It’s Hard To See What Celtic Would Gain From A “Multi-Club Model.”

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Pat Bonner thinks that Celtic are missing a trick and that Dermot Desmond should be trying to get us to adopt a “multi-club model” in the manner of Manchester City. He points to their successes in the past ten or so years as the proof that it works.

Now, it should be said that he’s talking, first and foremost, about us buying a team in the League of Ireland. Or rather, he’s talking about Dermot Desmond doing it, and turning them into an extension of Celtic. But really, why would we bother?

For openers, Man City’s multi-club organisation, The City Group, is not the reason they are so successful. They are successful because the key club, Man City itself, is lavishly funded to a ridiculous degree and they can afford to outspend every club in Europe.

Bonner does not understand the multi-club model if he thinks it’s responsible for their success. In fact, the multi-club model is more about branding than anything else, and the day Celtic needs something like this to better brand ourselves in Ireland will be a bad one.

I’m fairly sure we’ve gotten as much exposure over there as we could ever get.

The multi-club model, as it works at City, may one day prove to be a success in terms of bringing players through, but so far you cannot find a single example of that model developing a player or giving them access to a signing they couldn’t have gotten on their own just by virtue of their enormous cash pile. It’s not brought them a single benefit in that sense.

Secondly, Dermot Desmond does not own Celtic and so what exactly does Bonner think enables him to adopt such a thing even if he wanted to? That would need to go to a vote of the Celtic board, and probably actually the shareholders and a full cost-benefit analysis done on the idea. Does Bonner think that money grows on trees at Celtic? Running a multi-club organisation is a vastly expensive undertaking, way beyond anything Celtic itself is capable of.

Which brings us to the final point, and one Bonner appears not to understand. Desmond does not fund Celtic at the present time. We are where we are because we run on a prudent basis. He seems to be under the misapprehension, shared by others in the media, that Desmond bankrolls this club. He does not. That would be us, the fans.

Celtic does not want an oligarch, not even an Irish billionaire who has been at the club for decades now. We do not have oligarch wealth, and a scheme like this requires you to have oligarch wealth. Would I like to see a Celtic in every corner of the world? Sure I would, but it would need to be paid for and without sugar-daddy ownership or becoming the plaything of some petro-state there’s no way we could afford even to put one foot on that ladder.

It’s a nice idea, in theory … I just don’t see what material benefit it would bring to us, or how we would fund it. Besides, the media has enough angles of attack … imagine we owned a second club for them to take shots at? I would never get a minute to myself!

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