Leader’s or Bleeder’s ?
I don’t envy the task of plotting a financial course for those in the football business during the current environment, not one bit I don’t. The unexpected double whammy of massive unemployment plus none to limited congregation are one hell of a kick in the nuts for teams north of the border and of other smaller nations, yet somehow a way simply must be found. These choppy waters must be navigated by hook or by crook, plus there’s no playbook that covers this one.
For clubs such as our own the phrase ‘unprecedented times’ is truly apt.
At the same time wondering how our board will fare during this crisis is very valid.
Finances are far from my speciality but I’m well aware in a sport that see’s most lose money, our own club has hit on a winning strategy in terms of finance also these last few years have seen us smash the 100 million turnover mark which is impressive.
I had always envisioned this next season to be groundbreaking not only on the pitch but off it, being a marketing dream for instance specially designed strips with 10 on the back flying off the shelves faster than they can be filled for weeks after the deed is done. Adidas would have hoped and dreamed the same I imagine.
Merchandise and ST sales will take a massive hit in what should have been this generation’s momentous occasion.
Finances are something of a speciality to members of our board though which is great news, especially handy in the current climate actually. They were running the financial side of things so well there happened to be a nest egg, which is incredibly fortunate with hindsight. Estimates vary but somewhere around the 40 million mark between banked and due was the general consensus pre virus.
And then the wheels grind to a halt.
Sympathy where it’s due and all but as mentioned the show must go on and some type of plan needs produced. As with every business its what costs can we cut right now, ie cancel the loanees, lets not renew contracts or take up options on extra years etc.
Totally understandable and everyone in every sector did the exact same. Johnny and Jozo are probably simple victims of circumstance, though Craig was always going to be a victim of that big wage packet when he wasn’t first choice anymore.
Salary cuts during pandemic and wage deferments were obvious choices also to drive down costs quickly, but not permanently which is a problem.
Its a problem because unlike many regular businesses out there we cant just release the staff and rehire as needed when trade see’s an upturn, our operating costs of approx 87million need to be found for the upcoming season.
The immediate actions mentioned will have reduced that sum a bit but not by much.
Many football clubs around the globe will be in roughly the same boat, but we are fortunate in that we have our board and passionate fans to protect their special club in its time of need.
Or are we?
The PLC’s initial attempt at pricing has proven so ill received they have had to rethink the plan, after the not easy refund method not a great start but at least that shows they listened and can be flexible when they want. Announcing a vague additional value doesn’t impress me but it will help sway some wavering souls and give a tad reassurance to others that the club listens to its fans. In this together and willing to work together was the jist of the recent statement.
And thats where my problems start, that togetherness.
Let’s be clear, the (Virtual) Season Tickets aren’t selling well enough so it’s onto phase two, throw in freebies and some reach out pleading the case to influential fans and groups in order to encourage a run on tickets.
It’s an unofficial admission we expected more income.
“It has been a very difficult few months for everyone but with your support we know we can face the challenges ahead with confidence.”
Considering he can’t be talking about the renowned verbal support it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what support is being asked for here.
Thats the PLC’s official way of saying we expected more income.
We took that money for granted is another way to put it.
You will recall a couple weeks ago the excellent work done by Celtic1member1vote when he informed us that over the last ten years the support have financed the PLC to the tune of 750million smackers, so 75 a year usually heads into the coffers.
Of course its been budgeted on, thats normal protocol.
He also pointed out that an investment group parted with ‘a mere’ twenty for twenty percent, whereas the chief financiers received zero shares in return for their year on year emotional investment and support.
And there’s many clubs out there that would love that level of support.
We all remember the last few AGM’s heard comments such as criminally racist and behave yourselves levelled at the clubs minor shareholders, and then the lies such as the Resolutioners are happy and never seen the five way agreement were aired and proven false.
The announcement that Res12 would not be pursued and thus it had all been a string along should have been a coffin nail but wasn’t.
Please forgive me if ‘our supporters can rest assured that it is our firm intention’ rings a bit hollow after what we have seen and heard.
This isn’t a respectful inclusive relationship of anywhere near equals, its a take or leave it simple owner and customer relationship and has been for a long time.
And theres the rub.
For quite a while we have been treated and to be honest accepted being mere customers to say yes or no and not actually steer or guide the ship despite paying for the journey, and it was accepted because the expectations were still being met during this period of our glorious history. You still had your seat and ticket, great days and nights out and everything that went with the journey except a hand on the tiller, and due to the dominance we have been enjoying that was accepted.
Of course the leagues are rolling in which is the bread and butter that helps keep all questions away. Seeing your rivals go bust and a few jokes helped convince every fan that we had a great bunch at the helm because we are very strong financially plus we are cleaning up.
Being customers has suited us, until recently that is.
Now what we are seeing is the fan acting exactly like a customer, yet at this moment that really really does not suit our board one bit despite treating us like one?
