2007 EPL ‘Rich List’: Richest Players / Club Owners of the Premier League

Yes, I’ve said it before: it’s ‘Top 100 Ranking’ time. Fresh from publishing their Top 100 footballers list last month, English magazine FourFourTwo just released their a list of the Richest players and club owners of the English Premiership, sort of a “2007’s Billionaire’s club” if you will. As the editors eloquently put it, the key message of this year is that “British football is getting richer, and the rich are getting richer“.

The most striking particularity of this list, is not so much the fact that the football business is growing every year (as can be expected), but rather the abyss that separates the earnings of players from those of club owners. Indeed, if it is true some of the players’ salaries can sometimes reach astronomical values (“obscene”, as UK Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe defined them), they absolutely pale in comparison to those of the people writing the paychecks. Indeed, the first player in the Top 100 list (David Beckham of course) is only 45th with a fortune of £112m (€160m), divided with co-branding wife icon Posh Spice. Peanuts in comparison to the £10.8b (€15.4b) in the personal fortune of Roman “Scrooge McDuck” Abramovich, patron of Chelsea. Not only that, but only FOURTEEN players make the Top 100.
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Club owners

According to FourFourTwo, investors with a staggering combined value of over £11 billion have become involved in British football for the first time over the last 12 months. Half of the top ten in the Rich List are newcomers to football, and reinforce the attraction of the English Premiership to multi-millionaire businessmen. Also, 8 of them qualify as BILLIONAIRES.

Aside from Abramovich, the newcomers are headed by another Russian, Alisher Usmanov, whose personal fortune is said to be £2.76b and F1 Racing supremo Bernie Ecclestone, said to be worth £2.5b and who took over struggling QPR with Renault team boss Flavio Briatore. Other new entries are Mike Ashley at Newcastle United, Stanley Kroenke at Arsenal, and Tory grandee Lord Ashcroft who bought 42% of Watford.

Other high-profile new entries include Thaksin Shinawatra (16th), who has taken over Manchester City and has a personal fortune of £640m and said to be the 18th richest man in South East Asia, as well as American Tom Hicks (21st), who took over Liverpool with his friend George Gillett (31st), and has a fortune of £500m. The pair bought the Anfield club in a £220m deal pledging a new stadium at Stanley Park.

New TOP 10:

1 Roman Abramovich, age 41 Roman Abramovich Chelsea £10.80b
2 The secretive Joe Lewis hasn't been photographed very much Joe Lewis Tottenham £2.80b
3 Alisher Usmanov, age 54 Alisher Usmanov Arsenal £2.76b
4 Bernie Ecclestone, age 77 Bernie Ecclestone QPR £2.50b
5 Mike Ashley Mike Ashley Newcastle £1.60b
6 Dermot Desmond, age 57 Dermot Desmond Celtic £1.60b
7 Malcolm Glazer, age 79 Malcolm Glazer Man Utd £1.25b
8 E. Stanley Kroenke, age 60 Stanley Kroenke Arsenal £1.20b
9 Trevor Hemmings Trevor Hemmings Preston N.E. £980m
10 Lord Michael Ashcroft, age 61 Lord Ashcroft Watford £950m

Top 10 New Entries:

Alisher Usmanov Arsenal nº3 £2.76b
Bernie Ecclestone QPR nº4 £2.50b
Mike Ashley Newcastle nº5 £1.60b
Stanley Kroenke Arsenal nº8 £1.20b
Lord Ashcroft Watford nº10 £950m
Michael Spencer Ipswich nº11 £850m
Thaksin Shinawatra Man City nº16 £640m
Bjorgolfor Gudmundsson West Ham nº18 £593m
Tom Hicks Liverpool nº21 £500m
Lord Harris Arsenal nº27 £300m

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Players

Two new players on the list are Chelsea’s Didier Drogba (96th) with a £14m fortune and Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo (100th), who props up the list with a bank balance of £12.25m.

Top 10 Players:

. Player Age Club Fortune
1 David Beckham, age 32 David Beckham 32 LA Galaxy £112m
2 Michael Owen, age 27 Michael Owen 27 Newcastle £37m
3 Robbie Fowler, age 32 Robbie Fowler 32 Cardiff City £30m
4 Wayne Rooney, age 22 Wayne Rooney 22 Man Utd £30m
5 Sol Campbell, age 33 Sol Campbell 33 Portsmouth £28m
6 Andriy Shevchenko, age 31 Andriy Shevchenko 31 Chelsea £25m
6 Rio Ferdinand, age 29 Rio Ferdinand 29 Man Utd £25m
8 Ryan Giggs, age 33 Ryan Giggs 33 Man Utd £23m
9 Michael Ballack, age 31 Michael Ballack 31 Chelsea £18m
10 Steven Gerrard, age 27 Steven Gerrard 27 Liverpool £15m

FourFourTwo Editor, Hugh Sleight commented: “Our list shows what a magnet the British Premiership and even clubs outside the Premiership have become to wealthy foreign businessmen. It remains a mystery why British businessmen do not seem as interested in investing in our clubs. While there is a current debate about the wages of players being too high this list proves beyond doubt that there is buckets full of money floating about in football and you have to spend big money to get the best and stand a chance of winning trophies.

So what do you think? Are we right in defining these large sums of money “obscene” (as labeled by the UK Sports Minister), or are we just a teeny bit jealous in the end? For those of you who are interested, have a look at my 2007-08 Player Salaries of Serie A article.

Marco Pantanella writes for the mCalcio blog