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    Kyle Bainbridge: Billionaires in Football

    Football in recent times has become more of a business rather than a sport with more and more billionaires coming in to invest into clubs. But it hasn't been without controversy.

    In the past we have seen mass protests at clubs with some fans refusing to turn up at games and disrupting matches while they are being played. Blackpool, Coventry City, Blackburn Rovers, West Ham and most recently Charlton Athletic have all staged protests in anger to how the club is being run.

    MK Dons owner Pete Winkleman bought out a debt ridden Wimbledon in the early 2000s moving them from London which forced fans to take action and form a new club in the name of AFC Wimbledon who are now playing in League 1. 

    When it comes to owners who fans believe to be destroying their club, Mike Ashley certainly tops the list. In 2007, Ashley bought a 43% stake in the club for a reported £55m. Since his takeover, Newcastle have endured 2 relegations to the Championship, bouncing back on the first attempt both times.

    Alan Shearer, a Newcastle United legend and the Premier Leagues all time top scorer, is certainly one of the biggest names to be against Ashley's running of the club. There have been many protests from fans as well as protests against Sports Direct, which Ashley is also an owner.

    The main complaint is that Ashley fails to back the club in any financial way suggesting he can't compete which was met by anger when earlier this year he offered to bail House of Fraser out while they owed £50m to pay off debts.

    Chelsea were the first club in England to have a high profile investment when in 2003 Roman Abramovich bought the club. Since the arrival of the Russian Billionaire, Chelsea have gone on to win 6 Premier League titles, 4 Fa Cups, 3 League Cups, 1 Champions League and 1 Europa League.

    Before Abramovich took over, Chelsea were regularly outside of the top 4 and never considered title challenges. In his first season as owner of the London club, he saw them finish in 2nd place. The following season however, under Jose Mourinho they won back to back Premier League titles.

    In their first title winning seasons, they spent a combined £257m. There last league triumph in 2015, they spent a total of £137m. This season they broke the record for a fee spent on a goalkeeper securing Kepa for £80m.

    In 2008, Sheikh Mansour bought Manchester City for £200m. Since his investment, Manchester City have gone on to win 3 Premier League titles, 1 Fa Cup, 3 League Cups and last season secure a best 100 points in a single campaign on the way to their latest league triumph.

    Before this investment, Manchester City's best finish in the Premier League was 8th back in 2005. Manchester City's first big money buy since Sheikh Mansour took over was Robinho in 2008 for a fee of £32.5m. Last season's dominance in English football came at a price as Pep Guardiola's side spent a whooping £268m on new recruits.

    Ironically though, in 2009 Pep Guardiola was quoted in saying that modern day football is all about buying class and rather than spending £50m on a new player they should look towards the youth. Despite this, Pep has spent £50m+ on 4 players since arriving. 

    Wolverhampton Wanderers have been nothing short of controversy since they won the Championship last season. Many believe that the owners are working in line with well known super agent Jorge Mendes to secure big name signings such as Rui Patricio and Ruben Neves to name a few. In 2016, Fosun International bought Wolves with the business having a 20% stake in Mendes' agency.

    Before there title winning season last season, Wolves finished 7th, 14th and 15th since being promoted from League 1 in 2014. 

    It can be argued that teams such as Liverpool and Manchester United spend big to try gain success. However, these clubs are 2 of English football's big names having had a successful history, they don't need investment to have a huge profit as they can generate huge incomes based on their names and revenues. Despite this, Liverpool owners have recently rejected a £2bn takeover bid from Sheikh Monsour, Manchester City owner, cousin. 

    Are these Owners seeing this as business oppurtunities? Do they really care about success or do they care more about the profit they are making? Personally, despite the sanctions of FFP clubs should have to generate there own incomes to allow a more fairer level playing field. Which could benefit lower level clubs who are unable to compete with big money owners. 

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