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The Self-Preservation Society

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[media-credit name=”© Patrick McGuire” align=”aligncenter” width=”700″][/media-credit]

Many believed he would grow into a superstar at the club and slammed the lack of ambition by those in charge for selling him, while others held him in the low regard of being overrated and not suited to the Scottish game.

What could be seen clearly though, was that a profit of around £5 million for a player that was not always placed in the first eleven is shrewd business by the club.

Moreover, Ki will not be the last player to exit the doors of Parkhead leaving his former club in a healthier financial position.

That is, if Celtic use this transfer as a platform to kick-start a new reputation as a buying and selling club and reinvest the money brought in by Ki’s sale to fund a move for another couple of young talented players that could then be sold on for profit.

It would be a much better reinvestment than buying a big name player who in the long run would do nothing but blow the wage budget to pieces and prove tough to get rid of.

This module is one that many clubs in a similar situation to Celtic are finding viable in today’s climate.

One such club is Porto. Finding it tough having to contend with their next door neighbours in the Spanish league, Porto have adopted a transfer policy of buying young players who prosper at their club and go on to demand huge fees off of Europe’s elite clubs, earning them a healthy profit in the process and giving them the money they need to compete in the Champions League, something that they do not collect in TV and advertising revenue.

This activity resulted in them winning the Europa League in 2011, something which seems unachievable for a Scottish team at the current time.

Although this method of buying and selling seems to suit Celtic, it may not be what the fans want to see at their club.

Financial prudence is at the forefront of thinking for those in charge at Celtic at the current time and after seeing the trouble that overspending has caused the other side of the Old Firm, they will be keen to ensure their club stays firmly out of the red.

Making a profit on selling players may well then be the way in which the clubs makes its money in future.

This sounds reasonable enough but think for a second about players like Henrik Larsson.

Bought for a paltry sum of £650,000 in 1997, by the time he had won the European Golden Boot in 2001 he was rated highly in Europe and many clubs where ready to splash the cash.

If you are looking to make a profit on your signings this would sound great, but Celtic, and Scottish football, would have been without a legend had the manager decided to cash in on him.

It is true to say though that the nature of Scottish Football now dictates that players like Larsson and Gascoigne are a thing of the past and that profit is king.

The toughest challenge now is to convince the paying customers that using their club as a shop window rather than a place to build a solid team is ideal. The only way the club can achieve this is to become highly ambitious in their pursuit of European success and continue to dominate their domestic league.

This would mean utilising all profit available to them and going after youngsters who could be a rather large outlay but could end up giving the club a huge financial boost when they are sold to a top European team.

The fans may then decide that although they may not see many players enter their tenth season at the club, they will witness the development of some of the world’s top players. This will be an exciting prospect for not just Celtic fans, but also fans of other SPL teams.

Is it maybe the time then that other SPL teams used the same tactic?

With limited funds other SPL teams may find it hard to pull the money together to buy a few decent players who will command a higher transfer fee a few seasons down the line though and their means of profit-making may actually be found closer to home.

Hamilton Accies first championed the use of their youth system to find the funds to run the club, selling home-grown stars such as Brian Easton, James McArthur and James McCarthy and using the money to help bring through a new generation of stars.

In the last couple of seasons though, there has been a rise in the number of talented Scottish players coming through the club’s youth systems and attracting attention from bigger clubs, especially those down south.

From Dundee United, David Goodwillie moved on for a healthy profit while at Aberdeen Fraser Fyvie and Jack Grimmer have provided the funds for the Dons to live on.

Sustainability is key though and both clubs have brought through another load of young, sought-after players, with the intention of continuing the cycle.

The selling of Ki to Swansea could then be the key to the revival of Celtic and on a wider scale the revival of the SPL. Contrary to the ‘Doomsday’ predictions the SPL could be due an exciting rebirth where we see our clubs become respected for bringing through young players, and Scotland could become a breeding ground for the future stars of the game, with our fans finally being treated to a good standard of football with team sheets that are worth the entrance fee.

This is The Scottish Job, and our clubs could now be ready to join the self-preservation society.

Written by Sean McGee

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