The customer doesn’t pay for a product they don’t get, its that simple. The customer will see what’s on offer at what price and make a decision, and right now regarding our club of choice its a very easy decision.
The customer doesn’t always show up regardless. Some are finding that out the hard way.
The product reputedly offered is brand new so possibly liable to teething hitches as many are, overpriced, unable to sample, could find it elsewhere if really needed, so most will pass at the moment but monitor the situation. Happens every day to a hundred different companies around Gonds green and white earth.
Calling fans is all fair and well, but dont just do it when you need the wallets opened ffs.
Pleading for the usual 52k to act like pure fully fledged supporters who will safeguard the club in its time of need after reducing them to mere customers is just another one of the delicious ironies thrown up by this virus.
So as mentioned they need us, but lets look at what happened when we needed them eh?
We needed them bigtime for Res12 and ask Auldheid and co how that turned out.
We needed them to step up and stop the honest mistakes, still cheating bastards with son a Hun back to rub it in.
We needed them to stick to the clubs charter and disassociate ourselves from bigotry at every opportunity, but never once did we state to the world our rival had died and the Old Firm with it, infact we got engaged to its replacement. Shame.
We needed them to make sure our fans are treated equally and with respect for they are the game’s major spending force, they handed out our names and addresses for dawn raids.
We needed them to make sure that club is the very best it can be,,they don’t open applications and when a great manager falls into the lap Peter badgers him out the door.
We needed them,
We needed them,
And time and time again they have been found wanting. Treated us as take it or leave it customers.
So how much do they actually need us this time?
We had approx 40 million in the bank plus the Adidas deal.
With operating costs stated as 87million now reduced somewhat even if the fans stump up a third of the annual 75 million there’s the majority of the running costs covered. Half take up by fans leaves little to find.
So where exactly is the crisis here one must ask?
Actually one should just how much exactly do we actually need this board at all for I am far from impressed at what I see.
For starters those running costs in a bent third tier backwater are scandalous, truly need looking into and slimmed down asap. That is a ridiculous total that has occurred under this board’s watch, and questions need to be asked of just how exactly it has risen so high?
This board does not let things happen without a reason, and if you don’t think they couldn’t control these high costs you haven’t been paying attention. Under Brendan we were informed the football department wages had hit its highest ever at 59m and that has clearly been scaled back.
The gravy train for executives needs to stop and every single employee of the entire company needs to be paid the standard wage for that position with reasonable incentives full stop.
And who picked half these players that are draining our precious resource?
Lets not pretend Peter isnt buying players, lets cut the crap and state it for the fact it is.
Boli and Shved for starters can be laid square at his door and so can the wages they drain and how many else? Our squad is huge,,who authorised this?
31 players or so again is ridiculous considering no colts and reserve league. The PLC might have stumbled on a buy cheap sell high formula but its clear that frog kissing is very common and cant be cheap.
Not setting up a properly formed scouting and decision making group is no accident as it would mean giving up power and money.
As for Dermot, we all want a self sustaining club with no need for a sugar daddy of any type and we are on that road thankfully, but make no mistake there is an unwritten understanding that in the event of finance being urgently needed all of us expect that gap to be filled by our majority shareholder. If the time has come for the PLC to take a hit then so be it, for there’s zero rules out there that state profit is promised year on year. Its the luck of the draw, and on this occasion a bit of luck might be out, but then it’s been more than covered by the three quarters of a billion handed over by the fanbase.
After being so generous to what is clearly held dear, it would be insulting and once again unbecoming to start begging bowl tactics from those who need ever check a bank balance again but know any bill is covered.
This is not a time to wring as much as possible out of the Celtic support, it is the opposite in fact its time to give and maybe earn back a bit of lost respect.
The board will never have a better chance to gain some credit than to make sure no matter what a winning team is kept together for history to be achieved.
That’s their challenge now, with whatever help given, but the ten is on them now make no mistake.
The definition of custodian is one who looks after something and having taken up that mantle willingly it MUST be upheld or vacated, and as fans its our duty to demand that.
Its not a time for division or indeed threats of action during these admittedly unprecedented times, but there’s always time to remind folk of their duty and roles.
The quest for the fabled ten hasn’t started great but I would gladly take a poor start for a great ending.
The PLC are on the cusp of history.
Its right now their true colours will emerge and their character will be tested, when faced with shortfalls and upset plans.
Its right now they should step up.
Its right now they can show us what exactly they care about.
Look after your club, its what you signed up for custodians. The fans aren’t at their strongest, but you guys are and we’ve never needed some reciprocity like we do right now.
Our key players go nowhere but up steps to collect trophies, announce and boost morale.
You fail us now and here, you deserve the tsunami that follows.
You provide the tools to take that ten, you deserve plaudits.
The above is by Mahe.