2019: English Football’s Best Owners

At the end of 2019 Against League 3 polled over 3,000 fans from 141 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.

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

10th Place – Mark and Nicola Palios – Tranmere Rovers

Photo by "IJA"

Overall rating: 91.60/100

Communication: 7.11/10

Finance: 7.91/10

Football Operations: 7.03/10

Stadium development/upkeep: 6.66/10

Treatment of fans: 7.66/10

Transparency: 7.43 /10

They are real people, interested and involved on a day to day basis and with a plan going forward, and who take time to engage with the everyday fans of the club at a personal level. – Tranmere fan survey response

9th Place – NSWE / Nassef Sawiris / Wes Edens – Aston Villa

Photo by Philip Halling

Overall rating: 91.88/100

Communication: 6.83/10

Finance: 8.17/10

Football Operations: 7.40/10

Stadium development/upkeep: 8.41/10

Treatment of fans: 8.13/10

Transparency: 7.00/10

Long interviews with the CEO available through club media channels. They seem to be planning to be here for a long time with the plans we’ve heard, ie: North Stand expansion, training ground changes with HS2 – Aston Villa fan survey response

8th Place – Stephen Lansdown – Bristol City

Overall rating: 93.22/100

Communication: 6.83/10

Finance: 8.17/10

Football Operations: 7.40/10

Stadium development/upkeep: 8.41/10

Treatment of fans: 6.97/10

Transparency: 7.14/10

We’re an incredibly fortunate set of fans who have an owner who genuinely loves not just the football club but also the city of Bristol. He’s continually invested money into the club and the sustainable strategy in place protects our longevity while also bringing us season on season improvement on the pitch – Bristol City fan survey response

7th Place – Matthew Benham – Brentford

Overall rating: 93.25/100

Communication: 6.50/10

Finance: 8.38/10

Football Operations: 8.38/10

Stadium development/upkeep: 8.25/10

Treatment of fans: 7.25/10

Transparency: 6.25/10

6th Place – Clive Nates – Lincoln City

Overall rating: 93.75/100

Communication: 7.44/10

Finance: 7.44/10

Football Operations: 7.63/10

Stadium development/upkeep: 6.69/10

Treatment of fans: 7.94/10

Transparency: 7.63/10

We’re incredibly lucky to have such good owners.

5th Place – Simon Sadler – Blackpool

Overall rating: 93.94/100

Communication: 7.30/10

Finance: 7.49/10

Football Operations: 7.34/10

Stadium development/upkeep: 7.21/10

Treatment of fans: 7.49/10

Transparency: 7.33/10

After the Oystons, Simon Sadler is a complete breath of fresh air. Huge difference in a very short space of time

Sadler has given us our club back, anything else is a bonus.

4th Place – Carol Shanahan – Port Vale

Overall rating: 94.95/100

Communication: 8.55/10

Finance: 8.35/10

Football Operations: 8.20/10

Stadium development/upkeep: 7.69/10

Treatment of fans: 8.61/10

Transparency: 8.55/10

So far the new owners have been fantastic, breathing a renewed optimism about the club and making headway into repairing the damage done by the previous owner. The future looks bright for us now.

Owners have only been in charge a short time but have shown the direction they want the club to move in. Community centred, financially responsible and wanting to put the fans first. There is a much greater feel-good factor around the club since they took over.

The new owners, Carol and Kevin Shanahan have literally saved Port Vale from neglect, indifference and a downward spiral and kept the club alive – Vale fans are so very lucky to have such owners and their generosity, honesty, enthusiasm, wisdom, empathy with fans and business experience are truly appreciated by the overwhelming majority of Port Vale supporters.

Following a regime of obfuscation, lies & deceipt over many years, Carol & Kevin knowingly paid a “ransom” to free Port Vale from the previous owner. Their communication, passion & dedication to the club they love is unparalleled.

3rd Place – 2020 Holdings Consortium – Luton Town

Overall rating: 95.81/100

Communication: 8.14/10

Finance: 8.44/10

Football Operations: 8.14/10

Stadium development/upkeep: 7.86/10

Treatment of fans: 8.22/10

Transparency: 8.28/10

Brilliant owners, brilliant people, brilliant with communication and transparency, all creating a brilliant club we thought we might lose 10 years ago.

