Celtic finances analysed: More cards to play to avoid a hideous scenario
It was about as unexpected as rain on a bank holiday that the Celtic support should shower the club’s chairman Ian Bankier with opprobrium for his statement accompanying the release of the club’s financial accounts to the year ending June 30, 2021.
A period that covered the Covid-19 season where the club was trophyless for the first time in 11 years and, for good measure, recorded a loss before tax of £11.5m.
Bankier, owing to a number of solid reasons, is an unappealing character, for the Celtic fanbase. He was never going to grow in their affections by stating that the club could “look forward with measured confidence in both our footballing prospects and the robustness of our business model”. Yet, to call him out on that is a case of seeking to shoot the messenger.
The loss recorded hardly tells the whole story about whether Celtic find themselves in terms of their “model”. Yes, they are currently enduring struggles in the cinch Premiership that inspire no real confidence about the coming nine months. Yes, Ange Postecoglou is having to make, and remake, his team o a weekly basis owing to the monstrous – and necessary – turnover over players following the influx of 12 new arrivals, most late window additions.
However, the underlying “fundamentals” – as now departed chief executive Peter Lawwell forever spoke – are strong. Celtic were the only club in the country not to seek a loan from the Scottish government to assist them through the revenue-demolishing effects of the pandemic. They are the only club in the country with any rainy-day money – never mind that they still have a total of £19m cash in the bank. It is a guarantee that they will part with a portion of this to further strengthen in the January window.
Moreover, a near £30million in player sales taken in from the impressive sums they banked for Odsonne Edouard, Kristoffer Ajer and Ryan Christie does not appear in these accounts. It ensures that they will return to a healthy profit next year. They do operate in a self-sustaining manner, unlike others.
Of course, this is secondary to winning a championship this season that is more than likely going to secure direct entry to a Champions League group phase that could be worth in the region of £35m. If this goes the way of their ancient adversaries then any financial advantages they have possessed in this current era will be wiped out, and a more permanent power shift in the Scottish game could be set in motion.
However, they have more cards to play to avoid this scenario. Considering the myriad, monumental batterings they have taken over this past year, that genuinely does speak of a robustness. The very robustness, indeed, that could be the only means to dig them out of the crater in which they have landed themselves.