Football: The men and women whose money makes English football go round

Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich. Photo / Photosport
Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich. Photo / Photosport

It's a hobby that only a select few can afford to try. For most of us, owning a Premier League football club is a forlorn dream.

But not this lot. This eclectic bunch come in all shapes and sizes: an heiress, an oil baron, a printing mogul, a one-time adult movie producer, an Egyptian runaway, an online gambling pioneer and many, many more.

They hail from the USA, Russia, China, Switzerland, Wales, Iran, Thailand and the Potteries and boast frankly incomprehensible wealth.

Sportsmail examines the Premier League power brokers; the men and women whose money makes our football world go round.


Owners: Kroenke Sports Enterprises UK Inc (owned by Stan Kroenke) - 67.05%; Red and White Securities (owned by Alisher Usmanov via Red and White Holdings Ltd) - 30.04%; Others - 2.91%

Stan Kroenke has held the majority shareholding in Arsenal's parent company, Arsenal Holdings, since 2011. The American, who also owns NFL franchise LA Rams, NHL outfit Colorado Avalanche and MLS side Colorado Rapids, is the 55th richest American.

Notoriously camera-shy, he added a further £368,000 of Arsenal shares to his portfolio in July, taking him to a two-thirds holding in the club.

Usmanov is a stakeholder in Russian iron ore giant Metalloinvest, a communications magnate, an early Facebook investor and a self-made billionaire worth an eye-popping $13.6bn.

The 63-year-old donated $13m to the Russian Football Federation in 2015 to help pay off former manager Fabio Capello.


Owners: AFCB Enterprises Ltd (owned by Maxim Demin and his immediate family via the Opalus Trust) - 75%; PEAK6 Football Holdings LLC (Matthew Hulsizer and wife Jenny Just have a 62.84% stake, the remainder is spread among several investors) - 25%

Demin took the total shareholding in Bournemouth in 2011, when he bought Jeff Mostyn and Eddie Mitchell's respective 50 per cent stakes.

A quiet and unassuming Russian, he was brought to the Cherries after contacting Mitchell's building company with a view to constructing a house on Sandbanks.

Demin, with an individual worth of around £100m, has bankrolled the Dorset club from the edge of financial oblivion to the Premier League's top table.

Peak6 is a Chicago-based investment firm who previously failed in their attempts to takeover at Reading in 2014. Majority shareholder Hulsizer owns the Minnesota Wild ice hockey team, began his career in risk management and has won a Tony award for his work in theatrical production.


Owners: Mike Garlick - 47.33%; John Banaszkiewicz - 27.55%; Barry Kilby, Clive Holt, Brian Nelson, Terry Crabb, Brendan Flood - 17.96%; Others - 6.96%

The largest shareholder Garlick is a Burnley lad, born and bred, who progressed through the IT trade before founding his own company, MBA PLC, which became the first profitable UK tech firm to float on Nasdaq.

Banaszkiewicz is a freight trader who co-founded his own company in 2002.
Kilby invested £3million in the Clarets in 1999 and spent 13 years as chairman until 2012. He founded and grew Europrint - a scratchcard manufacturer - from, well, scratch to become a behemoth in the industry.

Nelson is a textile manufacturer by trade who has been known to pay for team flights to away games out of his own pocket, while Flood has managed a private equity firm worth £80m.


Owner: Fordstam Ltd (Roman Abramovich is the ultimate controlling party of Chelsea's holding company)

Among the most notorious of Premier League owners, Abramovich's reign at Stamford Bridge began in 2003.

An orphan at the age of two, at 49 the Russian is among the world's wealthiest individuals having moved from toy manufacturing into the deep and murky world of oil.

He was elected to public office, representing the isolated Siberian area of Chukotka in 1999 and returned for a second term in 2005.

Through holding company Fordstam, Abramovich has given Chelsea interest-free loans topping £1billion over the past 16 years.


Owners: Steve Parish, David Blitzer, Joshua Harris (precise individual shareholdings not disclosed but reportedly 18% each); remainder split between several small shareholders including Steve Browett, Martin Long and Jeremy Hosking

The well respected Parish made his millions from reprographics, turning his company TAG Worldwide into a market leader before selling it in 2010.

A businessman who goes by the mantra 'the harder you practice, the luckier you get', Parish led the consortium which saved Palace from financial difficulty the same year.

Last year, he decreased his shareholding from 25% to allow American investors Blitzer and Harris to take a slice of the club.

Blitzer is a senior executive at the Blackstone Group - a private equity firm with revenues in excess of $7b. A part-owner of the New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia 76ers, he and Harris are scoping the British landscape with a view to cashing in on any potential NFL expansion across the Atlantic.

Harris, who went in with Blitzer in the Devils and 76ers deals, showed an interest in taking over at Aston Villa before negotiating their deal with Palace.


Owners: Blue Heaven Holdings Ltd (owned by Farhad Moshiri) - 49.90%; Bill Kenwright - 12.16%; Jon Woods - 8.90%; Others - 29.04%

The son of an army doctor, Moshiri made his fortune after meeting and working with Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov.

