As the Premier League returns this weekend, it's time to find out which football club owners have best equipped their team for another fascinating season

Football club owners

Football club owners including (clockwise from left) John W Henry, Mike Ashley, Daniel Levy and Roman Abramovich)

The transfer window has closed and the Premier League is back – meaning the focus has turned away from the football club owners to the players.

But as clubs get ready for a season in which fortunes will be mixed, to put it mildly, it won’t be long before the fat cats upstairs are put under the microscope.

Some will be accused of starving their managers of precious funds, while others will be heralded as heroes for enabling their teams to over-achieve.

But who are the people in charge of the purse strings?

Mostly coming from business backgrounds, the list of football club owners consists of people from a range of nationalities owning vastly different levels of wealth.

Here we profile all 20 of the most powerful men, women and conglomerates in the Premier League.


Football club owners: Arsenal

The ownership of Arsenal is a controversial one right now, with American majority owner Stan Kroenke – who holds 67% of parent company Arsenal Holdings plc – trying to buy out almost all the remaining shares from Russian-Uzbek rival Alisher Usmanov, who has 30%, for £550m.

Kroenke, 71, has amassed an estimated $8.3bn (£6.5bn) fortune, having made his money through real estate developer Kroenke Group, which has built many of the shopping plazas near Walmart Stores in the US, as well as numerous shopping centres and apartments.

In 1999, he set up Kroenke Sports & Entertainment to act as the holding company of his sports interests.

This now includes NFL side Los Angeles Rams, NBA team Denver Nuggets, NHL Colorado Avalanche, MLS outfit Colorado Rapids, National Lacrosse League side Colorado Mammoth and Arsenal.

It also owns a portfolio of TV channels, radio stations and magazines.

Usmanov was worth $15.6bn (£12.2bn) last year, having built his wealth in the metal and mining industries, as well as investments.

His other interests include a publishing house, mobile phone operator and an internet company based in Russia.


Football club owners: Bournemouth

Russian businessman Maxim Demin took over Bournemouth in 2011 alongside Eddie Mitchell, paying £850,000 for a 50% share when the club was in League One – before completing a full takeover.

In 2016, he sold 25% of shares to US private equity firm Peak 6 Investments but he remains the majority shareholder.

Although not much is known about the 49-year-old, it is believed his business background is in petrochemicals.

He reportedly owns Wintel and Wintel Holdings Ltd, both set up in 2005 and based in Surrey, with assets of more than £100m in 2015.


Football club owners: Brighton and Hove Albion

Tony Bloom, football club owners
Brighton and Hove Albion owner Tony Bloom is a
professional poker player (Credit: flipchip/

Born and bred in Brighton, Tony Bloom is best known as a professional poker player.

The 48-year-old, who took over Brighton & Hove Albion in 2009, has been on the final table of the World Poker Tour and won money in the World Series of Poker.

He also set up the UK’s largest gambling syndicate Starlizard in the early 2000s, which is believed to make £100m a year and has given him an estimated £1bn fortune.


Football club owners: Burnley

Mike Garlick, football club owners
Burnley owner Mike Garlick Credit: Burnley FC)

Burnley chairman and majority shareholder Mike Garlick is one of the least wealthy football club owners in the Premier League with an estimated net worth of about £50m.

He made his money through management consultancy as CEO and managing director of Michael Bailey Associates, a company he founded in 1989.


Football club owners: Cardiff City

Vincent Tan, football club owners
Vincent Tan (Flickr: Malky, VT & TG Thank the Fans)

Malaysian businessman Vincent Tan has a diverse range of interests, including property development, hospitality, gaming, education and financial services.

He is the founder of Berjaya Corporation Berhad, a conglomerate based in Kuala Lumpur with a huge array of businesses.

Among Tan’s reported successes was bringing the McDonald’s franchise into Malaysia in the early 1980s, which he followed up with other big-name food and drink brands.

With an estimated net worth of $820m (£643m), the 66-year-old took over Cardiff in 2010 – and has bought stakes in other clubs including FK Sarajevo, KV Kortrijk and Los Angeles FC.


Football club owners: Chelsea

Roman Abramovich, football club owners
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich pictured in 2014 (Credit: Wikipedia Commons/Brian Minkoff-London Pixels)

One of the most storied football club owners in Britain is Roman Abramovich, whose takeover of Chelsea in 2003 changed the landscape of football by setting the tone for hugely wealth owners who could pump massive sums into teams and effectively bankroll success.

The 51-year-old Russian mogul, who is one of the richest men on the planet with a net worth of $11.4bn (£10.2bn), primarily made his fortune in the oil, steel and mining industries in his home country, and is the owner of private investment company MIllhouse LLC.

