Rugger Guy looks at the Celtic 2020 Annual Results

As ever, I am hugely appreciative to my number crunching scrum-half for being so generous with his time.

You can read them here for yourself.

However, here is what Rugger Guy sent me:



As per your request to review the accounts of Celtic plc,  “Celtic” I will summarise the main findings, discuss the main positives and negatives and summarise with the financial challenges for Celtic.

The first key thing to report is that the published numbers of Celtic are 14 pages long and not the usual 50 plus report which will be filed with companies house in due course.

This is the same as last year.

The second main point to highlight once more is that the independent audit report, once more, is unqualified, did not draw attention to any matters by way of emphasis and also accounting records and full disclosure took place.

As a result of this being a  summarised set of numbers, the full review of financial statement and accompanying notes can be carried out when the full year accounts are filed.

The main highlights of the numbers are as follows:

Revenue down almost 16% at £70.2m

Operating expenses down 7.3% to ££80.5m

Profit before tax is £0.1m against a profit of £11.3m last year.

However, the underlying numbers show:

Operating loss is £0.3m versus a profit of £11.5m last year.

The cash balance net of borrowings has reduced from £28.6m  to £18.2m.

Within the income statement, the overall performance was assisted by the gain on player trading of £24.2m; this would be largely down to the sale of Tierney.

Last year, the results were bolstered by the gain on trading of almost £18m coupled with the monies received from the departure of the management team, which yielded a further  £8.8m.

The infrastructure of Celtic with its high-cost base means that player sales or substantial success in European tournaments is the only way that a financial surplus can be achieved.

The financial results take into account the effect of Covid for three and a half months of the financial year. The accounts for next year are likely to have a bigger adverse impact on the operating performance of Celtic.

The other major noticeable update is that Celtic have increased their revolving credit facility from £2m to £13m in order to provide further headroom and flexibility, but clearly indicate the looming challenges ahead.


Post balance sheet events.

Since the year-end, a  noticeable feature is that Celtic have signed three players, Ajeti, Turnbull and Barkas, with no substantial player sales.

In addition, they have two further loan signings with an extension for a further player. Some players have been loaned out, but no reference was made to having a financially significant effect.

All in all, this points to further financial investment by the football club.

To try and put this in context and to summarise.

From a positive perspective.

Celtic have retained all their commercial sponsors, in addition, Adidas has become the shirt sponsor, and I presume this will yield a higher value in commercial and multimedia revenues.

The club have increased their credit facilities by a further £11m to £13m, so given the current balance of cash at £18.2m as of 30 June 2020, this provides substantial financial leeway in a challenging trading environment.

The football club has added to its player intangible player base by a further £6m during the year.


From a negative perspective.

Celtic reported an operating loss of £0.3m against an operating profit of £11.5m last year.

Cash outflow in the year was almost £12m.

Subsequent to the further year-end investments have been made, and these commitments will exceed £10m (I am informed).

I think that the club will be forced into player sales in the current financial year to offset operating losses, because of the high-cost base, and given the Covid effect, this may depress the realisable value for players. Should the European competition prove to be a failure and yield substantially lower revenues, this will place more pressure on the need to sell players, notwithstanding £30m leeway that the club currently has.


When the results of other football clubs are published, I think that Celtic will undoubtedly be in a better financial position than many. However, lack of success on the pitch, coupled with the substantial Covid effect, will place massive pressure on the board to either downsize substantially on the cost base of the football club or accelerate the number and value of player sales in order to try and balance the books from a short to medium-term perspective.


Of course, as usual with this content I am merely the grateful publisher.


36 thoughts on “Rugger Guy looks at the Celtic 2020 Annual Results”

  1. The Rangers annual financials and a loss of in the previous financial year of £13.3m were released on the 1st November 2019.
    With revenue likely to be around the same mark expenditure will have risen with the new signings, improved contracts to key players, and nothing coming in from transfer fees.
    The Morelos saga continues. He’s still in situ and the 2 players brought in to replace him are now also on the payroll.
    A loss of around £20m would be no surprise when the numbers are released, another dagger to the heart of the ‘investors.’

  2. What are Celtic doing differently from Sevco?
    Celtic have been hit by covid,and player injuries,not to mention continuing negative press,and now we
    see the finincal results of covid.
    Over to Ibrox no covid,no negative press,no finincal problems,so it appears that all is well
    at Sevco.
    How long do we have to wait until we see how their board have achieved this,as I am certain,
    it would be of great interest to all the struggling club chairmen,and business owners how to turn
    a loss into a profit.