Moshiri had been a personal adviser to Usmanov for years, but they are now business partners and good friends. Together, they hold stakes in Russian mobile phone operator Megafon and Russian internet company

He sold his shares in Red and White Securities - the company used to buy into Arsenal - back to Usmanov this year before doing a deal with Kenwright following 18 months of negotiations.

Kenwright is a West End theatre and film producer, former actor and lifelong Everton fan, who bought a two-thirds stake in the club from Peter Johnson for £20m in 1999.

Woods joined the board in 2000 but his family have a long association with Goodison Park stretching back to 1892, when an ancestor lent the club £1,000 to build a stand.


Owners: Allamhouse Limited (owned by Assem Allam and family)

Egyptian Allam fled his home country in 1968, ending up on Humberside where he built his fortunes from the Hull shipyards.

The 2006 Ernst & Young entrepreneur of the year has become persona non grata in recent months after an attempt to change the club's name to Hull Tigers, the creation of a new club budge without the word 'Hull' and a public announcement that he was no longer willing to invest despite promotion to the Premier League.

The 77-year-old has injected around £70m into the club since taking charge in 2010.


Owner: King Power International Company LTD (KPI). Individual shareholding in Leicester is shared among the Srivaddhanaprabha family as follows: Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha - 51%; Voromas Srivaddhanaprabha, Apichet Srivaddhanaprabha, Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha and Aroonrong Srivaddhanaprabha - 10% each; Aimon Srivaddhanaprabha - 9%

The Foxes' Thai owners have enjoyed immense success over the past 12 months.

Family figurehead Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha is the majority shareholder in the King Power operation, having generated his wealth through duty free monopolies in the Far East.

King Power have total control over shopping outlets at the Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang airports and boast three other centres across Thailand.

Known for his grand displays of generosity - free doughnuts and beer for fans, a pledge of £2m to build a children's hospital in Leicester, £32,000 BMWs for each of his title-winning stars - Srivaddhanaprabha is also no stranger to hogging the limelight, be that by parking his helicopter in the middle of the King Power Stadium or his face on the front of the club's first Champions League matchday programme.


Owners: Fenway Sports Group (through NESV I, LLC) - shareholders with an interest larger than 10% are John W Henry, Tom Werner and Mike Gordon

The American investment group took control of Liverpool from Tom Hicks and George Gillett in 2010 and have steadily reinvigorated Anfield.

The owners of the Boston Red Sox, described by Forbes as 'the most sophisticated, synergistic player' in global sports management companies, have recently had to deny they are ready to listen to offers for the club.

Henry, worth more than £2bn - bought the Boston Globe newspaper for $70m in 2013, while partner-in-crime Werner - who has a personal wealth of £400m - is a former TV producer and screenwriter, and one-time personal adviser to President Bill Clinton.


Owner: City Football Group Limited (shareholding of the parent company is split between Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan - 86.21% - and CMC Football Holdings Limited - 13.79%)

The deputy prime minister of the UAE has turned City into a footballing behemoth since taking charge at the Etihad Stadium in 2008.

At 46 years old, Mansour has a personal wealth of more than £20bn and significant stakes in Virgin Galactic, Daimler and Sky Arabia.

Last year, Mansour sold a 13 per cent stake in City to Chinese investors CMC Football Holdings, led by media mogul Ruigang Li, for £265m - the same sum he paid for the entire club eight years ago.


Owner: Red Football LLC (owned by the Glazer family). United are registered on the New York Stock Exchange

Notoriously thrifty to the extent he bought $20 trousers despite being able to call on a fortune of $4.5bn, Malcolm Glazer took charge of United in 2005 despite having been rumoured never to have ventured inside Old Trafford.

Having first tested sports brand ownership in 1995, when he bought the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Floridian family have never truly won over the rank and file at the Theatre of Dreams.

That largely came as a result of the nature of the takeover - forged out of high-interest loans to hedge funds - and incendiary dividend payments to his sons on the club's board.

Joel and Avram Glazer took on the running of the club following their father's stroke in 2006 though each of the six siblings hold an equal 15 per cent stake in the Red Devils, with 10 per cent floated on the New York Stock Exchange.


Owner: Middlesbrough Football and Athletic Company (1986) Ltd (wholly controlled by Steve Gibson and Mike O'Neill via the Gibson O'Neill Company) - Gibson holds 75% per Gibson O'Neill, with O'Neill retaining a 25% shareholding

When Gibson took over at Boro, the club was on its knees; playing at Hartlepool's Victoria Park, struggling to even dream of silverware, nervously glancing over their shoulders at the looming threat of bankruptcy. Gibson built his team a stadium and delivered them glory.

The 59-year-old entrepreneur often operates in the shadows, rarely putting himself in the glare of the cameras. He was Middlesbrough's youngest councillor at the age of 21 in 1979 and was awarded the freedom of the city in 2004.

He became the majority shareholder of Middlesbrough in 1994 after acquiring around 90 per cent of the shares in the club.


Owner: St Mary's Football Group Ltd (owned by Katharina Liebherr)

Liebherr succeeded her father, Marcus, at the helm of the Saints following his death in 2010 after ousting the popular chief executive Nicola Cortese.

