2019: English Football’s Worst 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. Full results can be viewed HERE.

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

10th Place – The Allam Family – Hull City

Overall rating: 15.00/100

Communication: 1.11/10

Finance: 4.89/10

Football Operations: 2.56/10

Stadium development/upkeep: 2.33/10

Treatment of fans: 1.11/10

Transparency: 1.78/10

From owners who once called the fans irrelevant, and said we can die when we want, they now seem to want to talk to us as all the PL parachute money has run out.

The Allam family seem to go out of their way to spite the fans of Hull City A.F.C.

The end of parachute payments started a frenetic attempt at owner “engagement” with fans. Some people are impressed but they don’t fool me for a minute. They are the same “Hull Tigers” nasties they have been for the last 9 years and this is to do with money making after emptying the stadium. I hate them.


9th Place – Roland Duchatelet – Charlton Athletic

*Roland Duchatelet is no longer the owner of Charlton Athletic

Overall rating: 14.84/100

Communication: 1.33/10

Finance: 2.83/10

Football Operations: 1.87/10

Stadium development/upkeep: 3.23/10

Treatment of fans: 1.38/10

Transparency: 1.25/10

The ongoing problems with the Belgian owner are well-known. Manager Lee Bowyer got the club promoted with minimal support last year from the owner – that has carried on this season. The owner has only attended 2 games in 5 years, not even the div 1 play-off final at Wembley last May as he was “scared” he’d be attacked by Charlton fans. He is a disgrace and should sell the club immediately – he has already lost 2 potential sales by increasing the price he wants for the club, including the debt that he himself has run up.

The owner has shown no real interest in the development of the club from the day he bought it until the present day. His only objective appeared to be to make a profit by selling young players with no regard for staff at the club or fans. Thanks to his monumental failure in running the club, we are still stuck with him as he holds out for a buyer for the club willing to pay a vastly over inflated price.


8th Place – Andrew Jenkins / Steven Pattison / John Nixon – Carlisle United

Overall rating: 12.74/100

Communication: 1.62/10

Finance: 2.46/10

Football Operations: 1.79/10

Stadium development/upkeep: 1.60/10

Treatment of fans: 1.49/10

Transparency: 1.38/10

Lethargic, boring, unambitious, tight fisted, not open to listen to fans – terrible owners overseeing a very bleak period for Carlisle

Lost belief in them a long time ago. No ambition. Lost the fans and the club. 10 years of failure

Whatever Jenkins’ faults, he is further utterly hamstrung by people who have, by complete and utter fluke, found themselves in charge of a football team. John Nixon and folk like him are an issue that is sadly repeated at many football teams, and the fact he has found himself a cushy EFL position with free cup final tickets and Portugal golfing holidays means he will never, ever give up the position he paid £1 for ten years ago until it’s time to leave in a wooden box. Whether he will outlive the club is another matter.


7th Place – Colin Gordon – Kidderminster Harriers

*Colin Gordon is no longer the owner of Kidderminster Harriers

Overall rating: 11.25/100

Communication: 1.25/10

Finance: 1.75/10

Football Operations: 1.75/10

Stadium development/upkeep: 2.75/10

Treatment of fans: 1.50/10

Transparency: 1.13/10

Utterly ruined the club.

It’s a very confusing one for a fan of the Harriers to answer right now. Nobody actually knows specifically who holds what role. Communication and outright contempt for the fans it seems.Colin Gordon has left us in a shower – I say ‘left’ – that may not be the case.


6th Place – SISU – Coventry City

Overall rating: 10.73/100

Communication: 1.70/10

Finance: 2.61/10

Football Operations: 2.94/10

Stadium development/upkeep: 1.15/10

Treatment of fans: 1.36/10

Transparency: 1.24/10

Owner has taken the club away from its natural home twice; repeatedly broken promises about building a new stadium; placed the club’s future in jeopardy and disregarded the wishes of fans by pursuing actions for its own financial gain whilst refusing reasonable offers for the purchase of the club.

We’ve enjoyed two relegations and two relocations in the 10 years they’ve been here


5th Place – Abdallah Lemsagam – Oldham Athletic

Overall rating: 9.93/100

Communication: 1.63/10

Finance: 2.03/10

Football Operations: 1.30/10

Stadium development/upkeep: 1.86/10

Treatment of fans: 1.43/10

Transparency: 1.22/10

Our club is dying before our eyes. Much like Bury we’re shrouded in various companies and deals and it’ll soon be too late for us as well. Almost resigned to our fate.

