Top 10 Worst English Football Owners Revealed

Last week Against League 3 polled 3,376 fans from 139 different clubs in search of English football’s best and worst owner. Responses were averaged against the number of supporters who replied to give an overall rating and ratings on communication, financial responsibility, football operations, stadium upkeep/responsibility, treatment of fans and transparency. Full results can be viewed HERE.

Here is who YOU voted the worst owners in English football:

Worst Owner – Owen Oyston – Blackpool

Overall rating: 1.18/100

Communication: 1.03/10

Finance: 1.04/10

Football Operations: 1.10/10

Stadium development/upkeep: 1.07/10

Treatment of fans: 1.01/10

Transparency: 1.02/10

The naming of Owen Oyston as the worst owner in English football will come as little surprise to anyone even remotely familiar with the recent history of Blackpool Football Club.

The story of Oyston’s ownership is a staggering tale of neglect going back to 1988 that is simply too detailed to cover in-depth here. “Highlights” include a rape conviction in 1995, suing Blackpool supporters who had dared to criticise his regime and paying £26.77m out of the club with his son Karl after the club’s promotion to the Premier League.

Late in 2017 Owen Oyston and Karl Oyston were ordered to pay £31m to minority shareholder Valeri Belokon for his shares due to their “illegitimate stripping” of the club.

Too annoyed with both owner and EFL for allowing the situation at the club to develop and deteriorate to the present unacceptable level of incompetence.

Blackpool fan repsonse on Ownership survey


Karl Oyston posing next to a Blackpool FC protest banner. 2014.

Blackpool Supporters Trust Chair Christine Seddon told Against League 3: “We’ve known it for a very long time and have been fighting a campaign to get rid of the Oystons for years now. Given the history of these owners and what’s come out in recent years, for me, the only surprise would have been if they didn’t top the poll!”

“The relationship between the owners and the fans has deteriorated to such a point that there’s just no going back.”

“We know what their priority is now, so we know there can be no future for Blackpool Football Club, a proper future, while they own it. We know that, no matter what they do, we can never trust them. The only way forward is for them to leave, and that’s what the campaign is all about.”

You can read our full interview with Christine Seddon HERE

Owen Oyston did not respond to our offer to comment.

2nd Place – Mike Ashley – Newcastle United

Overall rating: 2.83/100

Communication: 1.25/10

Finance: 2.17/10

Football Operations: 1.33/10

Stadium development/upkeep: 1.25/10

Treatment of fans: 1.08/10

Transparency: 1.00/10

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley initially started his tenure as a popular figure at St James’ Park. Mixing with fans, often photographed with a pint in hand, gave a sense that their owner was the same as any other supporter.

Cracks started to show after a disagreement between then-manager Kevin Keegan and Director of Football Denis Wise that saw club legend Keegan eventually resign from the club. After the first home game following Keegan’s departure, Ashley announced that the club had been put up for sale, stating: <i>”I have listened to you. You want me out. That is what I am now trying to do.”.</i> Joe Kinnear, despite being out of football for almost 4 years, is installed as manager.

An intensely private person, Ashley went 5 years from 2009 without saying a single word in public about the club.

Following relegation to the Championship, Chris Hughton guided the club back to the Premier League, only to be sacked with Newcastle 11th in the Premier League. The club then renamed St James’ Park and signed a controversial shirt sponsorship deal with Wonga.

Following a stream of unsuccessful managers, Champions League winner Rafael Benitez is unable to save the club from their second relegation under Ashley in 2016.

3rd Place – Roland Duchatelet – Charlton Athletic

Overall rating: 3.91/100

Communication: 1.09/10

Finance: 1.62/10

Football Operations: 1.17/10

Stadium development/upkeep: 2.71/10

Treatment of fans: 1.05/10

Transparency: 1.09/10

Last years winner for “Worst Owner” retains a podium place for 2018, with Charlton Athletic still reeling from the damage inflicted by their absentee, water-rationing, bonus-witholding Belgian owner.

