thinking and at some point you really do think that we have to get real about it and take the plunge.
That £30 million is massive for us. It’s not just money sitting there doing nothing.
It gives us strength and it gives us options.
It is a triumph that we’ve managed to build such a war-chest and put a winning team on the park at the same time.