It’s a Rich Man’s World

Clive Rogers 10/06/2021 26comments  |  Jump to last
Having read a newspaper article detailing the amounts of money spent on transfers over the last few seasons, I decided to search the worth of Premier League owners (table below). Of course, it was remarkably similar to the league tables of the last few seasons.

Every owner bar one was a billionaire, the exception being Burnley who are owned by an investment consortium which may change in the near future according to reports. Surprisingly, both Everton and Liverpool are well down the list, not far from the bottom.

Not surprisingly, at the top was Manchester City, who were also top of the money spent chart. Their owner Sheikh Mansour, the owner of Abu Dhabi Petroleum, has a nett worth of around £20 billion. Remembering parts of reports when he took control, that his family who run Abu Dhabi were extremely rich, I then searched the wealth of the Massoud family.

The Massoud family of Abu Dhabi, UAE, are worth $1 trillion. That is a thousand billion dollars. The owner of Manchester City has access to a bottomless pit of wealth that will never run dry.

So the question is: How does one compete with that?

The answer is that, in reality, it is not possible in the long-term. Manchester City have demonstrated that they can buy in top players and managers together. Financial Fair Play was brought in to attempt to level the playing field. This seems to be taking a back seat at present.

There has been a transition since I started watching Everton in the sixties. Then, a club’s wealth seemed to be determined by the size of the fan base. Today, when one evaluates a club’s wealth, the first thing you look for is the wealth of the owner. It is not really the same thing, but it is what makes the difference if the owner is funding outgoings.

When you look at the relative wealth of Premier League owners (see the table below), we are surprisingly low down the table in 12th position, just ahead of our neighbours across the park. Also we are again surprisingly well below several club owners whose clubs I would have considered less wealthy than Everton a few years ago.

Obviously, it is not just the owner's wealth that matters (apart from Man City), but their willingness to spend it, and funds generated by the business side of the club. The latter is an area in which we are well behind the successful clubs and where our neighbours benefit.

Of course there will be instances when everything comes together for a club, as when Leicester City unexpectedly won the Premier League, but how can a club break in to the top four on a regular basis?

Going back to our neighbours once again, their policy is to buy young players with potential, develop and sell on at a higher price if possible at some stage. This is not easy to achieve without the top level of football knowledge available.

As far as Everton are concerned, we seem to be struggling on both the football side and the financial. To be fair, Moshiri has made money available to successive managers and Directors of Football but, in general, most of it has been wasted. He is not wealthy enough to do this year on year.

The indications are that this summer we will have £50 million plus cash generated by sales. Otherwise, the policy appears to be to wait for the new ground to be built, which should significantly improve the business model if debt allows.

All-in-all, there is big money in the Premier League which has changed English football and not all for the better. It makes it extremely difficult to predict what will happen to Everton over the next decade.

Club Owner Worth
Man City Sheikh Massoud $22B
Chelsea Abramovich $14.5B
Aston Villa Nassef Sawiris
Wesley Edens
Wolves Guo Guangchang
Liang Xinjun
Wang Qunbin
Arsenal Kroenke $8.2B
Crystal Palace Steve Parish
Joshua Harris
David S. Blitzer
Tottenham  Joe Lewis
Daniel Levy
Manchester Utd Glazer family $4.7B
Leeds Utd Andrea Radrizzani
49’ers Enterprises
Southampton Gao Jisheng (80%)
Katharina Liebherr
Leicester City Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha $3.7B
Everton Farhad Moshiri
Bill Kenwright
Liverpool John Henry
Tom Werner
Newcastle Mike Ashley $2.5B
West Ham David Sullivan
David Gold
Albert Smith
Watford Gino Pozzo $120m
Norwich Delia Smith
Michael Wynn-Jones
Michael Foulger
Brentford Mathew Benham ?

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Reader Comments (26)

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Barry Hesketh
1 Posted 10/06/2021 at 18:15:44
Clive the game has certainly changed in the last half-decade, every club in and around the top division, seems to have a wealthy backer, and the inevitability of a closed shop European League seems ever closer.

