It’s our favourite time of the year once more, yes the annual accounts have been released and at first glance they are painful viewing. Beyond the headline grabbing losses however there is some things to examine further and some questions to answer.
The points of note:
* Losses for the year ending June 2021 stand at £23.5m, increased from £15.9m in 2020.
* Revenue is down almost £12m.
* Gate receipts and hospitality income is down almost £17.5m.
* Retail income of £4.2m (Castore deal)
* Sponsorship and advertising income of £4.7m
* Season ticket income of £17m
* European income of £11.19m
How has the losses happened?
The loss is largely down to two big factors really, the unprecedented closed door situation which cost the club £17.5m in match day income. Even if we take costs and expenses on match day, that goes a long way to explaining the loses of £23.5m.
Player purchases, namely Ianis Hagi, Kemar Roofe and Cedric Itten totalled over £10m.
That is a swing of £28m which begins to explain the losses and brings you closer to why the club expect to be close to trading profit very soon. As well as Museum costs, loan repayments to Dave King and other small factors, it’s remarkable it’s that amount to me because without this board it could be catastrophic.
We can’t continue to operate at those losses and if that spirals, continues, or the losses don’t begin to become smaller and we become self sufficient in the few years as predicted, then for me we need to ask serious questions. We are fortunate to have businessmen to guide us through this.
What about Castore?
Castore income is at £4.2m. If you think £3m is paid every year that means an additional £1.2m has been earned in bonus payments for hitting sales target. Now there is obvious variants to consider, Castore bonus payments may be paid at certain times out with the accounts period and does not include new strip sales as well as the avalanche of ‘55 merchandise’.
If we journey back to my interview with Tom Beahon ( https://fourladshadadream.blog/2020/05/20/tom-beahon-exclusive-interview-castore-the-truth-of-the-25m-deal-kit-and-megastore-news/ ) he explained that the deal could be worth £25m over 5 years and one of the most profitable in clubs history.
So we have came up slightly short on that but the projection of the deal is around where it was predicted, if we take the variants (which we don’t know beyond speculation) next year may be higher and more payments may take that up further, especially with record shirt sales this season.
So is it light or low?
It’s probably light but because we don’t know the structure and next year could be higher, for me it is around where we predicted it should be. However, when figures of potentially £7-9m a season are mentioned on a ‘Great year’, then people will be disappointed and ask just how far away are those ‘Big payments’, I think that’s totally fair.
James Bisgrove and Commercial income?
This amounts to £4.7m and the growth in commercial partners has went from around ten to now over forty since Bisgrove began. More deals have been announced since the end of the accounts year also so the figure continues to grow.
Add that to the £4.2m Castore income and around £1.3m in membership fees (MyGers) then it brings the overall commercial Department income to around £10m.
If we remember that was the forecasted amount by James Bisgrove in a blog interview with me here https://fourladshadadream.blog/2021/06/14/james-bisgrove-interview-the-multi-million-pound-man-revolutionising-rangers-commercially/.
It is fair to then say that Castore and commercial departments are delivering what they predicted or there abouts. The big question is whether that is enough. Commercial growth however is up almost 20% for the year with sponsorship and advertising up 50%.
I won’t sit and tell anyone either deal is good enough or where it should be, but on the face of it the massive upturn in revenue of £10m, largely thanks to James Bisgrove, is huge for the club and still plenty of scope to grow further.
Should Rangers have a better kit deal worth more is arguable but worth considering we came from a sports direct stronghold and a nightmare situation.
Should Rangers have as many sponsorship partners? That again is arguable depending on your viewpoint, the fact is we need that income and should in theory continue to grow from a brand viewpoint that was relatively destroyed by previous incumbents, worth remembering.
What about liabilities?
Thanks to loan conversion and new loans the actual money owed is down further this year. It has come down to just over £10m.
From the accounts – ‘As at 30 June 2021, there are loans with investors amounting to £10.3 million (board members), other commercial loans of £1.9 million, whilst the Group also has lease agreements totalling £1.7 million.
As at 30 June 2021, the Group held £3.3 million within cash and bank balances’
The club require around £7.5m funding before seasons end which the board, in particular Douglas Park and John Bennett, have agreed to fund.
When you consider that owed money is largely due to boardroom investors which most will be transferred into shares, then it’s not an unhealthy situation.
It should be remembered also that our assets are our own.
First of all I’m not an accountant, I am a normal fan and I don’t have higher knowledge of numbers etc, so this is very much a fans guide and based on my own limited knowledge and what has been said in previous interviews (as above).
£23.5m losses is not good, there is no sugarcoating that and the board have done an outstanding job to cover that. Quite frankly the work of Douglas Park, John Bennett and other investors is staggering. The fact they converted our owed moneys down during that time and agreed to cover this season’s shortfall is monumental. They should be rightly considered greats of this club.
To me the losses are off set by Covid being a unprecedented event. Had that not happened with the money spent on players, then we would be much healthier, but the players coming in was gambled on the title arriving by a board of investors who are also fans. They bankrolled our efforts and the title is as much their legacy as anyone else’s, it really is outstanding.
The truth is, in reality, that in a normal year the business should be more or less self sufficient, mirrored by expected shortfalls of only £0.4m next season.
Player trading can not be bankrolled by investors to the tune of £10m every summer and this is where player trading comes in. At the moment we are lucky to have various player assets and whilst we argue about their value, they do at least have that and we have assets to trade if necessary. We know that there is high interest in the likes of Nathan Patterson and Ianis Hagi, unfortunately for us we might have to start living in the world where fees of £8-12m are accepted (or whatever the fees are, that a mere example and hopefully are higher) and half is banked with the rest to buy the replacement.
That’s the world we live in and when we don’t make sales we have a summer where we don’t spend, like the one we have just seen. That’s Rangers reality as far as I can see and something we have to appreciate.
One qualification for the Champions league could fund the club for three seasons in terms of transfers and money in the bank which is why this season is arguably even more important than the last from a business perspective.
Should we be worried? No, but we have to be realistic. In my opinion when we are shouting about new partners and MyGers fees then we need to realise it all goes towards making us self sufficient and yes we are customers to the club sadly so they ask a lot, but as we have covered our board are also giving a lot. Our board are absolute heroes in my eyes and as we come to the point of self sufficiency in a few years, they will have come full circle.
We are fortunate to have a board that forecasted a ten year turnaround and as far as I can see it is on course.
We should always ask questions and should the forecasted scenarios of the coming seasons not come to pass, then we should strongly be asking for those answers. We should remain vigilant but that is entirely natural.
For now we can be thankful we are Champions with a board that is watching over our club. 55 was their gift to us and one of which we are eternally grateful.
The next stages is player trading and continued commercial growth, whilst of course winning.
It’s Rangers after all.