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Financial Integrity, Football

Celtic’s Mortgages to Co-operative Bank and Glasgow City Council: Westhorn Training Ground

Exec comm map Westhorn

Celtic F.C. Limited, the wholly owned subsidiary of Celtic PLC, have loans from the Co-operative Bank of £34 million http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/business/Finance/article1304380.ece which are secured against land in 3 mortgages:

  1. Celtic Park
  2. Celtic Triangle [The land around Celtic Park]
  3. Westhorn Training Ground

This post relates to the Westhorn Training Ground which lies right next to Barrowfield, Celtic’s old training centre. It is the cross hatched area in the map above.

Mortgages

Celtic PLC has two mortgages on the Westhorn land. All Outstanding mortgages can be view at the bottom of: https://www.duedil.com/company/SC003487/celtic-plc/financials

One to the Co-operative Bank:

Cooperative Westhorn

And another to Glasgow City Council:

GCC Westhorn

The amazing coincidence is that the two mortgages were created the same day, the 21st April 2009.

So are were led to believe that Celtic, Glasgow City Council, the Co-operative Bank and Harper McLeod, who drafted the Celtic-Co-operative Bank mortgage, were in the same room making the transfers and agreements? Or was there a lot of to and fro’ing across Glasgow that day?

Seems strange that the land became security on a Co-operative Bank loan the same day it was sold by Glasgow City Council. Hmmm coincidence?

Questions?

Why did Celtic want Westhorn in April 2009?

Lennoxtown Training Centre was opened in October 2007, by the then chairman, Brian Quinn, a year and half earlier. It obviously wasn’t wanted to extend Barrowfield, their old training centre. They already had Lennoxtown. It is understandable for Celtic to acquire land near their ground, in the Celtic Triangle, however Westhorn is not nearby. Why continue with an irrelevant purchase – unless someone else places a higher value on it – perhaps the Co-operative Bank?

Why were Glasgow City Council selling the land when it obviously wasn’t going to be developed as a training ground?

Why not sell the land for residential development like the old Belvidere Hospital site nearby and get higher council taxes every year? Or hold a competitive auction? In the Glasgow City Council mortgage above, the area is 5.33 Hectares which is 53,300 sq metres. That’s about 7.5 football pitches, assuming 7,000 sqm a pitch. That’s a lot of houses.

So what was the valuation of the land?

Valuation Differences

In Glasgow City Council’s Executive Committee report for 30th November 2007, available under reports http://www.glasgow.gov.uk/councillorsandcommittees/DocumentSearchPublic.asp on their website, it states:

Westthorn Sic Rcreation Ground

However Gerry Braiden, in The Herald article titled ‘Celtic close to deal over disputed land‘ on Wednesday, 17th January 2007 stated:

‘Despite the intervention of the District Valuer it has not been possible, after almost two years, to agree a price for Westthorn Recreation Ground, previously valued at around £5m.’

http://www.heraldscotland.com/celtic-close-to-deal-over-disputed-land-1.851123

That’s quite a discrepancy between £675,000 and £5 million. One is over 7 times the other. The price paid is quite a discount.

Considering that the day Glasgow City Council sold the land, it then becomes security for part of the Co-operative bank loan it appears as if the purpose was to facilitate the delivery of security for the Co-Operative Bank loan? Surely this is state support and against EU regulations as well as UEFA Financial Fair Play [FFP] rules. And who is on the UEFA board for FFP, former Celtic chairman, Brian Quinn.

Which valuation was placed on the land within the Co-operative Bank mortgage £675,000 or £5 million or more?

Note: The reason Glasgow City Council have mortgage is to have Standard Security to ensure they get 50% of any uplift in value if Celtic sold the land within 5 years of the sale as can be seen above in the Executive Committee extract above. With the sale in 2009 then this mortgage will lapse in 2014.

©footballtaxhavens.wordpress.com 2013 CC-by icon

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Discussion

8 thoughts on “Celtic’s Mortgages to Co-operative Bank and Glasgow City Council: Westhorn Training Ground

  1. Do you really believe you will get answers? This is just further proof, that how far the sc.. have infiltrated our council and other lending bodies. If I was a member, or co payer, of any of those groups, I would be calling in the police, or any other fiduciary body…..this stinks to the high heavens..

    Posted by ron cawley | October 30, 2013, 11:42 am
  2. Who would have thought it, up to their eyes in debt to the coop.
    Mind you , the divi will be good.