Apparently, Moshiri will add to his wealth pretty soon, when he receives his share of the dividend from his 10% shares in Metalloinvest, which is reportedly issuing dividends totaling around £500m shared between each of its major shareholders.

Moshiri Dividend

Dennis Stevens
2 Posted 10/06/2021 at 20:29:07
"Financial Fair Play was brought in to attempt to level the playing field." Surely, nobody still believes that, if they ever did?!
Barry Rathbone
3 Posted 10/06/2021 at 20:49:28
Liverpool's success goes back to Shankly and the "no stars" hard grafting philosophy which has driven them ever since. Klopp's high energy plan isn't new it is an extension of the Shankly blueprint. As a result their recruitment has always been excellent based on the pragmatic rather than flavour of the month "names" very different to our pick a name from a hat method

Only Wenger at Arsenal came close to producing similar dynastic foundations without oodles of loot but the Emirates scuppered that as new footy stadia tend to do

Utd invented the trophy buying blueprint post Munich as every neutral chose them as their team but it took decades to perfect it.

Bar Liverpool and Arsenal no one has risen from nothing and lasted the course for nigh on 60yrs. Finding an unknown inspiring manager is what it's about - Moyes, Rafa et al are not of that ilk

Will Mabon
4 Posted 10/06/2021 at 21:09:13
Barry, your post highlights what I believe is the major aspect; the culture and structure within and behind a club. A mentality. The clubs you mention, whilst having slight variations in the theme, have nonetheless shown a continuity of belief and expectation above all else.

We, Everton, indeed need an inspiring manager, and when did we last have that? However the quality of the club should ultimately determine the manager and not vice versa. We have a long way to go!

Bill Gall
5 Posted 10/06/2021 at 21:10:40
Hope that some supporters read this article and realize that looking for new players is not easy when competing with other clubs who are wealthier than Everton.. It is going to take a well known manager with his ambitions to get a player to come to Everton and not someone just starting his managerial position. To attract players we will need a proven manager who is respected. Note how quick Aston Villa has acted.
Will Mabon
6 Posted 10/06/2021 at 21:24:11
Bill, there's a lot of chicken-and-egg in the process. The arguably biggest "Attraction" we've ever had didn't work out too well. The recent candy store approach has also not delivered.

Time to face up to the fact that in the absence of ultimate spending power, we have to consider a slower building process. A successful club/team will gain respect and attract players, as much as a club less so that has a star manager. I should explain, I said inspiring manager, in the sense of inspiring who is here, not who it may attract.

It's a long road ahead now, if we wish to leave Kneejerksville.

Bill Gall
7 Posted 10/06/2021 at 22:07:53

I understand where you are coming from, but we presently have 7 or 8 players in the present squad who, with quality transfers, can provide a strong team to build on. You can build from strength, while using the strength for building from youth. Of all the managers Everton have had since Moyes left, Ancelotti to me has kicked Everton in the balls and should never be forgiven... but, at the same time, we had a nucleus of players that should have got us into Europe.

There were very few supporters who did not understand what positions we needed to be more successful. I believe Brands and Ancelotti had a list and it may have been Ancelotti's presence that may have swayed them. That is why I believe another respected manager may be needed.

But we all have our own opinions and I respect yours; that really should have been started from the beginning after Moyes left.

Jerome Shields
9 Posted 10/06/2021 at 23:13:32
You still need a well run club, good players, and a good manager. Everton actually prove this point.
Stan Schofield
10 Posted 11/06/2021 at 11:26:26
This is an excellent and simple article that really points to what our expectations, as opposed to hopes, should be. Which is, of course, to remain midtable.

Barry@3 is spot on about the successes of our neighbours. Shankley built a dynasty and style, and they have stuck to them to the present day. We didn’t.

Clive Rogers
11 Posted 11/06/2021 at 13:32:19
Dennis, 2, I am sure you are right, it just doesn’t work. I never thought it would to be honest. Clubs with rich owners found their way round it, and it now seems to have faded away somewhat.
Dennis Stevens
12 Posted 11/06/2021 at 14:40:56
Indeed, Clive. It always seemed like a scheme to protect the clubs who'd already spent big from anybody else who might want to come along & do the same.

