Celtic has tonight released its interim accounts for the first half of this campaign, and to be perfectly frank they are pretty astonishing, showing the club healthily in profit.
The pre-tax figure is a shockingly good £33 million, leaving us with an in-bank cash surplus of £50 million … more than enough to see us through a lot of rainy days if they come.
Celtic’s finances are incredibly strong, as these figures prove, and this after we’ve given Ange the funds to rebuild the entire playing squad in the space of just 18 months. Who could have known back at the start of his tenure, when we looked to be in a really bad place and where some thought that with perhaps a year, or even two, of rebuilding we might even be competitive … instead of that we’re utterly dominant and making money hand over fist.
Part of this is the Ange Factor. Part of it is that we’ve just become incredibly good at this, and our ability to post figures like these continues to cast a dark shadow over the club across the city, a club which subsists on director’s loans and other borrowing.
Clearly, we have nothing to fear whatever regulations UEFA introduce, and we can continue to fund the manager and his plans far into the future. This is how every club should be run, and the proof that they are not can be seen all over Europe.
Income for the first half of the campaign topped out at £75 million. The caveat here should be that we have no European football to look forward to until next season, but this is a jump of nearly 45% from last year, and that means we’re going to be pretty near the £100 million in turnover mark … a significant achievement and a high-water mark which shows our strength.
It’s chump change compared to what English clubs get; the bottom club in the EPL earns more than that from its TV rights alone, but we can spend all our time staring across the fence at that ridiculous and bloated league or we can focus on the things that we’re doing right and well and by God that is obvious when you look at numbers such as these.
Lawwell is in the right place at the right time to take advantage of this, but let’s not overlook the fact that one of the reasons we’re in this great position right now is that he is no longer in the CEO’s office where his judgement was impaired and his ego too great.
It is to be hoped that he contents himself now with the role of the showy front-man whilst others do the heavy lifting and put in place the strategic vision which he, himself, lamentably failed to.
But he is entitled to this day, and the whole of the board is entitled to this day, and the anticipation of even better days to come.
We’re stronger than we have been in a long, long time and these results show that the support of the fans continues to be the absolutely critical factor in that, because without us there wouldn’t be any transfer kitty for the boss, no money sitting in the bank and no profits to speak of.
This triumph is ours as much as anything, but it would be beyond churlish not to say that at this moment we are indisputably in a great place and looking as if we could hold our position at the top of the game here for years to come, and that’s in large part because we are exceptionally well run.
Frankly, I don’t see where a sustained – or sustainable – challenge to us comes from as long as we can produce figures like this. What it makes clear is that try as they might, the club across the city continues to operate in the shadow of the Parkhead colossus.