Yesterday, Paul Brennan posted a piece on the need for Ibrox to submit accounts to UEFA. The reason for his post is that 18 October was the deadline to do this. He seemed to think they were simply the annualised figures.
I spoke to the ever-excellent Phil Mac Giolla Bháin today and he said of far greater importance was their need to file what’s known as future financial information.
This is what replaces the current FFP system as we know it right now. The need for a company to show how it intends to pay its next bunch of bills. In terms of wages to turnover he reckons the club will probably be alright … but he also hears that’s not their only concern.
Now, with UEFA watching and already looking at the club, there can be little doubt that those accounts have been lodged with the European governing body. Ibrox might not believe that it has to respect the SFA but it has always been afraid of the powers that be in Nyon.
The putting together of account is not complicated; Celtic’s have been in the public domain for a month now, in part because this deadline was coming up. But future financial projections are not quite so easy to build, although any company going for a bank loan has to have something in that order to show how they intend to pay it back.
Paul has speculated on why the Ibrox club is yet to release their accounts. Whatever Phil is hearing in the background suggests that they have a good reason. Those accounts should be decent; they reached a European final and sold Nathan Patterson, so there should be no red ink, although there will substantial payments to Mike Ashley in there.
But we all watched what happened in the summer. We all watched as their club did everything in its power to flog at least one high profile player. The manager wasn’t given even a third of the money, which has resulted in a squad which is severely undermanned in certain critical areas. Their fans are baffled by it and more than a little angry as well.
In the interim, their board briefed the media on why the money they had to hand was less than some surmised. They have clearly prepared the spin in advance, and yet even having done so there are no signs of published accounts.
What is in those accounts that is so grim that they want to keep it from their fans as long as possible?
And what does that mean for their future financial projections?
It is hard to imagine that those accounts will show another loss. If they do then that’s disastrous because in a year when they have an extended European run and in which they get a large sum for a player – and in which they didn’t spend significantly – you would expect everything in the garden to be rosy. If it’s not … well, that doesn’t mean anything good.
It means in a season where they don’t reach the Champions League and don’t manage to sell a key player that they will struggle no matter what else they are able to do. There is now zero appetite for their board funding losses … and UEFA are watching and that means that they couldn’t’ do it now even if they wanted to.
Those accounts almost certainly contain something heavy, something that will either confirm the worst fears of their shareholders – that they are being consistently misled – or bad news to prepare them for hard times. Either way … they will be fun.
And in the meantime, the press here would rather invent nonsense than look into a real story. I wrote a lengthy piece the other day on the numerous issues at Ibrox right now and the number of key people they’ve seen leave recently, and this whilst the takeover story was reaching its anti-climax. Something doesn’t add up here.
One card-carrying journalist – just one; Phil Mac Giolla Bháin, based in Ireland – is willing to dig around and ask questions. It’s not that the press here isn’t capable of doing that job, it is that they just don’t seem to want to.
That alone is worth pondering.