The Rich List: FAQs

The Rich List has caused its usual flurry of excitement – we’ve barely had time for a cup of tea, and that’s very bad news.

But what’s worse is that some people seem to be as confused as City bankers, or for that matter – judging by the result against Forest – City defenders.This blog aims to ease the confusion.

So let’s clear one thing up from the start: just as in life, the size of a man’s wallet doesn’t always equate to the scale of his largesse. Sheikh Mansour tops the list because his personal fortune is £15bn, not because that’s how much he’s spent on Manchester City – unless Darius Vassell has just received one hell of a pay rise.The Rich List is in order of total personal wealth, not how much a person has spent running a club, propping it up, purchasing useless players or paying for the groundsman’s swish new lawnmower. Such expenditure would be interesting to assess but incredibly difficult, if not impossible.Nor does the existence of a man (and for ease let’s call them men, with respect to Delia and the WAGs) on the Rich List imply that he spends all day perusing the transfer list, painting the turnstiles or stocking the club shop’s shelves. Mere wealth never did buy power, and not all of the Rich Listers are hands-on or even involved at all in the running of the club.Lakshmi Mittal has quite enough to worry about, what with his steel company losing 70% of its market price, to be much bothered about the £200,000 invested in QPR (his only real move at Loftus Road so far has been to get his son-in-law appointed as vice-chairman). Over at Everton, Lord Grantchester may well be worth £1.2bn but that doesn’t mean he’s going to spend it all on a striker to end the Toffees’ manpower shortage up front.Men like Mittal and Grantchester are included because they have a stake – large or small – in a British club, not because they necessarily have tremendous influence behind the scenes. Many Rich Listers are silent partners, happy to leave the running of the club to others. Nobody is suggesting Robbie Williams rings round for potential Port Vale sponsors – or that he'll be donating his fee from a Take That reunion tour to the Valiants.

For every Roman Abramovich with open arms and open chequebook there is a publicity-shy majority shareholder who wants to see the club run properly as a business. There’s nothing wrong with that, especially with the economy in such ruin that treasured institutions like Woolies are collapsing. The aim of the Football Rich List is to highlight the wealthiest people involved in British football – either British citizens, or foreign nationals who are based here or have a significant stake in an English, Welsh or Scottish football league club.This includes directors of clubs who have made their money elsewhere (not from ticket prices!) but sit on the board; significant shareholders who are not directors; and those who are both directors and shareholders. And of course players, managers and the odd WAG.

HOW IT’S DONEWe don’t just make a couple of phone calls and scribble numbers on the back of a cigarette packet. Just as potential club buyers go through due diligence, so plenty of hard work is done by Dominic Prince and Philip Beresford – the compiler of The Sunday Times Rich List, who has been working on that list since 1989.Dominic, Philip and their researchers combed through company accounts of both quoted and private companies to search for our top 100. 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 Hemscott.net for access to quoted company details. All stakes and options in quoted companies were valued at mid-November 2008 (for the purposes of print deadlines and, well, Christmas), with the Financial Times prices page as our source. As such, the worth of certain individuals may have gone up or (more likely given that tremendous crunching sound) down over the last six weeks.

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, the usual rule-of-thumb in the City (of London, not Manchester).Inevitably there will be omissions in this list. If you spot any, please e-mail them to contact@fourfourtwo.com and we’ll pass them on to the experts for next year.

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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.

FOURFOURTWO.COM: MORE TO READ

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