Life is about finding a balance between selfishness and compassion, between doing what’s best for you and yours, while ensuring you don’t inflict too much collateral damage/annoyance in the process.
Celtic, for the most part, do a decent job of straddling this line, yet the continued decision to release three kits every season is a step too far. On the superstore website an adult’s top costs £56, £64 if you are a fan of the long-sleeved version. For a young, single, working man this isn’t too much of an expenditure, even if you were to buy the home, away and alternate tops. But what about families? The children’s top costs an absurd £43. Again, a manageable fee you would like to think, yet what Celtic-loving child stops with just one top? They want every single top, every pair shorts and every bundle of socks, putting a huge amount of stress on financially-frail parents. This wouldn’t be an issue if we were living in some advanced utopia, a state where the gap between the uber-rich and the dishevelled poor was tiny, yet we are living in a nation where more and more people are succumbing to poverty. A land where the cost of living increases steadily but the average wage is going down. In the last two years alone, we have seen a 16.97% increase in food bank usage. 20% of the adult population do not have savings and are not in a position to build a pension. A nation where, according to Child Poverty Action Group, as many as 230,000 kids can be classified as impoverished.
This is the bazaar that Celtic as a club are hawking their wares. For a club founded on the principles of decency and charity it is more than a little bit unsightly.
There will be people out there who see nothing wrong with the club’s decision. Will feel as though the club are operating well within their rights, that any perceived gun loitering menacingly at the fan’s temple, is merely a figment of their imagination. No one is being forced to buy anything outwith their means. This mode of thinking, while no doubt abundant, ignores both the reality of family life and the societal pressures that accompany it.
However, it is difficult to chastise Celtic too much, they are a club trying to navigate some pretty turbulent waters. It is no secret that the explosion in finances south of the border has left Celtic in a precarious position. As a club, measured by the traditional aspects of what makes an entity big, Celtic remain enormous, yet this counts for little when Championship clubs regularly pay over £10million for a single player. Of course, it is illogical to compare our game with that found south of the border yet, the close proximity to the English game makes such comparisons inevitable.
What is more worrying is the fact that Scottish football struggles against nations of comparative size. Last season for instance, Scottish football as a collective was capable of generating £149million, less than the likes of Austria, Sweden and Denmark. What truly highlights Scotland’s plight, is the fact that the Netherland’s were able to amass just shy of £500million.
Celtic’s intake last season was somewhere in the region of £52million, £36million less than Premier League minnows Bournemouth. Such disparity in earnings allied with sky-high aspirations forces the club to think outside of the box, where not every idea is going to be a winner.
With Brendan Rodgers at the helm of the club, the finances appear rosier. This season the revenue increased to £71.5million. With a reported £30.9million in the bank acting as a buffer against disaster, the club is in as healthy position as possible.
It is a good thing that the Celtic hierarchy are looking for new ways to boost the club and ensure they remain as competitive as possible, sadly the issue of three separate kits a season is a step too far. The mining of people’s, some of whom are already depleted, is an act of unfiltered avarice.