Turnover at the club increased by 3.1% to £29.27 million, as did operating expenses (3.3%) to £28.39 million. Despite the increase in turnover and the reduction of profits, the club’s bank debt has been reduced by over £2 million. In 2010, the bank debt stood at £9.09 million and in the new financial results the debt stands at £7.05 million.
The sale of players at Celtic fell from £13.2 million to £3.1 million, easily explained by the club keeping all their top assets and not having to do a major remodelling of the first team squad – unlike last year. With no major re-modelling needed, £4.44 million was spent by Celtic on bringing new recruits a drop of just under £5 million from last year’s spending of £9 million.
Celtic chairman Ian Bankier commented on the results: “On the park, the momentum that was lost at the start of this football season has been more than recovered. At the date of today’s report we have a lead in the SPL, which we look to carry through to the end of the season.
In terms of Celtic’s european involvement, Bankier said: “Our entry into this season’s UEFA Europa League Group stages was unorthodox, involving several visits to UEFA and eventually the Court of Arbitration for Sport. We were successful in our claims and the team also showed that we deserved to be involved, performing well against top European opposition in a difficult group.”
“European participation contributed to our turnover for the half-year, which increased slightly (3.1%) over the previous year, by £0.88m to £29.27m.”
With the country still hit by financial uncertainty, the club saw revenue from pre-season tours and merchandising drop. On this Bankier added: “Both are areas where the marketplace domestically and internationally remains very challenging. Like many with a presence in the high street, we continue to see difficult conditions driven by a squeeze on household incomes.”
The bank debt at the club dropped by around £2 million to £7.05 million compared to that of £9.09 million from this time last year. Despite the debt, Bankier stated that the debt “remains manageable and well within the club’s facilities”.
As mentioned Celtic kept their top players and have strengthened in some areas compared to what manager Neil Lennon had on his hands last season with a total redevelopment.
Bankier continued: “We can confidently say that the strength and depth of the player pool now available to the manager is better than it has been for several seasons. This has been a conscious decision that the financial discipline of the past has allowed us to take. As a result, we have been able to enjoy the virtuous trilogy of being able to keep our best players, build and develop significant value in our player pool, and see improvements in football performance.”
The chairman ended the interim results statement by paying tribute to Neil Lennon. He said: “In the early part of this season he (Lennon) faced an uncharacteristic run of poor results in a calm, professional and resolute manner, and with unshakeable self-belief he has put us in a strong position to challenge for all three domestic trophies.
“The bond between this Club and its supporters has seldom been stronger and as we move into the remainder of the football season, there is much to look forward to.”