Our club has suffered a total loss of identity, shambolic day to day operation and practice, and dreadful performance on the pitch under the current owner.

Clearly unfit to run a professional football club as testified by countless previous employees/players/managers. The board as a whole is incapable of making reasonable, rational decisions and has alienated a large amount of the fanbase; as seen by recent protests and around 1000 fewer season ticket holders compared to last season.


4th Place – The Glazer Family – Manchester United

Overall rating: 9.31/100

Communication: 1.77/10

Finance: 1.46/10

Football Operations: 1.38/10

Stadium development/upkeep: 3.00/10

Treatment of fans: 2.08/10

Transparency: 1.69/10


3rd Place – Mike Ashley – Newcastle United

Overall rating: 8.56/100

Communication: 1.06/10

Finance: 3.63/10

Football Operations: 1.75/10

Stadium development/upkeep: 1.44/10

Treatment of fans: 1.19/10

Transparency: 1.13/10


2nd Place – Amar Alkadhi – Macclesfield Town

Overall rating: 4.86/100

Communication: 1.00/10

Finance: 1.14/10

Football Operations: 1.71/10

Stadium development/upkeep: 1.57/10

Treatment of fans: 1.14/10

Transparency: 1.00/10

Behaviour is as shameful as it is obvious. Treatment of players alone should have invoked severe punishments from EFL or FA and yet nothing is forthcoming.

I seriously wonder whether after some 25 years, I’ll be bothering next season.

The owner is a complete block on the healthy development of the club. The stadium is decaying, local businesses have been alienated and he seems to want to take the club down with him. The EFL do nothing to help us.

Amar Alkhadi initially invested £100,000 into Macclesfield Town in 2003, joining the board of directors.

The club miraculously returned to the Football League in 2018 but has since found footballing and legal survival a struggle, with Macclesfield constantly lurching from one crisis to the next.

Alkadhi told the Guardian in November that Macclesfield is “a money-losing business so it does not serve me at all to spend time on getting things right here – it is much better to spend time on the companies that actually make money to subsidise the club, which I have been doing for 17 years.”

The club regularly fails to pay wages on time, resulting in players striking in December.

Macclesfield is currently facing a winding-up petition, which is adjourned while takeover discussions continue.


Worst Owner – Dave Allen – Chesterfield

Overall rating: 4.47/100

Communication: 1.08/10

Finance: 1.67/10

Football Operations: 1.12/10

Stadium development/upkeep: 2.16/10

Treatment of fans: 1.09/10

Transparency: 1.11/10

If Chesterfield FC was a dog it would have been put down years ago, it’s so unloved by its owners.

PR course required. Infrastructure behind the scenes terrible. Complete disregard of the importance of community in the club.

Dave Allen picks up the title of worst owner in English football, with nearly 398 Chesterfield fans completing our survey to award an overall rating of just 4.47/100.

Mr Allen, who said in 2018 that he does “not accept any criticism at all” for the club’s relegation to the National League, took over the club in 2009.

In 2015 Chesterfield finished 6th in League 1, but in the last 5 years have dropped to 21st in the National League, with the side at risk of relegation once again.

While few deny the investment made by Allen, many supporters point to severe mismanagement at the club, particularly at the direction of Ashley Carson.

Chesterfield fans have created a lengthy “charge sheet” of scandals that have occurred at the club during Allen’s reign, including the now-infamous “fake raffle” where the club offered the chance to win a place on the club’s pre-season tour to Hungary, only to invent a winner after just four customers purchased an entry.

Club supporters also allege that legal action has been launched against those who have voiced criticism of the club.


Photo “Group Hug” by Dom Fellowes – https://flickr.com/photos/7787006@N02/28955850175 – Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
Photo “Roland duchatelet-1556198100.jpg” – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Roland_duchatelet-1556198100.jpg – Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International
Photo “Brunton Park Welcome” by Jameboy – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brunton_Park_Welcome.jpg – Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Roger Cornfoot / Aggborough Stadium, Kidderminster / CC BY-SA 2.0 – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Aggborough_Stadium,_Kidderminster_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1555812.jpg
Photo “Welcome To Birmingham” – by Elliot Brown – https://www.flickr.com/photos/ell-r-brown/38997584895 – Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Photo “Raffle Tickets” by Howard Lake – https://www.flickr.com/photos/howardlake/4326873241 – Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Photo “Love United – Hate Glazer” by William Murphy – https://www.flickr.com/photos/infomatique/4673209714 – Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Photo “Boundary-park-oldham-athletic-16.jpg” by Mjm1ect – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Boundary-park-oldham-athletic-16.jpg – Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

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