He has courted controversy due to claims he took advantage of the “aluminium wars”, in which more than 100 people were killed in gangland feuds over the control of lucrative smelters, and for allegations he threatened and intimidated one-time business partner Boris Berezovsky into selling valuable shares.

He has also been accused of bribery, but denies any wrongdoing.


Football club owners: Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace’s ownership structure is one of the most complicated in the Premier League, with a range of UK and American investors involved.

The three main shareholders are chairman Steve Parish, Joshua Harris and David S Blitzer, who each own 18%.

Parish had a reported net worth of £45m in 2016 after a business career in which he turned TAG Worldwide – which he bought as Adplates – into a global powerhouse in reprographics. He sold the business to Deutsche Post DHL Group in 2011.

Harris and Blitzer are American billionaire private equity investors.


Football club owners: Everton

Between 2004 and 2016, the main man behind Everton has been Bill Kenwright CBE, West End theatre and film producer best known for the stage hits Blood Brothers and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

But two years ago, the 72-year-old sold half his 26% stake to Farhad Moshiri, who went on to take a 58.8% total stake. Kenwright remains chairman.

Iranian businessman Moshiri, 63, owns and has shares in steel and energy companies in the UK and Russia. Last year, Forbes estimated he had a $2.3bn (£1.8bn) net worth.


Football club owners: Fulham

Shahid Khan, football club owners
Fulham and Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan pictured in 2015 (Flickr/Keith Allison)

Previously best known as owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL side, Pakistani-American Shahid Khan made his $7.1bn (£5.6bn) fortune through his car parts manufacturing business Flex-N-Gate in Urbana, Illinois.

Khan, once featured on the front cover of Forbes magazine as the face of the “American dream”, took over Fulham in 2013. He recently made a £900m bid to the FA to buy the national stadium Wembley, which is currently being considered.


Football club owners: Huddersfield Town

Dean Hoyle, football club owners
Huddersfield Town owner Dean Hoyle (Twitter/Huddersfield Town)

As the founder of Card Factory, Dean Hoyle has grown the business in a similar way to his local football club.

Along with wife Janet, the 51-year-old set up the greetings card and gift retail chain in 1997 and took it to 500-plus stores and more than 5,000 staff by 2009.

He sold the business in 2010 but remained as non-executive chairman, instead pumping his £365m fortune into Huddersfield Town, which he took over in 2009 when the club was in League One and led them to two promotions.


Football club owners: Leicester City

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, football club owners
Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in 2010 (Credit: Wikipedia Commons/Billpolo)

Anyone arriving at an airport in Thailand would fail to miss the King Power Duty Free shops in the departure lounge – which now stock the Leicester City shirts that have the same royal blue colour as the company’s branding.

That’s because both belong to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the fifth richest man in Thailand who is worth $4.9bn (£3.8bn).

The 60-year-old took over the Foxes in 2011 and not only helped them win promotion from the Championship – but watched them become the most surprising winners of the Premier League in 2016.


Football club owners: Liverpool

John W Henry, football club owners
Liverpool joint owner John W Henry, of Fenway Sports Group (Credit: Wikipedia Commons/Webjedi)

Fenway Sports Group is the parent company of both Liverpool and Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox.

The two men behind the organisation, which also has interests in racing, sports marketing and a regional sports cable TV network, are John W Henry and Tom Werner.

Henry, 68, who made a fortune in the early 1980s from trading firm JW Henry & Co, is also the principal owner of The Boston Globe newspaper and has a $2.5bn (£2bn) net worth.

Werner, also 68, has a background in TV and co-founded production company The Carsey-Werner Company in 1980. He was executive producer of shows including The Cosby Show, 3rd Rock from the Sun and That ’70s Show. His net worth is estimated at $300m (£235m).


Football club owners: Manchester City

Sheikh Mansour, football club owners
Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour (Credit: Wikipedia Commons/Österreichische Außenministerium)

Like Roman Abramovich, the owners of Manchester City have had a profound impact on football after taking the club from mid-table battlers to three-times Premier League champions in a decade through huge investment.

Sheikh Mansour, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE and member of the ruling family of Abu Dhabi, bought the club from former Thailand Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in 2008.

The 47-year-old, whose family has a combined wealth of $1tn (£785bn), has a number of business interests, including heading up the International Petroleum Investment Company.

He is also chairman of the sovereign wealth fund, the Emirates Investment Authority, and has stakes in Virgin Galactic, Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler AG and Italian bank UniCredit.


