News broke yesterday that Celtic are looking to invest in an A-League club, with Central Coast Mariners and Brisbane Roar the reported targets.
Central Coast Mariners would be the best choice, quite simply it is a club that has enjoyed its success largely through developing players.
The Mariners have an academy as well as a subsidiary called Western NSW Mariners on top of having an NPL team, it is a club that develops talent, not one that merely buys it.
The club struggles with crowds and sponsorship and is the very embodiment of the Auld Biskit Tin mentality.
Celtic’s array of sponsorship could be brought to the Mariners, any brands who wanted to expand their reach to an untapped demographic would have a nationwide competition to use as a platform.
By basing a team in Gosford it is also just an hour from Sydney which is home to both Sydney City Celtic Supporters Club and Western Sydney Celtic Supporters Club, there is a Central Coast CSC and also Hunter Vally CSC to the immediate north as well.
The business sense for Celtic is quite simple, if they produce one Tom Rogic then the entire outlay is covered.
Take Melbourne City, for example, the old Melbourne Heart were bought out by the City group, owners of Manchester City.
This club then assembled a decent squad including Aaron Mooy without paying a transfer, Mooy was subsequently loaned out to Huddersfield where he excelled earning a permanent move after their promotion to the Premier League.
Firstly his registration was transferred from Melbourne City to Manchester City on a free transfer, he was then loaned out, excelled and sold for 9.1 million euro according to Transfermarkt.
That is AUD $14.2 million, The City group themselves bought the club for a reported AUD $11.5 million.
That is to say that if the club develops one player, with Celtic’s connections in Europe the player’s value can pay off the purchase of the club.
There is little chance of Mariners costing more than Melbourne City, so if we look at that as a ballpark figure it shows that the investment is both affordable and has a good opportunity to provide a dividend on and off the park.
I don’t believe we would see the Mariners change their name like the Heart did, but there would be the opportunity to put them in Celtic’s iconic Hoops for away matches which would open up significant opportunities in merchandising.
The A-League has a marquee system as well as controls on foreign imports, this would also offer up two opportunities for Celtic, the first would be to loan players out who are not getting game time at Paradise, the second would be to give players not quite up to Celtic’s level but with potential a shot at developing their game in Australia.
Think of it from this years perspective, Ryan Christie, Scott Alan, Cristian Gamboa and Liam Henderson would have been loaned out, Louis Moult would be bought from Motherwell and sent down under as Marquee to develop until he was up to our level.
Dafabet would sponsor the team and make a pitch to Australian gamblers, the blue tongue stadium would be renamed the Magners stadium and all the CSC’s would be invited along with the people of the Central Coast.
It ticks all the boxes, hopefully, the club goes ahead and buys the Mariners, you can bet your life that Celtic’s business template would work a lot better than Oldco Rangers attempt with Northern Spirit, a club that like their mother club…died.
This news goes to proove what we all know, our club is getting stronger by the day.