    1. Winning Trophies
      That’s because Celtic have many International players playing for us and so therefore the risks are greater
      We see the financial results of Covid because we are the first to make our Accounts known
      At Ayebrokes there are less involved in International Football though the press keep touting them to be so
      There are no Financial Issies because there are no Financial Results to go off as they never released their Interims and their Anals are yet to be published- if ever they will.
      At the earliest the end of this month at the latest probably never or Administration whatever comes sooner.
      Remember the last time a Club went bang there were no Accounts for 1 year prior to implosion
      Those Accounts were made up to Jan 27th 2011*
      Don’t hold your breath
      It’s more a case of turning mounting Debt into Equity Confetti /worthless shares whilst passing it off as making actual profit.
      Unsustainable in a normal Market let alone in one as volatile as the one we are in now.
      I do hope due diligence has been paid to the money coming in from Asia..they wouldn’t would they?


  3. A few other observations / queries;

    1) Curious that a profit has been generated, (albeit a relatively negligible amount).

    When there is a general expectation of poor financials for one period, it’s sometimes prudent to pile on the bad news for the current period. This could provide some breathing space, (or something up your sleeve / e.g. Provisions), to help avoid a consecutive set of disappointing results.

    PL has managed to create a small profit, which some might regard as surprising in the current climate?

    2) Is PL’s bonus tied strictly to returning a profit?

    Based on nothing other than cynicism: would a loss in any one year negate – or seriously impact – PL’s Long Term Incentive plan / bonus?

    3) Will there be a Dividend pay out?

    The fans have personally dug deep to pay for expensive ST’s.
    Will DD match this show of support by ensuring that no Dividends are paid out – and to help cashflow for the club?

    1. Peter Lawwells Bonus was Incorporated into his wage at the same time a new Bonus was setup connected to qualifying for the Champions League.“ LTPIP” This occurred in 2017 (see below)
      His salary in 2016 was £575,429 in 2016 with a Bonus of £406,751 TOTAL SALARY £999,560

      Salary £1,150,000 Benefits in kind £17,411 – TOTAL SALARY £1,167,411 (LTPIP Not included)
      Salary £1,150,000 Benefits in kind ££17,729 TOTAL SALARY £1,167,729
      LTPIP BONUS £2,296.000 ( carried over to 2019)
      Salary £1,161,500 Benefits in kind £17.373 LTPIP £2,370,153

      “Long Term Performance Incentive Plan (“LTPIP”)
      Given the importance of the Chief Executive to the consistent and successful performance of the Company, the Board determined that the Chief Executive shall participate in a Long Term Performance Incentive Plan (“LTPIP”), the purpose of which is to link the performance of the Chief Executive to performance targets which have the objective of improving Company performance, the football performance of Celtic FC and generating shareholder value.
      The criteria for the LTPIP to become payable as determined by the Board is that Celtic FC qualifies for and participates in the group stages of the UCL in the applicable financial year. In order to receive payment the participant must be employed by the Company at 31 December 2018. Awards under this arrangement accrue in each applicable financial period and are paid at the first appropriate date following
      31 December 2018.”

      So in effect what was Bonus became full wage with an added Bonus on top Linked to Champions League.
      Make of that what you will.

      1. Thanks for that.

        Quite impressive that – bonus(es) aside – PL managed to effectively double his own salary in the space of one year, ’16/’17.

        1. I’m not going to criticise Peter for having his bonus linked directly to Performance in the Champions League bit I think it was a bit underhand transferring what was his Bonus into actual Salary whilst doing so.
          I should think Brother Walfrid’s Statue might have turned to look at him when he passed by that day.

  4. Can’t believe some supporters want rid of NEIL LENNON , there is no one else (apart from the fans ) have given as much for the club . Players are letting him and supporters down . What that man had to go through in this back water colony isn’t right . He stood up to the rancid bigots and the bigots of the sfa.

  5. No sense in going on about money. We’ve been dealt our hand. Remember the match with St. Johnstone. Two late goals…..relieved or deceived,? I don’t have the answer. For all the remarks about Gerrard, all the “tick tocking” about Sevco’s demise, ten-in-a-row etc, all has changed utterly. Gerrard has been able to build a side that is united and focused…..few of them top drawer. Celtic do not appear to be as driven. It would seem that some of our players are running on ego and comfortable earnings.

  6. I still can’t get my head around the current scenario with Sevco Scotland. We had the chance several years ago to bury them for good, but we let them off the hook, if we are suffering financially then that shower must be at the brink. I’m sorry Phil, I like Neil but he is no longer the man to get us over the line and we shouldn’t be in this situation to start with. I knew this season would be the hardest due to the pressure of 10, but come on we should be streets ahead of this mob!!

    1. Tin foil hat on time – our board want Sevco to be competitive because selling the ‘O** F***’ matches is all they’re interested in. They decide to sacrifice the ten as they know it would finish Sevco for good if the ten happens.

    2. You want rid of Lennon. Here’s a question for you. Can you name ANY club, in ANY top flight league, who have changed manager during the course of the season and gone on to win their country’s title that same season.

      I DON’T KNOW of ONE!!!

      Newspapers, I use the term loosely, installing David Moyes as favourite to replace him. MOYES for fucksakes!! He struggles to manage his dinner!! A mediocre, at best, manager who has only ever managed mediocre clubs who have played, at best, mediocre football under his stewardship.