The heiress to a £3bn fortune, she had no prior experience of running a professional sports company but has continued to keep Southampton challenging at the top table of English football since.

Unafraid to lend her club more money to ensure business is done properly - Liebherr has handed over £20m-plus in loans in the six years since. She also successfully replaced two generations of players and a popular coach in the shape of Mauricio Pochettino.


Owner: Bet365 Group Limited (controlled by Denise Coates, daughter of chairman Peter Coates, and family)

What started as a small family business, based in a Portacabin, has turned a £15m loan into a vast online empire in the space of 16 years.

Denise Coates founded Bet365 with the seven-figure sum from RBS, offset against her family's Provincial Racing betting shops. Bet365 now take more than $51bn in bets each year and she is now worth almost $4bn.

Her father Peter is the Potters' chairman and her husband Richard Smith is on the board. Bet365 recently put their name to the stadium and the company employs hundreds of local people in Stoke.


Owner: Ellis Short (via Drumaville)

Short struck gold with Lone Star Funds - a private equity firm in Texas - during the 1990s. Taking charge of the organisation's interests in Asia, he steadily accumulated his vast wealth which now tops $1.3bn.

The 56-year-old, who led a members' buyout of the exclusive Skibo Castle in Scotland in 2003, took on the largest shareholding in Sunderland - just over 30 per cent - in 2008 from members of the Drumaville consortium which bought out Bob Murray in 2006.

Since then, Short has been through some turbulent times and more relegation battles than most owners would care to contemplate.

He is ready to sell but finding a buyer is never easy.


Owners: Stephen Kaplan & Jason Levien - 68%; Swansea City Supporters Society Ltd - 21.1%; Others - 10.9% (via Swansea City Football 2002 Ltd)

American investors Kaplan and Levien bought into the Welsh club in April.

Kaplan made his money from his role with $10bn global asset management firm Oaktree, while Levien is a former lawyer and agent who has made his name in as a sporting executive.

The pair are long-term business partners with multiple sporting interests littered across their CVs.

Levien brokered a deal for the Philadelphia 76ers which also involved actor Will Smith and Crystal Palace owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer, and has also held prominent roles with the Memphis Grizzlies and DC United. Kaplan was also part of the Grizzlies deal and the pair have been linked with a move for NBA franchise Minnesota Timberwolves.


Owners: ENIC International Ltd via ENIC Sports Inc - 85.55%; Others - 14.55%. ENIC International is based in the Bahamas. Joe Lewis owns 70.6% of ENIC, with trusts benefiting chairman Daniel Levy controlling the remaining 29.4% shareholding

Born above a pub in the East End of London, Lewis now lives in the Caribbean, boasts a personal wealth of $5.4bn, owns a 300-yacht yacht and counts Tiger Woods among his business partners.

The 79-year-old helped his family establish a catering business in the English capital before turning to currency trading. In 1992, he teamed up with currency speculators to cash in on Black Wednesday before investing in a wide range of projects, including pubs, bars, hotels and themed restaurants such as Planet Hollywood.

He was reported to have taken a £500m hit following the collapse of Bear Stearns during the financial crisis of 2008.


Owner: Gino Pozzo is the majority shareholder of Hornets Management S.a.r.l, the parent company of Hornets Investment Ltd, which owns the club

The Pozzo family, who also owns a controlling stake in Udinese, acquired Watford in 2012.

Their wealth made through tool manufacturer Freud, the Pozzos have invested £20m-plus in the Watford machine during their four-year tenure, including a sprucing up of the training facilities.

Up until this summer, the family owned Granada but sold up to Chinese company Link International Sports in June.


Owner: Yunyi Guokai (Shanghai) Sports Development Limited via West Bromwich Albion Holdings Limited - 88%. Chinese businessman Guochuan Lai is in ultimate control; remaining 12% among small shareholdings

The Premier League rubber-stamped Guochuan Lai's £170m purchase of the Baggies from Jeremy Peace in September.

Little is known about Lai, despite his vast wealth, and the claims that he has been a lifelong West Brom supporter since the club's tour of China in 1978 - when he would have been a toddler - have been treated with a pinch of salt.

Reports suggest he has accumulated his wealth through private investments but the whos, whats, wheres and whens remain a mystery. He described his company Palm as 'the IBM of landscape gardening' in a 2011 interview.

He is the first Chinese businessman to take charge of a club in the English top flight.


Owners: David Sullivan - 51%; David Gold - 35.1%; CB Holding ehf - 10%; Others - 3.8%

Gold fulfilled a lifetime goal by taking charge of the Hammers alongside his business partner Sullivan in 2009.

The former bricklayer's apprentice, who bought Ann Summers for £10,000 in 1972, arrived back in the East End via a stint at the helm of Birmingham City.

Sullivan, the proprietor of the Sunday Sport and a former producer of adult movies, also invests in property - much of which is found in London.

His personal wealth has risen through the £1bn barrier in recent months.

The 10 per cent stake held by CB Holding - a company registered in the Cayman Islands which took on shareholding in the club as a result of the collapse of the Icelandic Straumur Investment Bank.

- Daily Mail

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