We’ve looked at how Red Bull transformed themselves into a footballing powerhouse worth billions of dollars, but this blog will focus on individuals. More specifically, the top five richest Premier League owners and we’ll reveal how they made their incredible fortunes!
5. Aston Villa – Nassef Sawiris (£5.5Bn)
Recently crowned the second richest African and hailing from Egypt’s wealthiest family, Sawiris is an astute investor, with a notable investment being his 6% stake in Adidas. His sporting affiliations go further than football as in late 2020, Sawiris acquired 5% in Madison Square Garden (MSG) Sports which act as the parent company of the New York Knicks (basketball team) and the New York Rangers (ice hockey team).
Sawiris was one of the three heirs of the ‘Orascom’ conglomerate, founded by his father, which has global interests ranging from mobile phones in North Korea to a new hotel resort in Switzerland. Day to day, Sawiris is responsible for managing Orascom Construction Industries, which includes one of the world’s largest nitrogen fertilizer producers, with plants in Texas and Iowa.
By utilising some of this wealth, Sawiris broke the record for the priciest co-op sale in New York City after purchasing the penthouse at 960 Fifth Avenue for $70 million. Moreover, Sawiris harbours great ambitions for Aston Villa and even provided a summer transfer war chest of £100m ahead of the 2020-21 season!
4. Fulham – Shahid Khan (£5.8Bn)
Those not familiar with Shahid Khan’s business background may recognise him for his exquisitely trimmed moustache and jet black hair, thus allowing the Pakistani-American businessman to look much younger than his 70 years of age would suggest.
Khan moved to the US from Pakistan at the tender age of 16, with his families entire life savings – a total of $500. To supplement his basic needs, Khan resided in a $2 a night room at a YMCA hostel whilst washing dishes for $1.20 an hour.
From there, Khan went onto graduate as an Industrial Engineer before joining an aftermarket auto parts company called Flex-N-Gate. It was here that the industrious Khan, identified and provided a solution to a bumper manufacturing defect, consequently revolutionising the business and cemented his reputation as a game changing innovator. Fast forward thirty years and Khan is now the owner of Flex-N-Gate and boasts Toyota and Mazda amongst his several globally renowned clients.
Prior to owning Fulham, the wealthy businessman bought NFL team Jacksonville Jaguars for an estimated $760 million, which in turn made Khan the first individual from an ethnic minority background, to own an NFL team. Khan is certainly not afraid to splash the cash, with Fulham becoming the first ever newly promoted side to spend over £100m in the immediate summer transfer window.
3. Arsenal – Enos Stanley ‘Stan’ Kroenke (£6.8bn)
The highly educated (BA, BS and MBA holder) Kroenke has used his academic success and translated it into a dominant business empire, which has in turn transformed Kroenke into a property and sporting mogul. Whilst we may know him for his long-time association with Arsenal and the antipathy Arsenal fans have towards him, due to their belief that Kroenke is using the club to increase his own personal wealth, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Kroenke oversees ‘Kroenke Sports and Entertainment’ which includes a range of teams from various sports, such as football, ice hockey, american football and even e-sports! The Missouri billionaire also owns the ‘Kroenke Group’, which is a real estate development company that has built numerous shopping centres and high rise apartments.
Other ventures that Kroenke has been involved with include owning a large stake in a winery at the famous Napa County and he also owns several ranches, including the Waggoner Ranch in Texas which is the largest ranch with a one fence line.
All of these numerous income streams make Kroenke an incredibly wealthy man, and oh let’s not forget, he’s married to the daughter of Walmart co-founder, James ‘Bud’ Walton!
2. Chelsea – Roman Abramovich (£8.5Bn)
Abramovich is the one name that is so synonymous with Chelsea, that you’d be hardly forgiven for not recognising it. He single handily transformed the fortunes of the London based club and bought them out of the dire state left behind by previous owner, Ken Bates.
So what does Abramovic do and why is it that he needs up to forty bodyguards? Whilst you might be mistaken for thinking that all of Russia’s 10th richest man’s wealth, comes from oil, the truth is not far from it. Whilst oil is a major part of Abramovich’s revenue streams, he also has stakes in steel giant Evraz and nickel and palladium producer Nornickel. All of these various investments are managed by Millhouse Capital LLC, who are the holding company that manage Abramovich’s diversified investments.
As football fans will know, the pathologically secretive Russian billion is a ruthless owner who regularly chops and changes managers, in order to guide his beloved Chelsea to Premier League and Champions League glory. Outside of football, Abramovich has recently signed a contract to produce a £430 million yacht – which isn’t even his biggest or most expensive. Housing eight decks, a room for a mini submarine and anti-paparazzi lasers, the Chelsea owner certainly isn’t one to shy away from spending his gigantic fortune.
1. Manchester City – Sheikh Mansour (£23.3bn)
Sheikh Mansour really is in a league of his own. Worth more than twice his nearest rival, the Abu Dhabi royal family member is also the chairman of the sovereign wealth fund of UAE. By using his access to family riches, as well as family connections, Sheikh Mansoor has positioned himself as a leading figure in the Middle East. Whether that be through his involvement as board member for multiple oil organisations or his stake in Virgin Galactic and Sky News Arabia, Mansoor has elevated his family wealth to unparalleled levels.
It was in 2008 that he acquired Manchester City Football Club, through a specialist investment company called the Abu Dhabi United Group (ADUG). Almost immediately, he handed all responsibility to his long-time friend and associate Khaldoon Al Mubarak. The pair share a love of the game, but perhaps more importantly, envisioned that they would eventually reap much higher rewards than their initial investment, by developing Manchester City into a European powerhouse.
With one of the most respected managers in the game currently managing Manchester City, and an inevitable Premier League title coming their way, Sheikh Mansour will be watching closely from his palace, to see whether Manchester City can go the extra mile and finally secure the much coveted Champions League trophy.