Football club owners: Manchester United

Originally funded by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company, the ownership of Manchester United is barely recognisable compared to its formative years.

They were taken over by Malcolm Glazer after he gradually bought out shareholders between 2003 and 2005 – a move that was fiercely protested due to concerns over him transferring debt to the club.

Before his death in 2014, American businessman Glazer, 85, was the president and CEO of First Allied Corporation, a real estate holding company that owns and rents out shopping malls across the US – while he also owned the NFL side Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Since his death, the 90% stake in the club that was owned by the Glazer family was equally split among his six children.


Football club owners: Newcastle United

Mike Ashley, football club owners
Newcastle United and Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley

There’s no doubting Mike Ashley’s credentials as a businessman but in football, it’s been a totally different matter.

Beginning with a single sports shop in Maidenhead named Mike Ashley Sports, in 1982, he built Sports Direct, which grew from 80 stores in 2000 to 670 worldwide currently, killing off numerous competitors including JJB Sports.

While hugely successful, the company has been accused of “Victorian” working practices at its Shirebrook warehouse, and for exploiting staff on minimum-wage contracts as Ashley was hauled before a Parliamentary select committee in 2016.

Still, his retail empire has stretched to an extensive list of brands including Game, Debenhams, USC, JD Sports, Blacks and – as of today (August 10) – House of Fraser, which he bought from administration for £90m.

Despite having a net worth of £2.8bn and being in charge of Newcastle United since 2007, Ashley is often accused of lying to fans and managers, failing to learn from past mistakes and consistently under-funding the playing squad, while he has overseen two relegations during his tenure.

Ashley placed the club up for sale last year but has yet to find a buyer.


Football club owners: Southampton

China’s Gao family took over Southampton in August last year when they paid £210m for an 80% stake.

Jisheng Gao is credited as the main shareholder, with previous owner Katharina Liebherr retaining 20%.

Little is known about him but he owns Lander Sports Development Co, which was founded in 1988 and develops, builds and manages sports facilities in China.

Gao has reportedly been involved in past corruption allegations, which the Premier League sought to address before he was allowed to buy the Saints.


Football club owners: Tottenham Hotspur

Daniel Levy, football club owners
Tottenham Hotspur owner Daniel Levy (Flickr/Doha Stadium Plus Qatar)

With a background in corporate finance and retail management, Daniel Levy set up and ran businesses in the fashion, footwear and food sector operating in Europe, the US and Far East.

Alongside his role as Tottenham Hotspur chairman, a role he has had since 2001, he co-owns investment company ENIC Group, which is involved in sports, entertainment and media.

Registered in the Bahamas, the company controls 85.55% of Spurs and has also bought stakes in Rangers, Slavia Prague, AEK Athens, FC Basel and Vicenza Calcio.

While his fortune is a closely guarded secret, Levy earned £6m in his role last season.


Football club owners: Watford

For a long time, Watford had one of the most famous owners in English football in singer Sir Elton John, but since 2012 the club has been run by the Pozzo family.

Italian businessman Giampaolo Pozzo, 77, bought the club before transferring duties to his son Gino Pozzo.

The elder Pozzo made his money with tool maker Freud, which was sold to Robert Bosch in 2008.


Football club owners: West Ham United

David Gold, football club owners
West Ham United joint owner David Gold (Wikipedia Commons/Egghead06)

The duo at the helm of West Ham have had great success in business of a more “adult” nature.

David Gold owns Gold Group International, the parent company of sex toys and lingerie retailer Ann Summers.

He also partnered with fellow Hammers owner David Sullivan in his first business venture of selling soft pornography photographs.

David Sullivan, football club owners
West Ham United joint owner David Sullivan in 2010 (Wikipedia Commons/Hilton Teper)

This expanded into sex shops, adult magazines and low-budget blue movies. From 1986 to 2007, he also owned the Daily Sport and Sunday Sport.

Together, the two Davids had an estimated £1.5bn valuation in the 2017 Sunday Times Rich List.


Football club owners: Wolverhampton Wanderers

Chinese conglomerate Fosun International bought Wolves in 2016 when it was in the Championship but bankrolled the club’s emphatic promotion to the Premier League last season.

The Shanghai-based company was founded in 1992 by Guo Guangchang and four others, with its current CEO Wang Qunbin.

Guangchang, 49, had an estimated personal wealth of £4.1bn two years ago, making him the 17th richest man in China.

Fosun’s business covers industrial operations, investment, asset management, insurance, real estate, healthcare and entertainment, with numerous subsidies in each sector.

In accounts posted in March this year, the group had a profit of £1.5bn and its overall worth was £60bn.