Celtic financial health is result of unwavering fans

By Euan Davidson

September 21, 2021

So, Celtic have released their annual results over the last year to supporters, and the club is in a healthy financial state [Celtic FC].

With player sales, the return of supporters and brand new faces across the club, it’s certainly the most eventful annual report we’ve seen in a fair while. However, there’s a lot of back-slapping and handshakes in the messages that came with it.

Ian Bankier, for example, heralded the “robustness of our business model” and the “board of individuals” who have made it through the financial year. Meanwhile, acting CEO Michael Nicholson thanked fans, yes, but well after Peter Lawwell, Neil Lennon and Adidas.

We’re not expecting the board to throw us a parade, or anything. But if this financial year was rough for board members of a gigantic football club, it was much worse for the supporters.

Thousands and thousands of fans bought season tickets despite likely knowing they wouldn’t see a single game. Countless shirts and other bits of Adidas merchandise were bought to wear to games they couldn’t attend.

En masse, we subscribed to watch games on a TV service. Then, when fans showed their dismay at the results on the pitch, and the complacency of the board, things turned ugly.

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The honeymoon period is over – but there’s no reason for Celtic to panic
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It seems like a lifetime ago now, but it was only last season that the relationship between the fans and the board was beyond brittle. For the fans, after that, to show their faith by buying season tickets, merchandise and showing their support in other ways, in the numbers they did, was absolutely remarkable.

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You’d have thought, as an olive branch of sorts, supporters and their contribution to the club would be more of a headline. That it wasn’t is a real shame.

Yes, fine; if directors feel they deserve credit, you can bet they’ll write about it. That’s entirely to be expected.

And yes, the transfer business, specifically the value we got for players sold, was good going. To recoup fees on Shved, Bayo and Klimala, for example, helped a fair bit.

Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

But again, the contribution of fans is important here.

Record-breaking sales with Adidas don’t happen without Celtic supporters. Millions in the bank from ticket sales doesn’t happen without supporters. The continued international support that generates money for the football club just doesn’t happen without Celtic fans, as if to labour the point even more.

It’s not asset management that pays these directors, or the paltry sponsorship deals for our league. It’s supporters.

That needs to be more comprehensively recognised.

Read more: John Hartson offers stinging rebuke to online critics of Celtic boss