Tuesday, 23 Jul 2024

Football Club Owners: A Closer Look

Football Team Owners

As the 21st century progresses, it’s become increasingly common for football clubs to be owned by foreign investors. This trend has raised eyebrows and stirred debate, with certain tabloids expressing concern about the influence of non-English or British owners in the game. However, is this really a cause for alarm? How much impact does the ownership of a club have on its supporters? In this article, we aim to shed light on these questions and explore the complexities of club ownership.

Premier League Team Owners

Team Owners for Other UK Leagues


League One

League Two


English Football Club Ownership by Nationality

One intriguing question surrounding foreign ownership is whether investors are less interested in buying lower-tier clubs in the Football League. To answer this, let’s take a look at the top flight during the 2017-2018 season before moving on to clubs in the English professional leagues.

The following graphs illustrate the percentage of owners by nationality in each league. It’s important to note that multiple owners can have stakes in a single club, so these figures do not reflect overall ownership percentages.

The Premier League

Percentage Ownership in the Premier League by Nationality 2017-18 Season

  • English Owners: 15
  • American Owners: 7
  • Russian Owners: 3
  • Welsh Owners: 2
  • Chinese Owners: 2
  • Iranian Owners: 1
  • Emirati Owners: 1
  • Swiss Owners: 1
  • Italian Owners: 1
  • Icelandic Owners: 1
  • Thai Owners: 1
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The Championship

Percentage Ownership in the Championship by Nationality 2017-18 Season

  • English Owners: 11
  • Chinese Owners: 6
  • Thai Owners: 4
  • American Owners: 3
  • Malaysian Owners: 2
  • Welsh Owners: 1
  • Greek Owners: 1
  • Indian Owners: 1
  • Saudi Owners: 1
  • Italian Owners: 1
  • Egyptian Owners: 1

League One

Percentage Ownership in League One by Nationality 2017-18 Season

  • English Owners: 26
  • Irish Owners: 1
  • Scottish Owners: 1
  • Belgian Owners: 1
  • Jordanian Owners: 1
  • Indian Owners: 1
  • Latvian Owners: 1

League Two

Percentage Ownership in League Two by Nationality, 2017-18 Season

  • English Owners: 32
  • Finnish Owners: 1
  • American Owners: 1

Well-Known Owners

There are two types of football club owners: those who quietly go about their business and enjoy the support of their fans, and those who attract criticism. While some owners may not be favored by supporters, such as the Glazers at Manchester United, as long as the club performs well, protests for their removal remain unnecessary. Other owners, like Mike Ashley at Newcastle United, could be excellent if they refrained from interfering with the club’s affairs. Supporters of Newcastle United will tell you that the club functions best when Ashley trusts the manager’s decisions. However, it’s natural for football fans to believe that owners could do more or run the club better.

Owners’ Nationalities

Nationality Of All Owners In English Professional Football Leagues, 2017-18 season

Does the nationality of a football club’s owner really matter? If they have a genuine understanding of the sport and a connection with the supporters, probably not. For example, Leicester City’s Thai owners would offer free beer to fans before matches to create excitement and a lively atmosphere. However, they sacked Claudio Ranieri the season after he led the team to a remarkable Premier League victory, leaving some uncertainty about their understanding of the club and its culture.

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A club owner’s nationality has little to do with their ability to be a good owner. There are English owners who prioritize financial gain over the club and its supporters, just as there are foreign owners who are eager to learn and improve their understanding of football. Although tabloids may claim that 57% of England’s top-tier clubs are foreign-owned, it’s important to remember that this figure can be misleading.

In conclusion, ownership should be assessed based on the individual or company’s commitment to the club and its supporters, rather than their nationality. As the legendary Bill Shankly once said, “At a football club, there’s a holy trinity – the players, the manager, and the supporters. Directors don’t come into it. They are only there to sign the cheques.”