Celtic’s Financial Results Are Astounding, But There Are More Than Numbers In There.

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I read Celtic’s financial returns just then with great interest, and wry amusement.

£40 million before tax. The last thing that other people in Scottish football, already living in the shadow of Celtic, and gravely concerned by our financial muscle, wanted to see.

The profit of £33 million after tax is a record.

Even accounting for “exceptional items”, we’d still have secured a massive sum of money here, and with next season’s Champions League bounty in our sights there’s a chance that in the next financial year we might go higher still.

The figures, I’ll break down properly in another article. But there are more than just numbers to be found in these figures. There is a lengthy Chairman’s report as well, as is standard with financial returns, and it is there that one of the more interesting little nuggets is to be found, if it’s a proper representation of what those inside the club intend.

It’s a nod and wink towards the manager, and towards some of us as fans.

“Our successfully proven strategy has delivered stability and footballing success over many years and remains the same,” Lawwell writes. Which I read and felt rising anger about.

But then comes the next bit, and the next bit is a littler bit different.

“We must balance the signing of players that can be developed and sold when conditions are optimal alongside the need to sign players who are able to make an immediate impact and deliver footballing success. The execution of this strategy is increasingly challenging owing to wage and transfer inflation, but this formula has underpinned both our footballing success and financial stability over a number of years now and it is vital that we adhere to it.”

It’s right there in the first sentence, and although he puts his little caveat on the back and tries to camouflage it as part of the current strategy, that line about “the need to sign players who are able to make an immediate impact” is not even a particularly coded way of assuring us that there is a recognition that the projects are not enough.

I think it’s a step towards the manager, although Lawwell doesn’t want to just say that, because that might mean admitting that the summer didn’t deliver all it could. That we have an incredible £72 million sitting in the bank, and not out on the pitch, will rankle with some people … for me, I understand why big cash reserves aren’t a bad thing.

We live in an increasingly uncertain and volatile world. COVID is the lesson we ought not to have needed and would rather not have gotten, but it happened and we dealt with it because this club was in rude financial health.

Whatever our challenges are, the club will be able to deal with them. Our recently announced infrastructure spending is only possible because Celtic has that cash to hand, and days like this are how we got there.

Still, that part of Lawwell’s statement stands out a mile; “We must balance the signing of players that can be developed and sold when conditions are optimal alongside the need to sign players who are able to make an immediate impact and deliver footballing success.”

Because he clearly makes the distinction between those players and the projects, and so it cannot be anything other than a tacit acknowledgement that the policy needs to change with the times.

This is the thing that we were all asking for this summer – and when I say all of us I include the manager in that – and did not get, and I don’t care how that message has been conveyed, I’m just pleased that it was.

In January we’ll see if they live up to it.

More on these numbers tomorrow, but for tonight I think the club and the fans can be rightfully proud. We have been successful without spending more than we earn, and I have always taken an immense amount of satisfaction in that, and I always will.

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  • Wee Gerry says:

    This has the reek of his Rory Bremner Sevco gag, a one line acknowledgment that will have no effect on the future as usual.

    Who was the last experienced player we signed In preparation for the CL?

    That old dog will never change his dividend spinning tricks and the fcat we have 72 mil in the bank and not on the park is a damning indictment of his total contempt for the Celtic team and support.

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    Covid is the lesson and we dealt with it – Only Sevco dealt with it far better – (albeit no fans was a massive aid to them for sure)…

    Lawwell and Lenny – The men that blew the ten – I’m still bloody hurting and badly about that –

    Good figures and look forward to the dissecting of them by The Celtic Blog !

    • Stesano says:

      Those two bassas should never be near our great club again!! Lennon was a total fraud that had never any right in being our manager lawell a bean counter that was employed by the old board for God’s sake!! He created a real nepotism at our club and made himself millions at same time a disgrace same with Lennon no big club would ever took him on! Disgraceful he got that job twice!! And we know why alright!

    • Wee Gerry says:

      Sevco didn’t have to deal with Covid at tall!

      The oniy team in world football to never have even one case until it was practically all over.

      How they got away with that is beyond fishy and clearly part of a broader plan which also likely involved Peter Lawwell since he was the man who consciously and deliberately got rid of our entire defence in Gordon, Lustig, Hayes & Jozo before that horrendous season had even began.

