30 June 2012

Lessons of an afternoon at Hampden

by Shane Nicholson | CRO editor |

from  @SPLstats
to Shane Nicholson: Not really relevant to other clubs though - they don't gain anything from your home support.

This was the general response from the non-RFC crowd to my infographic that compared the home attendance of Rangers to the combined home attendance of the 10 diddy clubs from SPL season 2011/2012.

Our 46,500+ fans per home game last year matter not.

Our ticket sales don't do anything for the other clubs.

Our continued existence is irrelevant to the SPL, essentially.

Well, today I could give sixteen-million reasons why that's not true, and was going to make another infographic to help drive that point home. Thankfully a few dozen people with some bedsheets made my case for me at Hampden this afternoon.

I'm convinced I couldn't have illustrated it any better than that sorry site of 13 fans standing round the gates wondering when the cavalry would arrive. Who could have guessed that a couple-dozen donuts and a thermos of coffee would  be enough to cater today's get together?

How utterly embarrassing it must have been, standing there waiting for the masses of ravenous NOtoNewco FC supporters to show. It turns out Scotland's new favorite club travels about as well for a showdown with Rangers as the rest of the SPL.

I'm not even sure it's fair to compare today's protest to ours a couple months back. Of course we were going to send a big crowd to Hampden. While we travel in record numbers year after year--our supporters putting hundreds of thousands of pounds into the bank for the clubs who wish us to simply drop away from sight, not to mention creating an atmosphere in our ground that captivates even the most experienced of players from around Europe--most of them couldn't fill their own grounds with the turnstile numbers from two rounds of fixtures.

Quite simply, we do everything better than you, even protests as it turns out. Better to learn it late than continue trying to prove us wrong.

So today, I give a big thanks to the brave souls who made their opinions known at the home of Scottish football this afternoon. Sorry it didn't quite work out the way you planned; we certainly got some much needed comedic relief from your appearance.

But an even bigger thanks is due to the thousands who couldn't be bothered to show up. At least we know now to what lengths you will go to make a statement that Scottish football will be just fine without Rangers around.

I only hope the chairmen of your respective clubs took notice of how ready and willing you are to step up and be counted.

Hampden Rally for Sporting Integrity

Fail Fail

28 June 2012

My, oh my

by Shane Nicholson | CRO editor |

I've been racking my brain a bit trying to make some sense of the documents the SPL let slip today. Typically "total financial meltdown" is not something you want your sponsors and investors to read.

The rest was old news. We've known the rest of the heard is lost without us; at least now we have a figure to attach to it: £16,000,000 lost to the wind if we are to move to SFL3.

Not shocking then that the SPL's Option 1 is to move us to SFL1 for a season, and that failing to simply blow up the system and create a second tier to the SPL. "Sporting integrity," indeed.

Without carrying on and giving them the respect they don't deserve, all today's release finally confirmed is that this entire process, this public trial against us, was always a case of putting the horse before the cart.

Our enemies are not shy, and their intentions are rarely hidden from view. But today showed just to what extent they will go to make sure we're as neutralized as possible, but ensuring their pockets are still lined by our supporters.

For the governing bodies, today has been the low ebb of a tedious and shambolic process. And chatter of leaked emails, maybe some info about taxes that was passed along much earlier than we were led to believe, will only add fuel to the bonfire lit with the release of the documents today.

End of Rangers? Nah, we'll be fine. Thanks for asking.

End of a lot of careers in the higher reaches of the Scottish game? Should be. We'll see if the media does the same job on the muppets who tried to play judge, jury, and executioner for our club as they've done on us.

But the bias is in the open for all to see, and the fact that "Sporting integrity!" publicly took a backseat to "Oh shit, how are we going to keep the doors open?!" today should make building the case that much easier.

25 June 2012

Just the facts

Thanks to the Motherwell board's acknowledgment of the impact Rangers has on their books, we're starting to see exactly what the financial ramifications of a SPL without Rangers will be.

Taking the numbers stated in the Motherwell FC financial guidance document--and confirmed during our twitter chat with a Well director earlier today--it made it a bit simpler to get a general idea of just what RFC means to the revenues of the individual member clubs.

Of course this does not take into account any potential league-wide fallout from what appears to be our certain exit from the SPL (hopefully to Div3). What the sponsors and SKY choose to do is yet to be determined.

But we hope that we've presented a fair image of just what a home game with Rangers means to these nine clubs.

