Mike takes his time to ponder not only the recent investment in Celtic, and what it means, but also wonders why they’ve done it.
And the conclusion is that things are about to change..
London Investment firm Lindsell- Train last month increased its shareholding in Celtic to 18.45%, they are the second biggest shareholder in Celtic behind Dermot Desmond who has a 34.9% shareholding.
But who is behind Lindsell-Train?
Founded by respected money men Nick Train and Michael Lindsell, they have been investing in Celtic for nearly ten years. Lindsell-Train is a global Equity fund with investments of £3.8 billion. They specialise in the management of U.K. Japanese and Global equities, managed with the same long term approach. They invest in companies with brands and franchises that have been around for a long time, decades, or even centuries. These companies “have valuable and unique” intellectual property.
In essence they invest into companies or brands over the long term, if they believe that they have the potential to expand either at home or globally. They are not looking for short term gain but for potential long term growth.
Why we invested in Juventus, Manchester United and Celtic.
One of the more unusual areas has been focusing on is football, where the managers of the fund have added Juventus, Manchester United and perennial Scottish Premiership champions Celtic.
Why invest in Celtic? Football clubs offers investors the opportunity to buy into some of the biggest global brands around the world. Football clubs have very strong customer loyalty, they offer a big platform to advertisers. Audiences watching live sport are the most valuable out there. Creating wonderful football is worth a lot of money and far more people are being remunerated for it today.
Some 30% of all Italian football fans support “Juve” one of the biggest long standing clubs in Italy. At the moment it has a limited International appeal, but that could be changing soon.
Celtic are in a similar position in Scotland, although we have a very narrow niche market where media revenues are tiny. “Here is the crunch”… There is a huge diaspora of Celtic supporting Scottish Catholics and non Catholics around the world that support the club vigorously. If Celtic were to tap into that supporter base or could morph their media rights from just the S.P.F.L. into something bigger, then the revenues could double or even treble very quickly.
This is the imptortant bit…what do they know that we don’t ?
It’s well known that Lawwell wants to get out of Scottish football, the riches available down south have long been coveted by our own money men.
Sky TV are aware that their own product is dull. Popular, hyped but dull.
Could discussions already be underway to integrate Celtic into the english set up-or even as part of a new set up, perhaps a revival of the Atlantic League ?
Is there perhaps a reason for the bloated squad, which could reasonably compete on two fronts, leaving a B side in the SPL, and having the A team in another set up ?
These guys don’t invest a pound unless they expect a tenner back. And they will have done their due diligence.
Do we really care?
Is it not prudent to keep a watchful eye on who is in control of the club?
Of course it is. Our enjoyment comes from the team, the players on the park, playing football the Celtic way, winning games, trophies, leagues, playing in Europe. We are not really interested in the Celtic money-ball. Its not that long ago our European cup winning team rode around the dilapidated stands of Paradise over the red blaze on the back of a coal lorry, when Carl-Jungle-bhoy’s relative Jimmy Brennan, led the lorry with the Coatbridge Shamrock Accordion band, playing Celtic songs.
Celtic our club have made massive strides since then.
Walk up the Celtic way looking at past Celtic hero’s enter into the vast 60,000 seater Celtic park.
Enjoy the disco lights as they fan around the stadium and focus on the team doing the huddle. Playing on the new hybrid pitch, enjoying the singing from the “Green Brigade” sitting or standing with good Celtic men remembering our long history of hero’s and the great works carried out by our supporters. Then you compare the players that once graced that Donegal turf, compared to now, can you compare them?
But our club is like a dragon-fly skirting over Hogganfield loch, in terms of comparison to minuscule financially bloated clubs from bigger, richer leagues.
Or is it ? Are the improvements part of a longer term plan to get ready for such an assimilation as mentioned above ?
And why Celtic ?
We know why.
But then you cast your mind to the nine million overseas Celtic supporters, getting up early to watch the club of their choice, savouring another game, fingers crossed, B.P. rising, railing at the man in black, enjoying the footie and the links to relatives and friends left behind in the mother country, they could, might just, help to take Celtic to another level, at sometime in the future.
With hope in our heart, but with a watchful eye on the money-ball and the present custodians of our great club, remembering that we once ousted those that took us for fools, we could do it again if we so choose to, because WE are the Celtic.
And they know that we’ll always be Celtic, they just want their share of our money.