      And how he got away that and is still in building shows the levels of nepotism and corruption which are the two main pillars on which an our so called ‘well run club’ is truly founded, the well run club who have NEVER invested money on a few experienced players in preparation for the Champions League.

  • John L says:

    I think and I hope, that what I take from this is, in January we may well sign 2 players that will go straight into the team and more if we lose any first team star’s. We live in hope and we are an extremely well organised establishment.

    • Wee Gerry says:

      Great Thinking!

      Buy the experience needed for the CL in January, once we’re out instead of July when we need them!

      That’s the way to do it!

  • SSMPM says:

    I found much of what PL said to be more representative of the money man approach and the need to keep the financial aspects to the fore and less of course about the footballing aspects.
    It’s interesting also that PL commented on the need to have money in the bank to compensate for when we’ve not qualified for the CL and are instead in the EL. It’s sounds financially sound but is it not also representative of a lack of investment in the required talent to help maintain or even increase what’s at the club already and develop the stadium.
    If we increased the talent in the squad perhaps we would have a greater opportunity of being in the CL groups year on year, more often than not, particularly when we have to go through the qualifiers and occasional unwanted slip ups.
    It’s a harsh reality that the other Scottish teams amass far too few points to go towards the coefficient so occasionally it’s also a harsh reality that winning the league is not enough to get automatically to the group stages. Not forgetting of course that we haven’t done particularly well in the EL with non capable EL players let alone CL players.
    I don’t mind having a cautious approach, a minimum reserve pot of money, but when that very top down finance only approach is the thing that contributes or even blocks better talent coming to the club, even preventing us from doing well in the EL then the balance isn’t being struck.
    More’s to the point, while we have money in the bank, get the capacity increased and the 4th stand built, whilst also achieving a board pleasuring increase in future season ticket income. The rainy day apocalyptic board prediction will not come and if it was too then we’ve never been in a better position to prepare and be ready for it. Why wait? We have a huge fan waiting list and we won’t have to go into debt for a total and complete Paradise. HH

    • Stesano says:

      I agree especially in regards to the stadium, why the hold up?! No big club in our position would operate like this finish the ground make it symetrical, my background iis in construction and engineering and we have so much space and it be built to be finished!! It’s actually a disgrace it not been touched in 25 years those two corners could be buillt up first then steel extended from each corner say starting first phase march as days get longer then the main stand done the whole following year totally complete in 18 months. But under lawell in this Tory board not a chance they couldn’t care less the all walked into the ground as it is!! Fergus done more in 3 years than any then have in 25!! That ain’t right!

    • Stesano says:

      I meant the ground was build to be finished as in a complete structure unlike the cespit that’s basically a bigger version of mcdairmond park+ st Johnstone)ground , basically 4 separate stands ! We have potentially one the best stadiums in Europe a real one when completed!!

    • Wee Gerry says:

      Well said!

      If these are such good business men then why have the operating costs soared to almost double in the last decade to a frightening 94.5 million and why is no one commenting on this?

      It seems that every time we have a record financial year the operating costs rise to almost the same figure and, if we subtract the Jota fee, it actually IS the same figure!

      Meaning without that 25 our running costs would be the same as our income!

      Who is allowing this to happen?

      The more I look at these men’s puffs of conjurer’s smoke the shadier the actual behind the scenes figures appear.

  • Johnno says:

    I trust the process within the club to some degree James.
    I understand that we remain as a selling club which allows for extra profits from the player trading model and the boost from CL income.
    Yet the question remains as to “Is this really going to be the height of our ambitions?”
    When are we actually going to be looking beyond success on the footballing front? Than just Scottish dominance?
    Will any supporters really going to be impressed with 72M within the bank, if another CL failure is achieved?
    Tough questions still remains, and hardly impressed with such a timing of these figures being released either.
    Unnecessary pressure placed upon the management, which is hardly great preparation on the eve of such a big match either imo.
    Money within a club can dictate to many views within it, and spending issues will always remain a topic of concern within Scottish football.
    We know the fury within the scum upon how badly money has been spent, and enjoyed all of the fall out?
    Yet have we left ourselves wide open to the same ridicule, if CL failure is to be set upon ourselves? With not investing in a sufficient manner?
    Will wait upon how the CL campaign develops before jumping to conclusions upon these so called fantastic financial figures, as maybe not as great on the pitch as they look within the bank still?
    Time will give us the answer to the present as I see it and remain uncertain which way thing’s will swing for the club currently, yet the board can sit in comfort with knowing money is available for change to the process if required, not so sure they are totally open to change either, when claiming such a financial structure remains so strong.
    Will a suitable balance ever be found?
    The millions pounds question still remains unanswered at present

  • paul obrien says:

    Could have bought a decent leftback, just saying !

