Recession is coming to get football, says Professor Tom Cannon. And heÃ¢ÂÂs right.
Abramovich, Mittal and Usmanov have already seen their fortunes seriously reduced and the next 12 months will test the mettle of the moneyed men in boardrooms up and down the country.
With ticket sales, sponsorship revenue and merchandising down, thereÃ¢ÂÂs only one sure way to insulate your club against financial meltdown: a sugar daddy.
Contrary to popular belief, not all of the wealthiest men in the world have already bought British clubs. US magazine Forbes publishes an annual list of the WorldÃ¢ÂÂs Richest Men. HereÃ¢ÂÂs FFT.comÃ¢ÂÂs selection of the fellas you might want to persuade to take over your club
Warren Buffett Ã¢ÂÂ $62 billionThe 77-year-old American is a friend and bridge partner of the former WorldÃ¢ÂÂs Richest Man, Bill Gates. He has no known interest or knowledge of footballÃ¢ÂÂ¦ sounds perfect.Tenuous link Lives in Dundee (albeit the one in Omaha, Nebraska) so two Scottish clubs spring to mind. Would certainly shake up the Old Firm duopoly.
Carlos Slim Helu Ã¢ÂÂ $60 billionMexican billionaire who made his cash from telecommunications. Once linked with buying the Honda F1 team, but perhaps he could be persuaded to follow Bernie and Flavio into football.Tenuous link According to Wikipedia, SlimÃ¢ÂÂs dad established a dry goods store called La Estrella del Oriente (Star of the Orient). You know where weÃ¢ÂÂre heading with this one, donÃ¢ÂÂt you?
William Gates III Ã¢ÂÂ $58 billion Cash-strapped Bill may be looking to hold on to his remaining cash after the ignominy of dropping to third in ForbesÃ¢ÂÂ list. But given that we handed him an honorary knighthood in 2005, he owes it to England to save a club from financial ruin.Tenuous link If they gave him stadium naming rights, how about Bristol City (Ashton Gates III) or Chesterfield (SalterGates III)?
Gates, Gates & Buffet: "We've always been hardcore Spireites"
The Ambani brothers Ã¢ÂÂ combined wealth $85 billionOnly one problem with this double act: they donÃ¢ÂÂt get on. Really donÃ¢ÂÂt get on. Imagine Gillett and Hicks with sibling rivalry thrown in. So youÃ¢ÂÂll have to choose between Mukesh (worth $43 billion) and Anil ($42 billion). Tenuous link Mukesh is building a 27-storey home, which might solve the stadium relocation issues dogging Everton. Anil would suit FulhamÃ¢ÂÂs away games: his name could slot in seamlessly after theirs Ã¢ÂÂ Home team 2 Fulham Anil.
Li Ka-shing Ã¢ÂÂ $26.5 billionOnly the 11th richest man in the world but worthy of note Ã¢ÂÂ not just because his name sounds like KER-CHING! but because heÃ¢ÂÂs announced that over time heÃ¢ÂÂs going to donate a third of his fortune to charitable causes. Tenuous link We challenge you to find anyone more charitable than West BromÃ¢ÂÂs current defence. $9bn spent on shoring that up might just save them from relegation.
Ingvar Kamprad Ã¢ÂÂ $31 billionThe founder and owner of IKEA Ã¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂthe preferred furniture company for the hip and cost-consciousÃ¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂ the worldÃ¢ÂÂs sixth-richest person is already popular in millions of homes throughout Britain and, more importantly, used to dealing with unruly crowds. Tenuous link Newcastle United: close to Scandinavia, and they could do with a reliable and quickly assembled flat pack four.
For the full Rich List, see FourFourTwo magazine, out now. If quoting, credit FourFourTwo magazine and link to FourFourTwo.com.
The new issue of the magazine includes exclusive interviews with Robinho, Dimitar Berbatov, Russell Brand and Woking boss Phil Gilchrist, among many others.
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