Two from Chelsea and a leader from KPR
Everyone knows that there is a lot of money circulating in soccer. And in English soccer there is an obscene amount of it. Even the mid-tier and underdogs of the Premier League – indeed! – and representatives of the Championship can often afford to spend money that would not be dreamt of by the very decent clubs in the other top leagues.
And where are the richest people in the world revealed and clearly sorted by ranking? That’s right, in Forbes magazine. So let’s take a look at the representatives of the Forbes ranking, who have a stake in English clubs. We should warn you right away that the ranking may not seem the most usual. This is also because it will not include the owners of Manchester City and the recently Saudi Arabia’s Newcastle, who represent entire governments, clans, families and foundations, rather than a specific person. That is why we often hear about the specific numbers and wealth of some European or American businessman, but almost never anything precise about the representatives of the very rich ruling families of the Arab world.
Guo Guangchang (Wolverhampton, £3.5 billion)
Like any Chinese rich man, Guanchang is surrounded by secrets and rumors. He even disappeared a few years ago. But he came back safely. And the Fosun conglomerate he created acquired Wolverhampton in 2016. The support of the 55-year-old Shanghai entrepreneur helped the Wolves gain a foothold in the elite. Guanchang himself, who studied philosophy at university, compares himself to Warren Buffett.
Todd Boely (Chelsea, £3.6 billion)
There were quite a few options as to who would pick up Roman Abramovich’s banner and complete his era at Chelsea this year. Boeley turned out to be that man. His consortium absorbed Chelsea for 4.25 billion pounds. The 48-year-old American also owns stakes in baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers and basketball’s Los Angeles Lakers.
Hansjörg Wiess (Chelsea, £4 billion)
When it comes to Chelsea’s new management, Boelie is more often talked about, but there is a richer character there as well, but prefers to be more in the shadows. The 86-year-old Swiss businessman Wyss has also joined the board of directors of the Blues. Forbes describes him as one of the biggest philanthropists in the world. His philanthropic investments are expected to reach $1 billion by 2028.
Daniel Kretinsky (West Ham, £4.1 billion)
The 47-year-old Czech is better known not even as a businessman, but as a very cool lawyer, which allowed him to amass a fortune. He has been the co-owner and president of Sparta Prague for a relatively long time, and in November 2021 he bought 27 per cent of West Ham’s shares. Yes, and also negotiated an option to buy the club in the future. By the way, the Hammers are not his only project in England. He also owns a 10 percent stake in Sainsbury’s.
Josh Harris (Crystal Palace, £4.3 billion)
The Harvard Business School graduate turned out to be a true sports fanatic. He wrestled in college, still competes in triathlons and marathons. He invested in Crystal Palace in 2017 with David Blitzer. And logically, that’s not his only sports asset. His portfolio also includes the Philadelphia basketball team and the New Jersey Devils hockey team.
Joe Lewis (Tottenham, £4.3 billion)
Everyone associates Tottenham first and foremost in terms of management with the perpetual Daniel Levy, who has bled a lot of people he negotiated with. But Levy is “only” the managing director of the 85-year-old Lewis Corporation, which acquired a controlling stake in Tottenham from Alan Sugar back in 2001. The East London native got rich as a currency trader and now has a real estate business.
Nassef Sawiris (Aston Villa, £5.8bn)
Curiously enough, Sawiris tops Forbes’ list of the richest Arabs. (Somewhere in Qatar, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, a few families smirked). He is Egyptian and shares Aston Villa with American businessman Wes Edens. The 61-year-old businessman is part of Egypt’s richest clan and has a stake in a company that has invested in the New York Knicks, the New York Rangers and Adidas.
Shahid Khan (Fulham, £5.9bn)
The 71-year-old Pakistani-American businessman started his sports business like many on this list from America. In 2011, he bought the Jacksonville Jaguars, an NFL team. A couple of years later, he also bought Fulham from Mohamed Al-Fayed. Khan moved to the United States at the age of 16, graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in industrial engineering, and made his fortune in the automotive industry.
Stan Cronke (Arsenal, £8.8 billion)
One of the most famous and hated “personified” owners of English clubs. He is considered by many fans to be too greedy – he allegedly invests very little into the development of the Canons, despite his fortune. He has been associated with Arsenal since 2007, and Kronke gained full control of the club in 2018. The 74-year-old real estate businessman also has a large package of sports assets. In addition to Arsenal, these are the Colorado Rapids of MLS, the Colorado Avalanche of hockey, the Denver Nuggets of basketball, and the Los Angeles Rams of the NFL.
Lakshmi Mittal (KPP, £13 billion)
The 71-year-old Indian steel magnate is considered by Forbes to be the richest man in English soccer. He is 102nd in Forbes’ world ranking as of June 2022. In 2007, he joined the board of directors of KPR along with his friend Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore, who have since left the club. Mittal, meanwhile, has remained with the club, but is not particularly happy with its success.