    • Stesano says:

      Exactly! Crazy we have a guy no better than the Hibs left back! No offence to Greg but he never been up to it ever!! No matter how good he is ” around the place” van bean showed what he was last season and still we have him there. Then theres Bernibie another dumpling the Aussie left us with

  • king murdy says:

    yea mr lawwell…72 mil in the bank…woopee fukn doo…
    we STILL need a leftback, a goalie, a top class defensive midfielder…and another top class centre forward….
    shove yer “projects” up yer fat corporate arse…
    the height of this boards ambition is to ensure they have at least 1 point more than the govan mob at the end of the each season…if they are….then it’s job done….
    they can all congratulate themselves, along with quite a few lackey fans, that we are such a well run club….parochial supremecy…hand in hand with european mediocrity….yea…job done indeed…

  • Stesano says:

    Ok we have 40 million plus so why isn’t this main stand being built!! I don’t mind not blowing over the top money on certain players, but for God sake invest in our club finish the stadium make it symetrical show ambition blow the cretins right out the water with 72,000 seats and yes we can sell it out every 2nd week!! There 18,000 on a waiting list! Also if we can keep interest high by never employing the likes of Lennon again and always have exciting players and a top manager like Brendan. Long term we need out of this set up somehow but invest in ourselves! That main stand is an embarrassment with those poles and restricted views at each corner no big club would had this long term not a chance!! This another problem with this board and having a major shareholder in his miid 70s he the boss and that’s not ideal Fergus got 3 stands built in 3 years this lot done nothing to the ground of note in 25 years when it’s been badly needing it! Then boast of the profits! Invest it in our club!! And stadium gives us real top finished stadium or don’t they want to bury another club from that cespit!! Again a total faulty position to have but everything points to that being the case especially since 2012! Res 12 Gordon Smith and ogilvey at top jobs at he SFA doing the orc bidding and covering up the ebts while the latter received one!! All on ” big Peter” watch! Pathetic!

  • Martin.H says:

    Could have bought in a few seasoned professionals with a sprinkling of projects.

  • Bob (original) says:

    I honestly feel that the Board has misled the support,

    with the return of BR and the implied target of ‘progress in Europe’.

    Actions speak louder than words, and the transfer business in the summer

    didn’t seem to match our expectations.

    And separate to all of that,

    we had the unexpected £25M Jota windfall which could have been spent

    in its entirety – without negatively impacting the club’s financial planning.

    But the club chose not to do that.

    An opportunity missed.


  • S Thomas says:

    All well and good, but were is the experience on the pitch. We are in the champions league tonight with players who I hope can make a good account of themselves, but there should have been a couple of first team ready players alongside them to help them out. Cal will have a lot of responsibility on his shoulders, which I think is unfair , there should be a few leaders in there helping him as well. I live in hope, and I hope I am pleasantly surprised tonight, only time will tell. I am just hoping the guys at the very least make a good account of themselves, if they do that, then I will be fine with that.

  • Johnny Green says:

    With the announcement today that Celtic are prepared to negotiate a settlement due to the Celtic Boys Club scandal, it is definitely a good time to have money in the bank in order to settle a long standing moral obligation on our part. While Celtic are still not admitting liability, they are nevertheless addressing it, and I am glad that they are finally doing the right thing. How many millions it will take to appease the victims in this case will be quite considerable and I for one will be glad to have it settled, even though no money can ever compensate for the sins of the perpetrators.

    • James Forrest says:

      I’ll be writing about it when we get a final settlement mate, but wholly agree that it’s the right thing.

      The club has a moral responsibility here which they are addressing. Good outcome if it goes through.

  • Magua says:

    I’ll give Michael Nicholson a pass for the moment, but have nothing but utter scorn and contempt, for the rest of the carpet-baggers on the PLC board. These peepul don’t give a damn about Celtic Football Club. It is about time that these swines realise that the football club IS Celtic. The PLC, if it has to exist at all, should exist to improve and nurture the football club, year on year. PLC board members have been feathering their nests for years, at the expense of the team on the park. This year’s AGM should be a doozy. What’s the betting Big Peter throws a sickie?

    Hail Hail.

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