Here is the District Valuer letter of 19 January 2005 talking about the Lease signed in June 2000 between Glasgow City Council and Celtic:
Points to note are:
- Celtic claim to have invested £500,000 in Westthorn.
- Lease Agreement signed in June 2000 due to end in June 2005, 6 months away.
- Sale Agreement comes into effect at the end of lease
- At end of lease Celtic is obliged to purchase Westthorn or
- Westthorn is to be JOINTLY MARKETED by both the council and Celtic
Question: Why is Celtic even involved if they don’t want the land?
Answer: Greed. They claim they invested £500,000 in Westthorn and wanted to claim it back from the council upon the sale to another party. When was invested since it may have been depreciated completely. So why did Glasgow City Council pander to them? If Westthorn was sold to a residential developer then a running track or all weather pitch is irrelevant.
Why Did Celtic Not Want Westthorn?
Again in the District Valuer letter January 2005 he states that Celtic wanted to get out of the Lease Agreement/Sale Agreement:
“Celtic plc are now wishing to set aside the existing sale agreement citing the club’s present financial position as the reason”
So lets get this straight a party signs a contract but just because they don’t like it they then want to back out of it?
Real Reason Celtic Did Not Want to Buy Westthorn
In January 2005 they were in the middle of negotiating for Lennoxtown.
Here is NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde website on their land deals at Lennoxtown:
November 2004 Celtic started negotiating with NHSGGC for the Upper Site of the former Lennox Castle Hospital. The club’s financial situation was true because they were going to buy another training site.
Not only that, in March 2005, Peter Lawwell made a miserly offer of £42,000 for Lennoxtown. Either the guy has a brass neck or he thought he would get away with it having inside knowledge in The Lennoxtown Initiative charity, East Dunbartonshire Council and NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde.
Here’s the knock back letter from Tom Campbell, Chief Executive of The Lennoxtown Initiative:
Within the first paragraph it says “It is predicated on the offer of 26 January 2005”. Celtic were in the middle of negotiating and wanted Lennoxtown badly.
No way did Celtic want to buy Westthorn, even Barrowfield which they already had was a dead duck.
But what about the Westthorn Sale Agreement coming at the end of the Lease Agreement in June 2005? They needed to get out of that.
What Did Glasgow City Council Do to Help Celtic?
Firstly they tore up the Sale Agreement forcing Celtic either to bid or else it would have been marketed openly to other bidders.
No way was this going onto the open market.
Celtic were given an Option. As explained before an Option, a contract, normally has a price, well Glasgow City Council gave Celtic the option for free, absolutely nothing.
The duration of the option was extended 4 years, until 2009. Now an option contract is not enforceable like a Sale Agreement contract. The option holder, Celtic, could let the option lapse in 2009, however they had the flexibility of when to exercise the option and buy Westthorn or let it lapse without buying. That flexibility was given so that Celtic could build Lennoxtown, which opened in October 2007 and they then had 2 more years in which to decide whether to buy Westthorn or not.
Glasgow City Council took a legally enforceable Sale agreement then
- let Celtic off the hook
- Gave them a free/no charge option
- gave them the flexibility of 4 years of when to decide to buy
- or not to buy
Also as we’ve seen in a previous post from the District Valuer’s condemnation of Glasgow City Council’s negotiating skills to obtain a decent return for Glasgow ratepayers left a lot to be desired.
Then Glasgow City Council needed to set the price of Westthorn, and the other lands in the Celtic Triangle. That is a bit like the Bermuda Triangle except for it’s where Glasgow lands disappear into rent-free. Price and the corruption of the URS Study from October 2004 is left for several other posts. Except here’s what the District Valuer said January 2005 on the URS Report:
The District Valuer says it’s a “desktop study” and “appears to be somewhat contradictory in its conclusions”.
Question: Does the actions above, of Glasgow City Council, look like they had the interests of the public purse in the front of their minds when negotiating?