Chelsea's billionaire owner Roman Abramovich has been toppled from the summit of the Football Rich List, published on Wednesday in the new issue of FourFourTwo magazine.
Abramovich has lost £3bn in the recession and is now worth £7bn. That's less than half the wealth of the new man at the top of the list, Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan, who is estimated to be worth £15bn.
The people on the sixth Football Rich List, researched and published annually by FourFourTwo, are worth a total of £61billion. The list includes 11 billionaires and 25 new entries.
Although some of the new entries are foreign – like Sheikh Mansour and the new No.2 Lakshmi Mittal, who has joined Formula 1 entrepreneurs Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore in investing in QPR – only a third of those on the list are from overseas, with the 64 Brits including three WAGs.
The Top 20 on the Football Rich List are:
1. Shekh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nayan (Manchester City) £15bn
2. Lakshmi Mittal & family (QPR) £12.5bn
3. Roman Abramovich (Chelsea) £7bn
4. Joe Lewis (Tottenham Hotspur) £2.5bn
5. Bernie & Slavica Ecclestone (QPR) £2.4bn
6. Stanley Kroenke (Arsenal) £2.245bn
7. Alisher Usmanov (Arsenal) £1.5bn
8= Lord Grantchester & The Moores Family (Everton) £1.2bn
8= Dermot Desmond (Celtic) £1.2bn
10= Lord Ashcroft (Watford) £1.1bn
10= Malcolm Glazer & family (Manchester United) £1.1bn
12. Simon Keswick (Cheltenham Town) £966m
13. Trevor Hemmings (Preston North End) £900m
14. Mike Ashley (Newcastle United) £800m
15. Randy Lerner (Aston Villa) £750m
16. Tom Hicks (Liverpool) £700m
17. The Walker Family (Blackburn Rovers) £660m
18. Mohammed al-Fayed (Fulham) £650m
19. Sir David Murray (Glasgow Rangers) £600m
20. Steve Morgan (Wolves) £400m
The new England manager Fabio Capello is also a new entry worth an estimated £25m with a £6m a year contract and a £10m private art collection and Sir Elton John – who has rekindled his interest in Watford – is a new entry at No.28 with a £235m fortune.
However, Sir Elton may not have chosen a wise time to get back in the game. The recession may not have hurt football yet, but financial expert Professor Tom Cannon thinks clubs will soon start feeling the pinch.
"Season tickets will probably be down by about 10 percent but renewals will be down by at least 15 or 20 percent," said Professor Cannon. "That's where the problems will be as you go down the divisions."
And FourFourTwo Editor-in-Chief Hugh Sleight is similarly worried about football's financial future. “Judging by this list, football is the last remaining financial bubble," he said. "The combined wealth of our Top 100 is now £61 billion, compared with £41.7 billion last year and £20.45 billion in the first-ever Football Rich List in 2003. v
“We’ve also got 25 new entries in the 100, primarily because of the continued rush to invest in British football over the last 12 months.
“But the landscape has already changed dramatically because of the recession. As Arsene Wenger rightly pointed out, football will suffer just like any other industry.
"So far there seems to be a time lag but as economic conditions continue to bite, clubs and owners will feel the effect and it will then be interesting to see the reactions of these very wealthy men as they see their fortunes disappearing. In 12 months’ time, this list could look very different indeed.”
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.