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Premier League finances - part one: Reality starting to bite for Norwich City as top flight's poor relations

PUBLISHED: 17:00 13 November 2019 | UPDATED: 17:05 13 November 2019

Norwich City's joint majority shareholders Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones at Burnley earlier this season 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Norwich City's joint majority shareholders Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones at Burnley earlier this season Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Paul Chesterton

Today we bring you the first part of a report on the financial muscle Norwich City are competing with in the Premier League, taking a closer look at the Canaries' opponents in the top flight.

Aston Villa co-owner Wes Edens Picture: Nick Potts/PAAston Villa co-owner Wes Edens Picture: Nick Potts/PA

Sporting director Stuart Webber had warned Norwich City would be battling against far wealthier opponents in the Premier League - and the opening 12 matches of the season have illustrated that starkly.

Nine defeats in 12 games and defeats to teams including Burnley, Crystal Palace, West Ham and Watford have emphasised the step up in quality from the Championship, particularly for a self-funded club.

City's recently released annual accounts showed the club spent just £6.2million during the summer transfer window, committing to a potential further £4.7m in additional payments, and that Premier League cash will allow the club to turn an operating loss of £38m for 2018-19 into a profit of around £20m by the end of this season.

Brighton owner Tony Bloom made his fortune in poker Picture: Andrew Matthews/PABrighton owner Tony Bloom made his fortune in poker Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA

While a defensive injury crisis has contributed significantly to the issues on the pitch, and many fans are still hopeful that Daniel Farke's team has the potential to perform much better, that self-funded status under long-time majority shareholders Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones will continue to be scrutinised.

The exact worth of football club owners is difficult to pinpoint exactly, with the 2017 Sunday Times Rich List estimating City's senior couple had a combined personal wealth of around £55million, but a Daily Mirror list of the Premier League's wealthiest owners in 2013 had estimated closer to £20m.

That exact figure doesn't make too much difference in the current football world though, as both of those estimates pail in comparison to the vast majority of their fellow top-flight owners...

Burnley chairman Mike Garlick Picture: Nick Potts/PABurnley chairman Mike Garlick Picture: Nick Potts/PA

- ARSENAL

Current position: 6th

Owners' estimated worth: £6.8billion - Stan Kroenke

Annual turnover: £388.2m (£70.2m profit) for 2017-18

Reported summer 2019 transfer fees: £86m net spend (£130m bought, £44m sold)

Successive seasons in the top flight: 96

Summary: The club's traditional owners sold to US businessman Kroenke and Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov in 2007. Kroenke subsequently bought out Usmanov for £550m in 2018 to take sole control. Kroenke also owns US sports franchises including basketball team Denver Nuggets and ice hockey side Colorado Avalanches.

- ASTON VILLA

Current position: 17th

Owners' estimated worth: £8.1billion - Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens

Annual turnover: £68.6m (£35m loss) for 2017-18

Reported summer 2019 transfer fees: £128m net spend (£130m bought, £2m sold)

Successive seasons in the top flight: 0

Summary: Villa's £35m loss is from a season when they were outside the Premier League and were about to be bought out. Sawiris is the richest Egyptian in the world, making much of his money from construction industries. He is also on the supervisory board of Adidas and from a family with an estimated combined worth of £42bn. Edens is a private equity investor who owns the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team in the USA, estimated to be worth almost £2bn.

- BOURNEMOUTH

Current position: 9th

Owners' estimated worth: £545million - Maxim Demin

Annual turnover: £134.9m (£10.6m loss) for 2017-18

Reported summer 2019 transfer fees: £14m net spend (£45m bought, £31m sold)

Successive seasons in the top flight: 5

Summary: Demin bought a 50pc stake when the Cherries were in League One in 2011, then took full control in 2011. A private equity firm bolstered investment in 2015 but were bought out by the Russian businessman as he assumed full control earlier this year. With plans for a new stadium and training complex, the south coast club have been revolutionised.

- BRIGHTON

Current position: 11th

Owners' estimated worth: £1.3billion - Tony Bloom

Brighton-born professional gambler Annual turnover: £139.4m (£12.8m profit) for 2017-18

Reported summer 2019 transfer fees: £59.5m net spend (£61m bought, £1.5m sold)

Successive seasons in the top flight: 3

Summary: Brighton-born businessman Bloom, who made his fortune as a professional gambler took control of Brighton in 2009 and forked out £93m for the construction of the 32,000 capacity Amex Stadium. The funding for his boyhood club helped to bring an end to 34 years outside of the top flight for the Seagulls.

- BURNLEY

Current position: 10th

Owners' estimated worth: £80million - Mike Garlick and John Banaszkiewicz

Annual turnover: £138.9m (£36.6m profit) for 2017-18

Reported summer 2019 transfer fees: £3.5m net spend (£13.5m bought, £8m sold)

Successive seasons in the top flight: 4

Summary: Majority shareholder Garlick is reportedly worth around £50m, with the British recruitment consultant owning almost 50pc of the club. Former club chairman Banaszkiewicz has an estimated net worth of £30m from his success in the freight industry. Both are local businessmen and fans of the club, owning over 75pc of the club's shares.

- CHELSEA

Current position: 3rd

Owners' estimated worth: £9.2billion - Roman Abramovich

Annual turnover: £443.4m (£62m profit, after tax) for 2017-18

Reported summer 2019 transfer fees: £83.5m net profit (£40m bought, £123.5m sold)

Successive seasons in the top flight: 31

Summary: Abramovich's arrival in 2003 heralded a new era for the Blues which has bought five Premier League title, five FA Cups and one Champions League. The Russian billionaire made much of his money in the steel and gas industries. Currently under a transfer embargo.

- Worth of club owners is indicative, not exact, with latest available figures supplied by Forbes or Sunday Times. Transfer fees from soccerbase.com and transfermarkt.com.

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