By CRITICAL BILL
First the history lesson that we’d all rather forget.
In 2014 we were drawn against Polish champions Legia Warsaw in the Champions League 2nd rd qualifier. A tricky tie but against a team with far fewer resources than us. We also handicapped ourselves by taking the Commonwealth Games cash and playing the home leg at Murrayfield – result a 6-1 aggregate defeat.
Extremely good fortune allowed us back into the competition and we were drawn against Slovene side Maribor. Result a 2-1 aggregate defeat including another defeat at home.
Wind forward a year and we’re up against Swedish campions Malmo. At 2-0 up at home we get caught on the break and concede. The final result 3-2. A 2-0 defeat in Sweden saw us out on our ear again
After two successful campaigns in the two subsequent years (both not without their scary moments) we faced AEK last summer. Result a 3-2 aggregate defeat.
This year in the third round we faced Cluj of Romania. As with all the above mentioned teams, we enjoyed a significant financial advantage. Result 5-4 aggregate defeat.
Other than Legia who would get out of their Europa Cup group, all the other teams would crash and burn in their CL groups. The combined total of CL group points for Malmo, Maribor and AEK was 6. I fully expect Slavia to take care of Cluj quite easily in the next round.
In all the above ties, we have gone into them with serious deficiencies in our squad that we knew about long before the draws were made.
Against Legia and Maribor, it was a need for a striker that could play the type of game that Ronnie Deila wanted.
The following year, we knew were going to be without Denayer and Van Dijk was going to be sold. Ronnie badly wanted a left back. After failing to sign Mitchell Dijk and Halstenberg of St Pauli, we went with what we had. Denayer was replaced by Boyata who had hardly played in the previous couple of years
With regards to AEK, we knew the manager wanted an upgrade on right back, we knew Boyata had World Cup duty and was angling for a move. Neither issue was addressed.
This year 6 defenders have either left, been released or sold. We have signed three. One Hatem And Elhamed didn’t play right back for most of last season and hardly has a glowing CV. The left back Bolingoli has always looked more of a wing back. While for whatever reason, the £7M French defender Julien was left on the bench by the manager. A deal was agreed to sign an out and out left back in Perraud but that was shelved apparently because we felt it would undermine our negotiations with Arsenal over Tierney.
Scott SInclair, who has done it on the European stage on a number of occasions for Celtic, was left out for Lewis Morgan. Morgan has yet to show that he can do it at SPFL level never mind Europe. Shved scores a great goal away in Estonia. He wasn’t even on the bench against Cluj.
Scott Brown has been a great Celtic captain. But not for the first time, his performances have led to many of us questioning if he can still cut it. The game against Cluj I fear was one too many. Last year his rather obvious replacement – John McGinn – was available for £3M. By the time we ponied up with the money, he was away. he is now valued at £20M plus and has began his career in the EPL well.
You can blame Deila, Rodgers and Lennon for those defeats. You can scratch you head at Tony Stokes playing the lone strikers role, Charlie Mulgrew at Left back, Jack Hendry getting a game or Callum McGregor going to left back after what happened at Ibrox. But there is also something fundamental obvious in all of them. We have gone in to what many describe as the most important games of the season chronically under prepared with gaping holes in the side. Our forward planning is a joke.
Which brings me to the thrust of this article. Here is the remuneration for our CEO, Peter Lawwell, per season with the club’s turnover beside it
|CEO TOTAL REMUNERATION (£s)
|800,200 + 650,00 loyalty bonus
|1,150,000 + 2,300,00 bonus **
- Salary was reflective of being in the job 8 months until financial year end June 2004
**Assuming that his basic £1,1500,00 remains the same as last year and no benefits in kind the latter of which is unlikely given the two previous seasons.
*** An estimate based on missing out on CL group revenue and assuming much of the Dembele transfer was paid up front
I estimate Peter Lawwell’s total remuneration since he joined Celtic as CEO to be at least £15,424,356. His initial package at the start was around £249,000. Roughly around 0.35% of turnover. His total earnings for this past season was probably around 4.5% of turnover. Our average turnover under his tenure is around £68M. Slightly less than the actual amount for his first season in 2003/4. One thing is for sure, he is no genius at growing the business.
Now let’s compare him to CEO in other leagues. According to the Swiss Rambler twitter account, the highest paid EPL director in 2016/17 was Spurs Daniel Levy at £6M. the second highest was Ivan Gazidis at arsenal on £2.61M. Since then Levy pay has gone down to around £3M, Gazidis has left Arsenal and Woodward at Man U has seen his deal rise to £4M. Peter Lawwell may not be the best paid football director in the UK but he is up there in the stratosphere. Other than possibly Scott Brown can you think of a Celtic employee who has ever earned more than him?
Reports from Holland suggest that the basic combined salaries of Marc Overmars and Edwin van der Sar (both hailed as architects of Ajax’s recent financial and on field success) would be slightly less than Peter Lawwell’s basic £1,150,000. Remember these guys almost got the Dutch club to a CL final, did manage to reach a Europa Cup final and are selling players at £75M plus.
Incidentally, the salary of the Celtic Chairman – a largely figurehead role – was £30K under Brian Quinn who you would regularly see do interviews with the media. Now there seems to be a policy of “Radio Silence” for the position but earnings wise, since 2007, its jumped to £50K under John Reid and is now £80K under Iain Bankier whose only noteworthy contribution has been a cack-handed defence of Iain Livingston when the latter came under attack for his role as a Conservative Minister.
Chris McKay’s salary is now at the level that Peter Lawwell was when he started his role as CEO.
When Peter Lawwell became CEO in autumn 2003, he inherited a team that had just made a European final and was on its way to the quarter finals of another. We have done nothing of note since in European competition. For four of the past 6 years we have not made Champions League group qualification resulting in missing out on over £100M in revenue.
If we had gone out to say Arsenal (which we did in 2009) then you could say fair enough. To lose to Maribor, Malmo and AEK is embarrassing. To lose 6-1 on aggregate to Legia and concede four goals at home to Cluj is humiliating.
Even if you deny the reality that poor squad management has been a huge factor in our downfall and just point the finger at the managers (the managers do of course bear some responsibility) who appointed them?
We are not set up to compete in Europe. Comparisons with Ajax, Porto and Red Bull are just false. We are set up to finish ahead of Rangers, even if its just by one goal. Proof of that came at 17.30pm on Cup Final day – this quote from Peter Lawwell summed it all up “We had approaches from many agents, many representatives of managers. We put them in the file, just left it and kept our word to Neil really.”
Im must be honest, I’m not even confident this season we will manage even that bare minimum. And seriously, can anyone begin to justify why we pay the CEO and directors their current levels of remuneration just to stay a bawhair in front of a Dave King led Rangers?