I've always thought that all that's needed is a way to protect clubs from being bankrupted by their owners. If Mr Multi-billionaire wants to squander his wealth trying to make, say, Blackpool into world beaters that's absolutely fine. However, when you walk away the debt won't immediately be repaid, forcing the club to fold. There needs to be a mechanism whereby those debts are somewhat "parked", allowing the club to continue as a viable football club.

To my mind that one issue being resolved would solve a lot of problems & would allow far greater challenge to the Superior Six.

Martin Nicholls
13 Posted 11/06/2021 at 16:44:15
Clive has quite rightly "added in" the wealth of the Abu Dhabi royal family in order to arrive at the total financial backing behind City. Anyone else think that Alisher Usmanov's wealth should be added in to Moshiri's in order to arrive at a more accurate reflection of the wealth of our owners/backers?
Bobby Mallon
14 Posted 11/06/2021 at 17:20:57
if we are to get an identity then Moshiri needs to accept that we wont get it without a Manager/coach who is respected by his players and who wont be pushed around. We need a manager NOW who will play exciting football with fit young players. if we had finished this season in the same position but playing like leeds then 99% of fans would be happy.
Don Alexander
15 Posted 11/06/2021 at 18:06:13
No disrespect at all to Clive but I've been pointing out Moshiri's lowly position in "the richest-owner stakes" pretty much since he got here. The fact that so much cash has been squandered under him is very disappointing and frankly worrying, at least to me.

I mean, his reported personal wealth is said to be around £2billion. On football he's mis-spent a quarter of that (albeit just a few of his buys may be worth more than he paid for them) and then there's the stadium expenditure on top.

As a self-made accountant billionaire why is he being so accommodating of his staggering losses? Why isn't he finding ways to rectify his obvious mistakes, apart from sacking four managers in four years, by changing at least some of the club personnel who've cost him so dear?

Or is he a pillock?

Or is something shady afoot re other massive financial resources?

Clive Rogers
16 Posted 11/06/2021 at 19:06:05
Martin,13, I purposely left Usmanov’s wealth out as there is no evidence he is making it available at present. He was quoted last year as saying he would get involved if asked, but nothing since. I would have thought that his first move would to buy some shares, but he hasn’t.
Brian Wilkinson
17 Posted 11/06/2021 at 23:08:42
Clive, the moment Usmanov buys shares in Everton, he then becomes a conflicting interest.

He will then not be able to sponsor the new stadium, without coming into question.

So as long as he is seen as someone from the outside, he can pump money into Everton, by other means, without the worry of ffp impacting the future stadium rights etc.

Usmanov would certainly be the Everton owner now, if it was not for ffp.

Clive Rogers
18 Posted 12/06/2021 at 19:14:09
Brian, I understood Usmanov sold his Arsenal shares to Kroenke in 2018 for £550M making Kroenke the sole owner. So there wouldn’t be conflict of interest would there? Is that what you meant?
Alan J Thompson
19 Posted 13/06/2021 at 17:50:36
Correct me if I'm wrong but Mr Moshiri has not put in as much as has been spent as he is just standing guarantor. Everton are probably still paying transfers by installments probably mostly to a Bank although Mr Moshiri did sort out those debts for which Everton were paying what was considered higher interest than it needed.
Derek Taylor
20 Posted 13/06/2021 at 19:29:15
The Family Ancelloti exited Everton so smoothly that the arrangements for their 'moving on' must have been spelt out in the engagement contract.

Whatever his personal wealth, Moshiri (with or without Usmanov's backing ) has behaved like a monied fool in the matter of Everton FC and whatsoever our thoughts on his latest rumoured managerial appointment we can only hope and pray that this time he gets it right. Otherwise, the number of seats at BMD will become purely of academic interest.