The way they have transformed my club has been immense, always been open and clear with their plans and have done amazingly in trying to get us this new stadium, we wouldn’t be where we are now without them

Luton Town 2020 Holdings Consortium have overseen a huge transition at Luton Town, taking the club from the brink of extinction to the Championship. The owners made Luton the first English club to pay the Living Wage and committed to a policy of refusing sponsorship from betting companies.

Luton look set to commence construction of a new 23,000 stadium after winning a four-year-long planning battle.

2nd Place – Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha – Leicester City

Overall rating: 98.00/100

Communication: 8.20/10

Finance: 8.90/10

Football Operations: 8.80/10

Stadium development/upkeep: 8.30/10

Treatment of fans: 9.00/10

Transparency: 8.40/10

Unbelievable owner. Every move he has made has been vindicated. Has the club at the heart of everything he does

Top and Vichai before him are the most wonderful owners, they give back to the local community, invest in infrastructure, youth developments, non footballing local charities both with time and substantial gifts, gifts to fans at home and away games from free refreshments, food, merchandise, banners, travel and tickets.

Architect of one of the greatest fairytales in football history, owner Vinchai Srivaddhanaprabha had always been well received by the Leicester City faithful for his running of the club. In November 2018 the football world watched on in horror as a helicopter leaving the King Power Stadium crashed killing all 5 people on board including Vincent Srivaddhanaprabha.

Vincent’s son Aiyawatt then took over King Power and became chairman of the Premier League outfit. Leicester City currently find themselves on course for a Champions League place under manager Brendan Rodgers.

1st Place – Andy Holt – Accrington Stanley

Photo by Robert Wade
Photo by Robert Wade – CC BY-NC-SA 4.0


Overall rating: 98.50/100

Communication: 7.66/10

Finance: 7.71/10

Football Operations: 7.34/10

Stadium development/upkeep: 7.68/10

Treatment of fans: 7.68/10

Transparency: 7.53/10

The job Andy Holt is doing is awesome. I’ve followed Stanley for 28yrs and this is by far the best owner we have had. Andy & his team have turned us around to make the club sustainable. Match day experience is a total joy.

He is a brilliant owner, already done so much for the club. Very open with club accounts. Put a lot of money into the club with the pitch, around the stadium, training ground.

Great owner, open and honest and always willing to listen.

Andy is an excellent owner and understands that the club belongs to the community. He is excellent with fans and has done fantastic things with the ground. He is very transparent and regularly publishes figures and holds question and answer sessions for the fans with himself and the MD.

A breath of fresh air since he came in, Stanley have never been in such good hands.

Accrington Stanley chairman Andy Holt has topped our 2019 Ownership Survey to earn the title of English Football’s Best Owner for the second year running.

Andy received an approval rating of 98.4/100 from Stanley fans.

At the time of writing Stanley find themselves in 17th position in League 1, their second season in the division, with the team consolidating well under the stewardship of John Coleman and Jimmy Bell.

Andy regularly posts his thoughts and holds discussions on his twitter account regarding his running of the club and issues of governance in the game.


Photo “Accrington Stanley Football Club, Fraser Eagle Stadium, Livingstone Road, Accrington, Lancashire BB5 5BX” by Robert Wade – https://www.flickr.com/photos/rossendalewadey/4443423486/ – Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International
Photo “Trfc v sufc 2013 IJA 02.png” by IJA – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Trfc_v_sufc_2013_IJA_02.png – Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Photo “Holte End Stand, Villa Park – geograph.org.uk – 1191452.jpg” by Philip Halling – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Holte_End_Stand,_Villa_Park_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1191452.jpg – Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic
Photo “Bristol City At Wembley” by nicksarebi – https://www.flickr.com/photos/34517490@N00/2525211743 – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic
Photo “The main stand at Kenilworth Road” by Steve Daniel – https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/5299416 – Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
Photo “Offside” by John Lord – https://www.flickr.com/photos/yellowbookltd/22120111959 – Attribution 2.0 Generic
Photo “Game Over at BLoomfield Road, Blackpool” by Terry Robinson – CC BY-SA 2.0
Photo “Lincoln City – tifo.jpg” by Differentgravy at the English Wikipedia – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lincoln_City_-_tifo.jpg – Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Photo “Brentford FC – May 2009 – Fans & Flag in the New Road Stand” by Gareth Williams – https://www.flickr.com/photos/gareth1953/3851649781 – Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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