Football in the UK increasingly has become a playground for the wealthy. Surprisingly it’s not all elusive Chinese or Russians occupying the upper echelons of the game at the bigger clubs like Arsenal, Manchester, Liverpool and so on.
In fact, there are some surprising names at the top but not all of them have brought winning ways with dealing with their wealth.
7: Liverpool owner John W Henry – $2.7 billion
A sports tycoon, John W. Henry is the principal owner of the baseball team Boston Red Sox and Liverpool.
As a son of soybean farmers, Henry traded corn and soybean futures in the 1970s before founding JWH, an investing trading firm, in 1981. Henry’s forays in baseball have been more successful than his punt in soccer as the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 and 2007.
Beside sports clubs, Henry is also the owner of daily newspaper The Boston Globe.
Most expensive signing: Sadio Mane – £38.5 million (2016)
Source: Sunday Times
6: Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley – $2.9 billion
As a school dropout, Mike Ashley left school at 16 and, with a £10,000 loan from his parents, opened a sport and ski shop in Maidenhead two years later. He grew the business, opened other sites, and now has over 400 Sports Direct stores.
Ashley bought Newcastle United for around £135 million in 2007 and his 10-year ownership has divided the club’s fanbase, who have protested over his management. In recent years, though, Ashley has delivered. He convinced Rafael Benitez to manage the club and oversaw a run to the 2016-2017 Championship title.
The club will compete in the Premier League in the 2017-2018 season.
Most expensive signing: Georginio Wijnaldum – £17 million (2015)
Source: Sunday Times
5: West Bromwich Albion owner Guochuan Lai – $3.9 billion
Guochuan became wealthy due to construction and landscape development. Lately he is focussed on private investment projects.
His acquisition of West Bromwich Albion was led by an asset management company in 2014. Last season was Lai’s best with the club as West Brom finished 10th in the Premier League.
Most expensive signing: Nacer Chadli – £13 million (2016)
Source: Birmingham Mail
4: Southampton owner Katharina Liebherr – $4.2 billion
Katharina Liebherr’ wealth comes from a family business that leads the way in manufacturing construction machinery.
At the start of the Liebherr era, Southampton was in League One but is now considered a Premier League staple. Furthermore, it has transfer market nous and one of the best youth player development systems in English sport.
Recently, Katharina Liebherr has reportedly discussed a Southampton partnership with Chinese investors.
Most expensive signing: Sofiane Boufal – £15.9 million (2016)
3: Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke – $11.5 billion
His first job may have been as a floor sweeper but by hist 10th he developed a bookkeeping nous.
At 36, he had a commercial real estate empire called Kroenke Group and, as the head of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, he also owns the Los Angeles Rams (NFL), Colorado Mammoth (Lacrosse), Colorado Rapids (MLS), and Arsenal.
Arsenal is a Premier League club.
Most expensive signing: Mesut Ozil – £44.5 million (2013)
2: Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich – $11.3 billion
As an Oligarch, Abramovich made £10 billion when he sold a 73% stake in Sibneft to Gazprom in 2005.
Since Abramovich became owner of Chelsea, the West London club has enjoyed an unprecedented era of success thanks to five Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, one Champions League trophy, and one Europa League title.
In his first 10 years at the helm, Abramovich spent over £2 billion on the club but the 50-year-old won’t rest on his laurels as he looks set to embark on another summer of expenditure.
Most expensive signing: Fernando Torres – £50 million (2011)
Source: Sunday Times
1: Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour – $28.2 billion
Sheikh Mansour has a stake in Virgin Galactic, Daimler, and Sky News Arabia. He also just happens to be the deputy prime minister of the United Arab Emirates.
Like Roman Abramovich at Chelsea, Sheikh Mansour has completely revolutionised Manchester City as the club has won two Premier League titles, one FA Cup, and two League Cup trophies since he acquired full control in 2008.
But City is not the only club Sheikh Mansour owns, as he controls Melbourne City, New York City, Atletico Torque, and has a minority stake in Yokhoma F. Marinos through City Football Group.
Most expensive signing: Kevin de Bruyne – £54 million (2015)