The English Premier League is now widely considered the sporting league of choice for the mega wealthy.
Only today, two more clubs have been bought by (non- domiciled) billionaires taking the total number owned by such individuals to, at a best guess, 12.
There is also pressure on a further two clubs to either find a buyer with very deep pockets, or give in to the pressure being applied by one.
But how do billionaires stack up in terms of performance?
The worst example of a billionaire's involvement in a club has to be Mike Ashley at Newcastle. In truth, he can only be rated as 0/10 but, as they are no longer in the EPL, he doesn't appear on this list.
The teams and billionaires who do appear vary greatly in how they perform, and it's not about trophies either—although that of course helps.
1. Manchester United—Malcolm Glazer 6/10
There was very little risk for Malcolm Glazer when he paid top dollar (pardon the pun), as he had everything already in place, but at least he hasn't tried to change things.
If it ain't broke don't fix it, and he left well alone.
Irrespective of the trophies they have won, they are now saddled with a massive debt that could not realistically be repaid, so that hits the score on the door.
2. Liverpool—Gillette/Hicks 4/10
Liverpool's owners are essentially Glazer light.
They bought a club in need of investment and haven't put money in.
They inherited a fair level of achievement and the cracks have been papered over somewhat by the performances in Europe, but they are still there.
The debt needs servicing as well and, in truth, they don't seem too comfortable, hence the turmoil behind the scenes.
3. Aston Villa—Randy Lerner 8/10
The quiet billionaire is well respected for doing things "the right way," though he still hasn't managed to win anything while owner and perhaps he never will.
At least he manages the club well and they don't have the debt problem of the previously mentioned clubs.
4. Chelsea—Roman Abramovich 6/10
I have my doubts about Roman. He proved you can buy the title, but then he didn't keep spending. Is his heart no longer in it?
His regime is starting to look a little flakey now with managers coming and going and players misbehaving.
Things might look better for him once the new, permanent manager is in place. But now he needs to re-invest as his squad gets older, will he do it?
5. Fulham—Mohamed Fayed 7/10
Now i'm not sure if he counts as a billionaire but he is essentially included because he behaves like one.
One of the poorer relations in terms of wealth, he has had his ups and downs but has always done his best for the unfashionable London club.
6. Wigan—Dave Whelan 7/10
Like Mr. Fayed, his wealth is certainly at the lower end of the spectrum but he is essentially Mr. Wigan.
Uniquely, he is an ex-pro footballer who has played in a cup final, so he knows the game.
Sensible stewardship means the club will always have a home but not necessarily one in the EPL.
7. Tottenham Hotspur—Joe Lewis/Daniel Levy 7/10
Most people assume the club is owned by Levy but the real money and power lies with Joe Lewis.
They are dedicated to the club and have spent enough but they have been error prone.
But we all love a trier.
8. West Ham United—Bjorgolfur Guomundsson 0/10
If it can go wrong, it will go wrong.
It has gone wrong.
9. Bolton Wanderers—Eddie Davies 6/10
Another quiet billionaire who has backed the club and managers with just about enough.
Well run but boring does not a great club make.
10. Manchester City—HRH Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan 8/10
The only royal on the list, he took over a club that was fur coat and no knickers and has dressed it in ermine, knickers and all.
Everything has been spot on so far, apart from the results on the pitch, possibly due to too much expectation.
Like Lerner at Villa a model of professionalism. Much to the disgust of the media.
11. Portsmouth—Dr Al Fahim—TBC
Involved with the above HRH takeover at City, he apparently caught the EPL bug and bought one himself, hmmmm.
He was also asked to no longer comment on City as he tends to talk bollocks.
Good luck Pompey.
12. Sunderland—Ellis Short—TBC
Another relative newcomer to the land of the EPL, he has been a shareholder at Sunderland for some time.
What will he do with his money? Time will tell.
When it comes to billionaires you can never be sure.
I think its better for an owner not to have to finance his hobby with loans as that's a bit of a cheat really, if you're gonna do it—dig deep.
Then of course we have to look at the depth of the pockets.
If I had to pick a winner it would be Lerner, followed just behind by HRH Sheik Mansour, but I fully expect HRH to be head and shoulders above all others in the next three years.
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