By Tony Attwood
So we’ve been thinking about owners of late, because they are the people who can make or break a club.
And two bits of news have come up on the owners front. First, there is the story (completely unconfirmed of course) that Kroenke will make a major cash injection into Arsenal. That is according to Mail and copied by other papers – but with no authentication of indication of the source.
The other is a new chart, published by the Mail at the same time, showing the wealth of the owners. Here’s the full list…
|1. Newcastle||Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund
|2. Man City||Sheikh Mansour||£23.3bn|
|3. Chelsea||Roman Abramovich||£9.6bn|
|4. Arsenal||Stan Kroenke||£6.8bn|
|6. Aston Villa||Nassef Sawiris||£5bn|
|7. Leicester||Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha||£4.6bn|
|8. Tottenham||Joe Lewis||£3.9bn|
|9. Manchester United||The Glazer Family||£3.6bn|
|10. Southampton||Gao Jisheng||£3.1bn|
|11. Crystal Palace||Joshua Harris||£2.7bn|
|12. Liverpool||John W Henry||£2.1bn|
|13.West Ham||David Sullivan and David Gold||£1.6bn|
|14. Everton||Farhad Moshiri||£1.5bn|
|15. Brighton||Tony Bloom||£1.3bn|
|16. Bournemouth||Maxim Demin||£900m|
|17. Sheffield United||Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ed||£198m|
|18. Watford||Gino Pozzo||£93m|
|19. Burnley||Mike Garlick||£62m|
|20. Norwich||Delia Smith, Michael Wynn-Jones||£23m|
It is interesting that a man with a wealth of (for example) £1,300,000,000 can be just 15th in the league table of owners. But more to the point, the wealth behind Newcastle is just so far beyond everything else we have seen, that we can only imagine what the club is going to do. Probably just wave out of the window as it by-passes PSG and Manchester City and buys in the top manager, the top players and adds another tier to St James Park to take it beyond the 52,000 capacity.
As we have noted recently, the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund also own BeOutx TV which offers free to air coverage of matches from across the world, and I wonder if they will extend that to the UK. Probably not. But would be nice if they did.
Anyway, we can see Arsenal’s owner is in fourth place, in wealth terms, but his problem is that his investments are in shopping centres and sports clubs, which are all being hit at the moment. But still if he loses the odd billion, will it matter?
Yet the simple fact is that it will take exactly the right combination of purchases and youth team players to tackle the three clubs above us financially, especially since Manchester City will be out there buying everyone and everything for the City Group. Indeed I wonder if the purchase of Newcastle is the start of a rival group deliberately set up to take on the City Group with its multiplicity of clubs.
What is fairly clear is that the failure of Manchester City to continue winning the league has affected them badly and they are not going to take this lying down.
You might recall that in the earlier article “Football is being taken over by those fighting their own wars” we ran this chart as a guide to what has happened to football of late…
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|Club||Country||TV||War / Dispute|
|Manchester City||UAE||Man C v Uefa|
|Newcastle United||Saudi Arabia||BeOutQ||2nd Arab Cold War|
|PSG||Qatar||BeIn||2nd Arab Cold War|
.;.. so now we have to wait and see just where the purchase of Newcastle by Saudi Arabia will leave the club, and indeed the whole of Premier League football.
Liverpool has shown that with the right manager it is possible to build a club that can walk away with the title even with an owner who has just a measly £2,100,000,000 to throw at the project. But the fact is that Liverpool had more than the right manager and the money. They also had, in building up to this season, a loyal support from fans and the media of the type Arsenal can only dream about.
If we look at Liverpool’s last ten years, it is hardly sensational…
Compare with Arsenal
Yes of course I know that Liverpool! has won the Champions League and we have not, and they will win the league this season whenever it is finished. But their only other trophy in ten years is the league cup, and their average league position is 5.4. Ours is 3.9 – massively better.
But of course the media has always been full of Liverpool! Even though this will be their first title in something like 30 years.
My point is, that the utter wealth of Manchester City, and now the utterly insane wealth of Newcastle, can be overtaken with the right manager and the right tactics. I am not sure how much money our owner is going to throw at Arsenal, and whether we have the right manager to take the club up to the level of the three clubs above Arsenal in the financial league. Maybe yes in both cases, in which case we will give them a run for their money.
But let me just add one curious other factor. The purchase of Newcastle by Saudi Arabia is a direct challenge both to Qatar and the UAE, as it is to those of us who value human rights and the rule of law as understood in most western countries, and as it is to Uefa. If Uefa is strong in taking on Manchester City, then the limits as to what Saudi Newcastle can get away with will be established. If Uefa or the CAS crumbles in the face of the Man City onslaught, then we might as well accept that fourth will be a trophy, because even achieving that will be quite something.
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