BILLIONAIRES ABROAD: The Americans Who Own The Biggest European Soccer Clubs

john henry at a liverpool match

Photo: AP

Liverpool FC’s American owner John Henry knew “virtually nothing” about English soccer before buying the famed club, he acknowledged in a Guardian feature today.This won’t sit well with English fans.

American owners have taken over some of England’s soccer powerhouses over the last decade.

Many of them have drawn the scorn of fans for numerous business and on-field blunders.

But Americans will continue to buy up big English clubs. And with Italian giants AS Roma now under American control, US owners are edging into continental Europe as well.

John Henry (Liverpool FC in England)

Henry made his fortune taking advantage of market inefficiencies as a hedge fund manager.

He eventually bought the Boston Red Sox with a group of investors -- leading them to their first World Series since 1918.

Last year, he bought the embattled club Liverpool even though he knew 'virtually nothing' about English soccer.

Randy Lerner (Aston Villa in England)

Lerner was a banker who also had experience in sports ownership.

He owned the Cleveland Browns before purchasing Birmingham-based Aston Villa in the EPL in 2006.

He's probably the most well-liked owner in the league.

The Glazer family (Manchester United)

Malcolm Glazer made his fortune in a variety of businesses.

He eventually parlayed his fortune into the biggest club in England -- Manchester United.

He's become hated by Man U supporters for strapping the club with millions of dollars of debt.

Stan Kroenke (Arsenal in England)

Kroenke is a sports mogul and the son-in-law of the guy who founded Wal-Mart.

He owns several sports franchises in Colorado, and he bought a controlling stake in Arsenal last year.

Slowly but surely, Arsenal fans are starting to get fed up with his relative aloofness and lack of spending.

Ellis Short (Sunderland in England)

Short made his cash in private equity before splashing for an EPL squad.

He took over Sunderland in 2009, and has kept the historically middling club from relegation the last two season.

Thomas DiBenedetto (AS Roma in Italy)

DiBenedetto is the first American to own a major club outside England.

Also a partner in Henry's Fenway Sports Ventures, he bought AS Roma last season.

So far his biggest impression has been his desire to add American players to the team.

John Berylson (Millwall in England)

Berylson is a Harvard MBA and a Marine.

After making gobs of money refinancing banks in Rhode Island, he bought the club in 2007.

The club has moved up a league since then, and Berylson bragged in 2009 that 'the Millwall fans like me now.'

Philip Anschutz (Hammarby in Sweden)

Anschutz is the man behind the sports and entertainment giant AEG (aka the company that wants to bring the NFL back to LA).

AEG owns a 49% stake in an obscure Swedish club, Hammarby. AEG also owns the LA Galaxy and Houston Dynamo.

Bonus: Tom Hicks and George Gillett (formerly of Liverpool)

These guys were hated so badly by LFC fans that they were forced to sell the club to Henry last season.

They piled the club with debt, and didn't spend enough to please the faithful fans.

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