Steelmen respond

CRO editor Shane Nicholson‏
@SPLstats Here's a stat for ya: #RFC fans accounted for 31% of Well's gate receipts 11/12, or the same as the 9 non-Glasgow#SPL clubs

Andrew Wilson ‏ @AndrewWilsonAJW
(Director of Motherwell FC & former MSP)
not quite true, rangers games accounted for it not just rangers fans. And not all gate receipts, non season tkt.

SN: Cheers, Andrew. Still staring at a £275K loss of revenue from ticket sales for #RFC matches alone though, no?

AW: other things equal yes, about 17pc. So if case we must challenge our fans to step up, which they will.

SN: You're certainly banking on it, seems. If it's that easy to up attendance over 500/game why aren't you already?

AW: well we have to try and got increases last year (seasons up 10pc). We will keep doing all we can on and off park

SN: I see the gains for last year, impressive for sure. Gonna take a massive effort to repeat that

AW: rivalries aside Gers fans didn't deserve calamity and the rest of us certainly don't. We must look forward and pull through

SN: Is it your preference that we go to Div1 or Div3, then? And, if you have a preference, why?

AW: all in good time when we have all the info and facts to choose from. Good luck to you in finding redemption. You will.

SN: What redemption? What crime have I committed? You're the ones making bold statements prior to having "all the facts," yes?

AW: fair point on 1 but I mean the club, you know that. Not guilty on 2. Good luck nonetheless. Over and out from me.

SN: Cheers. Given your projected 500k loss I'd say the"info and facts" you're waiting on is if SKY will give a 1yr reprieve

M'well: Cash Covetous

by Shane Nicholson

When we last checked with our good friends Motherwell they were busy trying to do the maths on a £900,000 revenue shortfall if Rangers didn't replace "Club 12" in the SPL fixture list.

Now we've got a little more insight into the books of the Steelmen, including the fact that Rangers supporters accounted for 31% of their turnover at the turnstiles last year:

"Last year our cash income from gate receipts was £1.64m comprising £670k season tickets, £970k fans pay at gate. Of the pay at the gate cash income Rangers represented £300k or 31% while Celtic represented £285k or 29% while the other 9 SPL clubs totalled £300k or 31% of cash income (an average of £26k per game)

"The potential predictable loss of income from no NEWCO is around £275K (Rangers income minus average SPL other). In addition to this we would expect our commercial revenues from hospitality and sponsorship to reduce but the potential here is unknown. Our best estimate is that hospitality would be reduced by £40k."

Looked at in the wide angle lense, we see that home dates with Rangers alone accounted for nearly 8% of the total income at Fir Park last year. This of course does not account for SPL television and sponsorship contracts predicated on RFC's participation in the competition.

Already envisioning a loss of £500,000 for the fiscal year 2011/2012, surely the alarm bells at Fir Park are ringing.

Then again, perhaps it's that a new found belief in laissez faire policies to football finance has crept into the Motherwell board room.

Maybe they see a brighter future for their club without the Big Blue Piggy Bank of Govan there to balance the books.

But I'd venture it's more likely they'll become one of their newly minted shirt sponsor's biggest customers.

23 June 2012

Club 12 v 10 clubs

And the dominoes fell...

by Shane Nicholson | CRO editor

Slowly but ever so surely the effects of a Rangers-less SPL are creeping into the media spotlight.

Potential ramifications for already thin television contracts, clubs asking their fans to stump up in record numbers for season tickets, and now, as summer steams along, chairman are looking at their budgets and wondering what could be.

Fair praise to St Johnstone boss Steve Lomas, who said all the way back in the closing days of April that the looming problems at Ibrox were already weighing on his mind as he was looking over the Perth club's contracts.

Just the other day we had the fine Mr Thompson's DUFC release the now stock "NO to Newco" statement, waxing poetic on sporting integrity, but sure to include the caveat that they hoped their supporters would respond by buying more and more season books.

Of course our fine friends in Edinburgh, the honorable Hearts, already with one HMRC run-in under their belts for this year; owned by a man who made his money by surely the most integritous of means; who put the same priority on paying staff wages as most of us do on sweeping the front drive.

And then came word from Fir Park, that the mighty Motherwell could well meet the same fate as RFC without our supporters to line their coffers. A club looking at a potential shortfall of £900,000 from various revenue streams, staring into the wide-open abyss of administration.

They see the empty seats when we're not around.

They see a TV deal that, while lacking in every way, makes sure their doors stay open.

Most of all they see a business model that without one of its most consistent and reliable revenue streams will die, and not a slow death, not one that can be overcome via stop gap measures until we rise again.

No, they see a business whose very existence will come into question immediately without our club and its thousands of supporters to float their books.

I wonder if we will be so kind as to return the favor they have shown us in our darkest hour?