The Football Rich List 2011/12: How we count the beans

So the Football Rich List is out. How do we do it? Is it as easy as ringing up Becks and the boys and asking how they're rolling?

Of course not. (For a start, Rio would probably merk us and say he's worth a trillion. And Carlos wouldn't come to the phone.) But much of the information is in the public domain, and checkable.

The first thing we do is hire the experts. As ever, the FourFourTwo Football Rich List 2011/12 was compiled by Philip Beresford, who is compiler of The Sunday Times Rich List and has been working on that list since 1989. He's ably assisted by Dominic Prince.

Together with his team of researchers, Beresford has combed the company accounts of both quoted and private companies to search for our top 100. Like we say, the information's often out there. It's just a boring job compiling it. Leave it to Bez, that's what we do.

To qualify, football’s wealthiest people had to be either British citizens, based here or have a significant stake in an English, Welsh or Scottish football league club if they are based overseas.

Football is no different to any other walk of life in that most of the money belongs to people in suits. That's why the bulk of the list is made up of directors, shareholders or both.

Now, in case you're confused, directors sit on the board and make decisions about the future of the club – whether or not they have shares.

Football very rarely being a lucrative business, they've often made their money elsewhere and been invitedon to the board to try to make money for the club. In many cases, the money coming in tends to be their own, because in the vast majority of instances, up and down the land, the directors are there because they're fans of the club.

We have also included the elite of players from Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City and other clubs who have – through contracts and endorsements – made enough to make our cut-off point of wealth.

All stakes and options in quoted companies were valued in late-September 2011 using the Financial Times prices page as our source. Can't say fairer than that. We've tried to take a realistic view of likely tax bills (usually low) when private companies have been sold. Private company stakes are valued at approximately 10 times their latest profit figures.

Reference sources include: 
Fame and Dash (two computerised databases giving access to Companies House), Nominus (which tracks stakes in quoted companies), the Corporate Register and for access to quoted company details. The Sunday Times Rich List has also proved invaluable in tracking footballers’ wages and endorsements. The Forbes list has also been referred to.

And that's it. It's all above board and on the level. Honest, guv...

The 100 richest people in British football * The 20 richest players in Britain * The 10 richest managers in Britain