Dave Lynch
21 Posted 14/06/2021 at 23:02:33
What appears to be going in under the radar is... the 6 clubs who tried to break away have agreed to pay 22million BETWEEN THEM! as a goodwill payment as punishment.

I f they try it again it will be 22 million each and a 30point deduction.

Justice eh.

David Ellis
22 Posted 15/06/2021 at 08:31:03
Interesting article but the better measure is revenue of the club rather than wealth of the owner. The money involved is so large that most wealthy owners don't really move the needle anymore - there of course exceptions - see City and Chelsea, and to some extent Leicester, Spurs, Wolves and Everton where the owners have put in their own money.

The investments made by City and Chelsea have led to the clubs earnings rise as they gain prominence and play in the CL (as well as sweet hearts sponship deals in the case of City).

The relative decline of Liverpool, Man U and Arsenal reflects their owners lack of investment (zero) but they stick around at the top table because their revenue is so large regardless (more than double Evertons)

Robert Tressell
23 Posted 15/06/2021 at 08:55:22
David, it's interesting to see how the RS and Man Utd have responded to the excess wealth of City and Chelsea.

The latter tried to keep up with the Jones initially, spending big but getting nowhere. Solskjaer (not a great manager by any stretch) has since done a proper patient job of building a squad and they are being rewarded now.

The RS have adopted a strategy based around resale value to allow them to compete. They have spent about £580m gross in the last 5 years (£70m more than us). Their net spend is only £119m, miles less than us at £255m.

This strategy has allowed them to build a high quality squad fairly quickly and then reinvest sale proceeds into key strategic positions (the CB and goalie combo that finally won them the league). Leicester do similar.

In fact, so deliberate is this strategy that they appointed Klopp (having passed his peak at Dortmund) because they knew (based on data analytics) he was the man to oversee this strategy.

Along with Spurs and Arsenal, we haven't worked out what our strategy is - and are paying for it, with Villa, Leeds and WHU having fairly easily caught up or overtaken.

John Cook
24 Posted 15/06/2021 at 09:21:37
It's also worth mentioning that, the more success a club has, the more they can get for "average" players". Solanke and several others that I can't think of at Liverpool and Man Utd also seem to get top dollar for their cast-offs whereas Everton sell cheaply – even their stars, eg, Rooney, Stones, Lukaku, etc, etc.
Robert Tressell
25 Posted 15/06/2021 at 11:09:10
John you are definitely right. There is an infuriating premium for top 4 reserves and youth but it is also fair to say that the price tags are generated by successful performances out on loan and international duty + the length of contract with the selling club.

It's the same reason it would now cost about £20m to buy Branthwaite. If he was on a long contract Simms would be worth about £10m after just 10 ish goals in the third tier.

Clubs use the loan system not just as a route to first team but to generate income for reinvestment from players who don't quite make the grade. There's even some who are, in effect, bought and sold as a commodity more than a player - like Grujic at the RS and dozens of Chelsea players over the years.

Barry Hesketh
26 Posted 15/06/2021 at 11:48:57
John and Robert, you both mention some of the reasons that helps the media play such an important part in the valuation of players. How many top players have Everton sold on who pundits - before the sale - have said "i'm unsure about this guy", "he lacks this or that", "his temperment is suspect" etc etc thereby lowering the value of the Everton player whilst at Goodison.

The media's continued bleating about whether Everton deserved to have a manager of Ancelotti's calibre isn't an accident, it's a deliberate ploy to aid and abett those clubs that wanted to form an exclusive league, because those clubs provide the advertising revenue for the media outlets and the subscribers/purchasers of their product.

Much the same is their mostly collective silence about the wrongdoing by those wantaway clubs, a few days of moral outrage and then let it quitely dissapear from view, try not to damage the brand too much and carry on as before.

John Cook
27 Posted 15/06/2021 at 16:17:00
Barry,you put it in words much better than me but yes,that what I'm getting at.You can't help but feel there is a media conspiracy against some clubs,Everton being top of the list, paranoid? I don't this so,too much has gone on in our history to make me think tha way.Dont need to mention examples here,we all know.

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