Celtic chairman Ian Bankier released two statements for the Celtic support to mull over this morning. It’s safe to say the second of those releases amounted to 688 words of nothingness, however the financial statement was an intriguing read.
Celtic confirmed we are far from immune from the Covid 19 impact on our finances, and whilst the results themselves were poor they were not as dreadful as perhaps first feared – not yet anyway.
One thing is certain, if Celtic suffer much more from games behind closed doors, for instance a second season, then we are fast heading for a serious financial predicament.
Today’s half yearly reports clearly primed the support for what was the likelihood of players sales being needed, not only to get Celtic through the current financial predicament but also an admittance – perhaps for the first time officially from the club – that Celtic’s business model is reliant on selling players, perhaps more than one in each season to fund the club.
Even in the absence of Covid 19 this was always the case, but now the necessity to sell is absolutely clear, and it was in those words in today’s financial report where an opportunity was missed to address Celtic’s financial model going forward in the second of those statements:
“The two key factors that adversely affected our financial results for the period under review were: firstly, reduced gains from player trading as we sought to keep intact our squad this season; and, secondly, the unforeseen and prolonged value destructive impact of Covid-19. Our strategy for season 2020/21 was to invest in the team and to retain our best players, with the objective of delivering the league championship. As a result, gains from player trading were minimal.”
The so-called January review was an anti-climax. It was very much a report that said “don’t worry, we’ve got this, just supply your cash and we’ll do the rest”. Sadly, it didn’t touch on the dreadful communication from Celtic as we touched on in a previous article, nor did it address explicitly any real plans to replace the current manager, this despite overseeing a drop off in playing standards that can only have a damaging impact on the value of the assets we’ll now be looking to sell in an already contracting transfer market.
Celtic sold Jeremie Frimpong two weeks ago, and on paper you can’t argue with a £350k footballer being sold within 18 months of signing for £11.5million all in. Even if Celtic will only see around £8million of that it looks a good deal. But has Jeremie Frimpong improved an awful lot from the player we purchased? In that first season he started well but there were deficiencies both defensively, positionally and in an attacking sense that looked in dire need of coaching assistance.
Now it’s a moot point if the player himself wished to go, however had Celtic been able to develop the player through proper coaching would that £8million profit increased? And much the same can be said for others in the Celtic squad. Is Greg Taylor better now than when he joined from Kilmarnock? Is Ryan Christie a footballer fulfilling his potential? Has Odsonne Edouard plateaued? Is there any player at Celtic that has maximised their progression and improved their value in the last 12 months?
Because if we have a business model that now seems to be officially endorsed as being built on player sales, it is imperative that we eek out every bit of improvement in as short a space of time possible to maximise the returns on said player. In turn that’s important if we also wish to build a team to compete both at a domestic and a European level, and as such access the two-pronged financial approach of champions league funds- also increasing players values – and subsequently limiting the necessity for player sales to prop up the accounts to one sale rather than two or more.
And that’s why it was disappointing to have no meat on the bones as to Celtic’s intention with regard a developing football structure or the possibility of a change at management level.
If this is indeed our business model going forward, our footballers have to improve to make them both attractive to suitors and to ensure we maximise our return on initial investment. To do that we need a coach who improves players, or in the absence of that a coaching team that can do that job for him. At Celtic we currently have neither, and todays’ pitiful review doesn’t give much hope, for now at least, that we realise the current coaching team are not improving players and as such are undermining a business model the Celtic Chairman has clearly indicated is essential for Celtic going forward.
Today Celtic’s Chairman was on the one hand open about Celtic’s need to sell, sadly he missed an opportunity to furnish the support with a plan as to how we’ll ensure our coaching team is on point with that vision.
Diamond’s need polished to maximise their value. Footballers aren’t much different. For now, we are likely to be underselling our wares just as we need the income more than ever.