The fact that Chelsea's players have had their free ticket allocation reduced from eight to four seats per game suggests the credit crunch is hitting Roman Abramovich as hard as anyone. Now a new financial survey claims that the Russian owner's wealth has plummeted by £3.8bn in a year, from £10.8bn to £7bn, to send him tumbling from the top of British football's rich list to a humbling third place.
To add insult to the injury inflicted on his wallet, Abramovich has not only been overtaken by a fellow Premier League club owner but a man who is part-owner of a Championship club.
According to the list, compiled for FourFourTwo magazine and published today, the new owner of Manchester City, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who FFT says has a personal fortune of £15bn, is now No 1, while second place is occupied by Lakshmi Mittal, the 58-year-old Indian industrialist worth £12.5bn who joined Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore in investing in Queen's Park Rangers.
Joe Lewis of Tottenham fame is fourth on the list, valued at £2.5bn, with Ecclestone in fifth (£2.4bn), followed by the Arsenal shareholders Stan Kroenke (£2.245bn) and Alisher Usmanov (£1.5bn).
David Beckham retains his place as the richest player associated with British football. The LA Galaxy midfielder, on loan at Milan, has a fortune estimated at £125m, or more than three times as much as his nearest wealth rivals, Michael Owen (£40m) and Wayne Rooney (£35m).
Beckham is 38th in the overall list, while England's head coach, Fabio Capello, is the best-placed manager, at No 73, with a fortune estimated at £25m. Capello earns £6m a year from the FA and has a private art collection estimated to be worth £10m. Manchester United's Sir Alex Ferguson is at No 78, on £22m, with Arsenal's Arsène Wenger at No 92 (£14m).
The list, compiled through a combination of limited access to meaningful accounts and guesswork, contains its usual anomalies. Robbie Fowler has apparently spent £2m more than he has earned, his fortune reducing from £30m to £28m. Sol Campbell has, apparently, earned nothing, staying on £28m. The combined wealth of the top 100 is now £61bn, against £41.7bn last year and £20.45bn in 2003, the first year the list was compiled.
Football's cash register: The top scorers
Top five owners:
1. Shekh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nayan, Manchester City, £15bn
2. Lakshmi Mittal and family, Queen's Park Rangers, £12.5bn
3. Roman Abramovich, Chelsea, £7bn
4. Joe Lewis, Tottenham Hotspur, £2.5bn
5. Bernie and Slavica Ecclestone, Queen's Park Rangers, £2.4bn
Top five players:
1. David Beckham, LA Galaxy, £125m (38th in top 100)
2. Michael Owen, Newcastle United, £40m (56=)
3. Wayne Rooney, Manchester United, £35m (61)
4= Rio Ferdinand, Manchester United, £28m (69=); Robbie Fowler, Unattached, £28m (69=); Sol Campbell, Portsmouth, £28m (69=)Reuse content