Who owns the 'Big Six' clubs? Ownership of Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal, Man City, Man United, and Chelsea explained

These are the people pulling the strings behind the scenes at some of the biggest clubs in England.

Since the news initially broke on on Sunday, there has been one story and one story alone dominating headlines across the country.

We’re talking, of course, about the announcement from England’s so-called ‘Big Six’ clubs that they intend to become founding members of a European Super League in which they would be guaranteed a place in an annual competition with other giants of the continental game.

The plans have led to widespread outrage across the footballing community and beyond, with much of the blame justifiably being apportioned to the respective clubs’ owners.

Avram Glazer (L) and Joel Glazer, the Co-Chairmen of Manchester United.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)Avram Glazer (L) and Joel Glazer, the Co-Chairmen of Manchester United.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Avram Glazer (L) and Joel Glazer, the Co-Chairmen of Manchester United. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

But who are the people in the boardroom making the decision?

We’ve taken a closer look at the owners of the Big Six below. Here’s everything you need to know:

Who owns Manchester City?

City's ownership takeover back in 2008 has arguably had one of the most transformative effects in modern footballing history.

The Blues went yoyoing between divisions to challenging for titles season after season, and could be in line to lift a fifth Premier League title this season.

The man behind their vast increase in wealth is Sheikh Mansour, a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family and deputy prime minister of the UAE.

His buyout cemented City’s status as one of the richest clubs in world football, and his influence across the footballing world has grown and grown in recent years.

Sheikh Mansour is the owner of the Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment, whose primary interest is its 78% majority ownership of the City Football Group, a worldwide organisation that also controls Mumbai City, Melbourne City, and New York City.

Who owns Manchester United?

Malcolm Glazer first bought a stake in Manchester United in 2003, and by May 2005 he owned 57% of the club.

A few days later, the American took control of 75% of the club's shares. This in turn allowed him to delist the company from the stock exchange, and within a month, Glazer and his family had taken 98% ownership of the club via their Red Football parent company.

The final purchase price of the club totalled almost £800 million.

Malcolm Glazer passed away in 2014 at the age of 85, and as such, the club are now owned by his six children: Avram, Joel, Kevin, Bryan, Darcie and Edward Glazer.

Joel and Avram are in charge of the day-to-day running of the club, but their tenure has been far from harmonious, with many supporters dissatisfied with the sizeable debts that have been accrued as a result of the deal.

Malcolm Glazer initially financed much of his takeover with loans, using a ‘leveraged buyout plan’ rather than their own money, which involves borrowing money against a future asset to buy said asset.

That alone saddled United interest payments of over £60 million per year, and in the period of time since, it has been reported that the takeover has cost the Reds well over £1 billion in interest.

Who owns Chelsea?

Roman Abramovich has been at the helm at Stamford Bridge since 2003.

Much like Man City would do years later, the Blues underwent a period of rapid financial growth under the Russian billionaire, emerging as one of the biggest powerhouses in European football in the seasons after his arrival.

The 54-year-old previously has close ties Russian president Boris Yeltsin, and is understood to be a close confidant of Vladimir Putin.

While Abramovich’s ownership of Chelsea has generally seen him maintain a visible and relatively enthusiastic presence around the club, the businessman has been embroiled in a number of controversial incidents away from the pitch during his tenure in West London, including a report from The Times in 2008 that alleged to have uncovered court papers showing Abramovich admitting that he paid billions of dollars for political favours and protection fees for shares of Russia's oil and aluminium assets.

Who owns Arsenal?

Arsenal’s ownership situation is relatively unique within the English game.

The Gunners are owned by a parent company, Arsenal Holdings plc, with relatively few shares and infrequent trading between parties.

In 2007, the club attracted interest from rival tycoons, Stan Kroenke and Alisher Usmanov, with both buying stakes.

Since 2018, however, Kroenke has been sole owner of the north London giants.

The American billionaire heads his own holding company, Kroenke Sports and Entertainment, and holds control of several franchises in various sports back in his home country.

KSE are responsible for the Los Angeles Rams of the NFL, Denver Nuggets of the NBA, Colorado Avalanche of the NHL, Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer, and Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League, as well as E-Sports teams like the Los Angeles Gladiators of the Overwatch League, and the newly formed Los Angeles Guerrillas of the Call of Duty League.

Who owns Tottenham Hotspur?

Spurs’ ownership situation is surprisingly complicated compared to other English clubs.

For one thing, despite his public profile and role as chairman, Daniel Levy is not the majority shareholder.

While it is true that he is the most powerful person at the club, and that any decisions such as Jose Mourinho’s sacking ultimately have to come from him, the 59-year-old in fact owns just 29.4% of the share capital of ENIC International Limited.

ENIC are the company who 85.55% of Spurs, but their majority stakeholder is Joe Lewis, an 84-year-old businessman who spends the vast majority of his time in the Bahamas.

Who owns Liverpool?

Up until now, Fenway Sports Group have proved to be fairly popular owners at Anfield.

After all, the American company, fronted by John W Henry and Tom Werner, brought Jurgen Klopp to Merseyside, and in doing so have helped to reestablish the Reds as one of the most dangerous clubs in world football.

The backlash from their decision would suggest that Kopites everywhere do not believe that their previous track record affords them a free pass on a such seismic issue.

As well as owning Liverpool, FSG are also the parent company of MLB franchise Boston Red Sox.

Henry owns the biggest block of shares in the company, with around 40% to his name, but there are also a number of notable minority stakeholders, including basketball icon LeBron James.