Administration looms as money runs out – Twenty is Plenty?

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YESTERDAY we had a look at the Twenty is Plenty fans protest that Celtic Supporters have been pursuing in Scotland and Bayern Munich fans brought to the attention of the watching millions in their side’s Champions League victory over Tottenham on Tuesday night. You can read that HERE.

Whatever these German fans paid for their tickets on that particular occasion will have seemed like money well spent as Bayern thrashed last season’s Champions League finalists 7-2 on their own patch.

While we have sympathy for the Twenty is Plenty campaign we reckon it’s a non-starter, particularly in relation to Scottish football, where money is tight across the leagues. Celtic recorded a decent profit in accounts released last Friday evening – but that was achieved via the sale of star asset Moussa Dembele to Lyon for a fee of around £20million and a one-off compensation payment from Leicester City for poaching our management team at the end of February (£7million).

These are numbers that the rest of Scottish football can only dream about and the harsh reality is that the game in Scotland is desperately short of money and for many of the Premiership clubs the prospect of relegation could signal a financial calamity that they may never recover from.

Dundee Utd have been out of the top league for three seasons although they are looking well placed to make the grade this time around after losing a play-off to St Mirren back in May. They will be looking to win the league this year and with Lawrence Shankland scoring for fun they should be firm favourites to achieve that.

But there’s another club who recently dropped out of the Premiership and are now struggling badly. Indeed they may be heading for Administration according to a report this morning in Daily Mail by Stephen McGowan. The club in question is Inverness Caley Thistle, the 2015 Scottish Cup winners.

McGowan reports that there will be an Extraordinary General Meeting at the Caledonian Stadium this evening when Chief Executive Scott Gardiner will ask shareholders to dig deep to save the club from imminent Administration.

The Inverness Caley Graham Rae and director Alan McPhee both resigned last week and in doing so brought an end to the Muirfield Mills consortium’s financial support for the club.

And Caley’s absence from the Premiership is costing the Highland club around £800,000 a year and that’s money they now don’t have at their disposal. Last night Scott Gardiner explained the worrying situation to the Daily Mail man.

“We need working capital. Our revenues are through the floor in the championship. We are in the second tier and we can’t afford it.

“We have been speaking to some of the big shareholders appealing to them to help us find working capital because we don’t have the revenue to continue as we are. We need them to step up now.

“We have done all we can to steady the ship. We have no debt now, no soft loans any more, no bank debt and we own the stadium. But unless we have an investment of cash we will find ourselves in a precarious position.”

Yesterday we speculated that Robbie Savage would be earning more from his work at the BBC than most if not all the Scottish clubs receive (Savage is apparently paid just over £200k to slag Scottish football, Celtic mostly, but was silent after Tottenham were thrashed 7-2 at home by Bayern. Had that been Celtic losing by the same margin to the German Champions then he’d have been all over it).

Today that speculation can be seen in harsh reality when you look at what the Inverness Chief Executive is saying and indeed what this report highlights in relation to the money clubs like ICT get from the BBC.

“Despite the SPFL agreeing a deal with BBC Scotland to show Championship games live on a Friday night it’s understood second tier clubs earn just 12 per cent of the £350,000 a year poured into league coffers, with Premiership sides claiming the lion’s share of the cash,” McGowan reports.

So they make just £42,000 from the deal with the BBC for a season, around 20% of the money the publicly funded broadcaster apparently pays to Robbie Savage.

“We find ourselves in year three in the Championship when the money you have is basically it. You are on your own. Revenues have fallen off a cliff,” Gardiner added.

The club will hold one or more public meetings after the EGM to allow supporters or interested parties who are currently not shareholders in the club to hear the situation and to be given the chance to offer any potential help.

Inverness Caley Thistle, despite being without debt and owning their own stadium, have simply run out of money because they have dropped into the Championship and do not have the fan base to support the club. There are probably a half dozen clubs in the Premiership looking at this and seeing that as their own fate should they drop out of the top division.

These clubs, Dundee Utd, Caley Thistle and the rest all rely on the ticket price to keep their heads above water. If that means charging visiting fans more than £20, it is what they have to do to keep their clubs going.

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