    Posted by John Ferguson | October 30, 2013, 11:47 am
  3. There is a lot more to it than your article suggests as the council and club are being investigated by the EU in regard to state aid, we also have guys like PZJ on McMurdo’s blog uncover other glaring irregularities, in Regard to the council ignoring requests to release geographical reports on Westhorn or Historic Scotland being ignored in regard to London Road school and even if the school has been sold as the club and council both claimed, the council are now saying club has until April 2014 to finalise the £1 deal for land valued at £300,000.

    We also have concerns as to whether these property’s were properly marketed as required under state aid rules to give all a chance to purchase and of course along with dates of charges placed against the stadium and whether the club received a mortgage at full market value along with how much the charge the council attached to the stadium, or if any work was done on the ground at Westhorn before the mortgage was in place, or what about the adjacent land and there values and sales and if other works were carried out, or if Geographical reports were done on them or was it only for club.

    The VP of the commission Mr Almunia says it distorts competition so if the club and council are found guilty will a commission be set up by the SPFL using Lord Nimmo Smith due to the fact the extremely large discounts given to the club obviously helped buy better players and pay higher wages, giving an unfair sporting advantage ! I mean for sporting integrity’s sake and all that.

    Posted by Alan Parker | October 30, 2013, 11:55 am
  4. Hi, as a Celtic supporter I am very keen to find out more about the alleged “state aid” which was first brought to my attention after commenting on a post about Celtic’s AGM resolution on Bill McMurdo’s blog. Having read your article I have a couple of points/question I would like to raise.

    The first point is around the 2 questions you posed in the blog, why did Celtic buy and why did GCC sell if Lennontown was up and running. The Herald article you have quoted from states “Both parties have been engaged in often acrimonious discussions over Celtic’s valuation of part of its training facilities which it is required to buy as part of an agreement with the council, even though a purpose-built training academy is being constructed in East Dunbartonshire.” so i believe that this would answer the both questions.

    As for what this previous agreement was, the discussions had been taking place for “almost 2 years” (again quoted from the same article so this indicates negotiations have been on going since 2005) and are described as “acrimonious” so perhaps Celtic had previously entered into an agreement to buy the land which they could not back out of. If discussion had been ongoing since 2005 perhaps redevelopment of the training ground was the original plan, after all discussions started “almost 2 years” before Lennoxtown began construction.

    With regards to the length of time the sale took to go through (2005-2009) I would like your opinion on how this long drawn out time frame fits in with the theory of “state aid”? If Celtic were in need of state aid it would that not suggest a pretty desperate need for money? If the council were providing state aid would they not want to rush things through to avoid it being picked up? What do you see as the reasoning behind the 4 year (approx) period of negotiations?

    Posted by Tony | October 30, 2013, 2:45 pm
    • It matters not length of negotiations only if deals done constitute state aid so If Westhorn is worth £5 million and Celtic bought it for £1 million and there is nothing wrong with the land as GCC still won’t release report then that is state aid as is is gaining a mortgage on the land before work to repair alleged faulty land , also Mr Almunia from the EU has said it should only be given to businesses in trouble ! are Celtic or the company running them in trouble regardless of C.Execs and Chairman’s claim ?

      So the money saved on land deals is used to pay higher wages or higher transfer fees is surely state aid and Mr Almunia in his findings on 5 Dutch clubs has said it distorts competition !

      If found to be true after state aid investigation is finished then Lord Nimmo Smith should be called back to convene a hearing against the club for the years the charge / mortgages are attached to the stadium with title / trophy stripping or a massive fine be listed as possible punishments.

      Posted by Alan Parker | November 17, 2013, 2:37 pm
  5. A lot of questions need to be answered here. Integrity my a*se!

    Posted by David Somerville | October 30, 2013, 9:30 pm
  6. So that’s them cheating again, only this time they are cheating the citizens of Glasgow. Between this and dodging corporation tax, where will it all end? What other shady deals will be discovered in the near future?

    Is this the company/club which takes the moral high-ground trumpeting ‘INTEGRITY’ to the entire world? Surely not, as it seems like they have been pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes… ehhm … of course, all in the name of ‘INTEGRITY!’

    Just think how many O.A.Ps. could get extra help to heat their homes this winter with the money Celtic are stealing from them. Think about that!

    Posted by giesabrekk | November 21, 2013, 8:59 pm
  7. Lennoxtown land was valued at £30.2 MILLILON yet this club got the land for £400.000 + so can someone tell me how ANY council can sell land with that value for 1/64 of its TRUE value…???. Once again this club with it’s unblemished history shows us the meaning of INTEGRITY….their version

    Posted by ronniepark | January 7, 2014, 8:10 pm

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