      There are so called Celtic “fans” who NEVER wanted Lennon. Who will NEVER recognise ANY of his achievements. Who start rumblings of dissatisfaction after ANY bad result or poor performance. Who will be HAPPY to see a run of bad results if they thought it would help to get him out. Who are incapable of understanding that EVERY team has bad performances, loses games and has bad runs.

      These are the same people who for two and a half seasons sang the praises of BR, the same people who’s mantra was, “In Brendan we trust”, despite the fact that after the first season and a half the football was mind-numbing. Despite the fact that he presided over the worst European results in our history.

      “In Brendan we trust.” Well that worked out well. That says everything about THEIR judgement.

      Lennon on the other hand, has presided over some of our best European results. He’s a Celtic man through and through. A REAL Celtic man, not a mealy mouthed phoney.

      IF EVER there was a season for continuity THIS IS it.

      You’ve said before Phil that only Celtic themselves could prevent10 IAR. The fans could play a big part in stopping it if they don’t get off the manager’s and players’ backs and start doing what fans are meant to do. Support your team when times are rough. It’s easy to support a winning side. And it’s easy to get drunk on success and lose all sense of proportionate reactions to adverse circumstances.

    3. We NEVER had the chance to “bury them for good”. We can win the title each season that’s all. And we’ve done that comfortably in the end each season since they reached the top flight. We’ve even denied them the cups.

      We can’t control their confetti share issues or any of their financial shenanigans or who they put on the park.

      Sadly, even winning the league this season won’t deny them a bite at the CL, with TWO qualification places up for grabs.

  7. We can’t be jittery across the board. That’s the reality lads. Might be a good time to emphasise expectations and commitments as a unit.
    Mon Celtic, we have got to get it together… Now! As the song goes.

  8. My concern is , if we do have to downsize in the next transfer window and say sell an Edouard / Ajer / McGregor ( we cannot lose any of them !)to recoup a few million , weakening the squad further , possibly handing the league to rangers , we’ll be even worse off if they win this title and qualify for the CL group stage ! Swear to god , nightmare scenario , can’t believe we’ve got here and it’s only October. I just hope we can pull through this ‘black cloud ‘ and rejoice in May!

    1. Is this not when having an actual Billionaire chief shareholder comes into play?
      Celtic haven’t had a serious Share issue for decades maybe if we did we could store our grip whilst others are floundering in deeper water than they were last Season.

      Time for the absentee Landlord to step in and do some renovations methinks.

      1. Disagree.

        We don’t and shouldn’t be beholding to a sugar daddy, we should honestly make our own money and pay our way.

        Going down that route then we’re no better than the EPL clubs that are simply some rich entity’s plaything.

        I think also FIFA/UEFA would have something to say about such largesse.

          1. To be fair that’s down to the SFA and UEFA’s commitment to not get involved in domestic disputes.

            Man City and PSG show that financial rules can be got round or ignored but we don’t have the same clout as them.

            Its all moot, as I don’t see Desmond investing anymore in Celtic (his current investments are over £60m) and the middle of a pandemic isn’t the time for a share issue!

        1. What utter nonsense, people regularly invest in clubs across the country. Celtic are no different to other clubs that need investment at times, be that through share issues or something else.

          1. A pandemic isn’t the time for a share issue.

            “something else” smacks of what Rangers (RIP) did.

        2. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
          Celtic could raise 10’s of millions with a share issue and as of yet having a billionaire chief shareholder hasn’t reaped that much in terms of wealth has it?
          Football could be on its erchie in Scotland in under 6 months if the Stadiums remain empty the Club should be looking at all options aside from borrowing from the Bank.

          1. No, from hard pressed individuals to corporate investors, there’s no 10’s of millions to be raised during a pandemic, to simply plug holes in accounts.

          2. I think a share issue would have to be voted through at an AGM. Not a problem though given DD’s holding.

            Unless he was prepared to underwrite the issue and buy any leftover shares I’m not sure it would raise much.

            Times are tough out there for everyone and I don’t think investing in a football club will be high on many wish lists right now.

        3. Then what is the point of having a Billionaire Chief Shareholder if they not prepared to help out in time of Financial duress?
          Would you rather we went back to borrowing from a Bank and the risks that that entail not too mention the Interest on top?

          1. I’m no fan of Desmond, which is why I don’t want him (or anyone else) as a sugar daddy.

            To be fair to him, he did put substantial money in when Fergus needed extra funds to rebuild the stadium and team.

            His investments are worth £60m, which seems a not insignificant amount.

            Despite everything we are still in a relatively stable position ie we made a profit in a Covid shortened season, invested £21m in the team and still have £20m in the bank.

            Next year will be equally challenging ie again missing out on CL, lost matchday revenues (although season ticket sellout will help this) and potentially another shortened season.

            Put it this way, if it ever gets to the stage of Celtic being seriously financially imperilled then the rest of Scottish football will be long dead.

          2. Borrowing may be on the cards before the season is out. The overdraft facility has been increased considerably.

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