4th Place – Assem Allam – Hull City

Overall rating: 4.20/100

Communication: 1.10/10

Finance: 2.41/10

Football Operations: 1.33/10

Stadium development/upkeep: 1.97/10

Treatment of fans: 1.00/10

Transparency: 1.10/10

5th Place – SISU – Coventry City

Overall rating: 4.20/100

Communication: 1.27/10

Finance: 1.47/10

Football Operations: 1.58/10

Stadium development/upkeep: 1.25/10

Treatment of fans: 1.06/10

Transparency: 1.10/10

6th Place – John Fry – Yeovil Town

Overall rating: 5.70/100

Communication: 1.09/10

Finance: 2.55/10

Football Operations: 1.40/10

Stadium development/upkeep: 1.44/10

Treatment of fans: 1.18/10

Transparency: 1.07/10

7th Place – Dave Allen – Chesterfield

Overall rating: 6.00/100

Communication: 1.18/10

Finance: 1.58/10

Football Operations: 1.26/10

Stadium development/upkeep: 3.12/10

Treatment of fans: 1.18/10

Transparency: 1.13/10

8th Place – Stephen Kaplan & Jason Levien – Swansea City

Overall rating: 8.40/100

Communication: 2.60/10

Finance: 2.40/10

Football Operations: 2.20/10

Stadium development/upkeep: 3.80/10

Treatment of fans: 2.40/10

Transparency: 1.20/10

9th Place – Andrew Jenkins/Steven Pattison / John Nixon – Carlisle United

Overall rating: 10.16/100

Communication: 1.33/10

Finance: 1.90/10

Football Operations: 1.77/10

Stadium development/upkeep: 1.30/10

Treatment of fans: 1.46/10

Transparency: 1.31/10

10th Place – JM Packaging/Jason McGill – York City

Overall rating: 10.29/100

Communication: 1.14/10

Finance: 2.29/10

Football Operations: 1.71/10

Stadium development/upkeep: 2.86/10

Treatment of fans: 1.29/10

Transparency: 1.14/10

Check Also

2019 Ownership Survey – Full Results

At the end of 2019 Against League 3 polled 3,065 fans from 141 different clubs …


  1. Jason McGill really should be no.1

  2. Agree about McGill, at least the rest of the lucky b*****ds have a club in the football league!

  3. Fans get angry with owners who won’t pay for transfers or spend any money…But for the 1st time in the history of Football an owner is guilty of asset stripping his own club and defrauding investors who invested millions. This owner sued and bankrupted fans for telling the truth. He has allowed the ground to deteriorate and crumble while spending £75,000 of football club money on a Bison. The training ground is that bad, the manager paid money out of his own pocket to train elsewhere. As a league 1 club he paid his own son, £500,000 a year and his Grandson £200,000 a year while taking an £11m ‘bonus’. The club has fought back and (even without his help) is doing well…but every year players, managers and fans walk away from this club..Congratulations Owen Oyston

  4. McGill mortgaged York City to the value of the ground over 10 years ago, for somewhere in the region of £4m, and now owns the club outright except for a few shareholders owed maybe a few hundred thousand, the ground will now probably be worth double that so there’s a tidy profit for him. Some fans would relish having £4m to spend and clubs have soared up the leagues with considerably less investment, our money was wasted on terrible managers, awful players and long contracts, so during his tenure not only have we had our largest asset stripped away from us, we also gone from the League 2 play offs to the edge of relegation from National League North.

    • As Mark said, wasted £stupid amount on useless managers and stupid contracts, should have sacked that Useless McSackie after that Acrrington disgrace.
      Has no idea how to run the football club even to this day.
      He needs to go along with Penney, then we might move forward.

  5. Chesterfield Dave Allen worst owner a club could have.lets not forget Sheffield Wednesday
    Spent years in league one with this horrible owner. Now he’s destroyed chesterfield

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