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flag   Top 10 Most Notorious Owners / Chairmen (British)
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Foreign players dominate our teams, foreign coaches manage all our leading clubs and now the foreign owners are elbowing their way into our boardrooms. I don't know, they come over here, nicking our clubs, using the word 'franchise', eating pumpkin pie. Anyway, we've found 10 reasons why they can't be any worse than some of the home-grown rascals who have run our precious clubs. This is not a definitive list. Sadly there are plenty more where these came from.

One of Pompey's owners may get added to the list at some point, if we can ever get to the bottom of who was actually to blame for what happened at the club, but at the moment, with about fifty different people seemingly having owned it in the space of a year, it's still not clear who to point the finger of blame at !
No. Owner / Club Details
1 Ken Richardson
Doncaster
In 1995 Ken Richardson hired two local crooks to burn down the main stand. One, an ex SAS man, left his mobile phone at the scene and even the South Yorks plod managed to rumble the protagonists. Richardson was found guilty in 1999 and jailed for four years. Other stunts pulled included attempting to sell the ground even though it was owned by the council and his eccentric managerial appointment of a certain Mark Weaver who'd previously run the club shop. At Stockport.
2 Darren Brown
Chesterfield
Brown came to prominence with his ownership of the Sheffield Steelers ice hockey team, a dominant force in the sport. Brown wanted to branch into football and `bought' Chesterfield, a well run and profitable club, with money borrowed from the previous owner. He proceeded to run the club into the ground by robbing them of around £1m to fund a lavish lifestyle and prop up his other, ailing sports clubs. His extravagances included using club funds to buy a £2,500 lawn mower and paying the council tax of numerous American ice hockey players. The Serious Fraud Office investigated Brown and he was found guilty and sentenced to 4 years for his plundering of the club in 2004.
3 Anton Johnson
Rotherham
Southend
Scarborough
Johnson was a scoundrel who ran Rotherham into the ground in the early 1980s before owning Southend, without giving up his holdings at Millmoor. He illegally owned two clubs and was guilty of financial malpractice at both. In 1985 the FA banned him from ever being involved in football again. Naturally he washed up at Scarborough in 1998 after an abortive attempt to buy Doncaster off our old pal, Ken Richardson. Scarborough were relegated from the Football League in 1999.
4 Peter Ridsdale
Leeds Utd
Barnsley
"We lived the dream". Those words, we think, we're used to justify his suicidal financial gamble to establish Leeds as a major force in European football. It failed. Currently they're not even a force in Yorkshire football. Ridsdale was a self proclaimed fan in the director's box. He was also a media whore with an eye for a photo op (see his walk on the pitch to the Leeds fans at the height of his grandstanding). He left Leeds with a disastrous legacy which he's never properly acknowledged and after washing up briefly at Barnsley (who were also in free-fall) he is now fronting the consortium running Cardiff. The proverbial guy who falls in a dung heap and comes out smelling of aftershave. Well, Blue Stratos anyway.
5 Freddie Shepherd
Newcastle
A man with the looks of Austin Powers' foe Fat Bastard, but without the charm. Shepherd represents a corporate fat cat mentality that has come with the advent of the Premiership. He is owner caste equivalent of the footballing badge kisser, always ready with a trophy signing, P45 for the gaffer or yet another attention deflecting speech about the `Geordie Nation'. This odious man really showed off his true colours, and sadly much else, when he was the victim of a News of the World sting, where he laughed at the fans that bought overpriced shirts and slated Newcastle women. All this from the comfortable vantage point of a far eastern brothel.
6 George Reynolds
Darlington
This ex-con was a self made multi-millionaire who washed up at Darlington in 1999 promising to take them into the Premiership. Bizarrely, he then built the club a superb 27,000 seater stadium. Staggering, as the clubs average crowd was around 4,000. He totally failed to bring in the players necessary for progress and saddled the club with massive debts and a white elephant of a stadium. In 2005 after leaving the club, he was convicted of tax evasion and was sentenced to 3 years. A classic rags to riches to rags story.
7 Douglas Craig
York City
Craig first sprang to prominence in 1994 when he became the only club chairman to refuse to sign up to a national anti-racism campaign, a stance he maintained for six years. Craig almost sent City to the wall in 2002 when he `transferred' ownership of Bootham Crescent to a holding company for £165,000 and then tried to force the club to buy back the ground (for £4.5m!) or he would close the club down. A supporters Trust was founded and after a gargantuan effort, secured the ground and the clubs future. Craig, of course, made a massive profit. What was particularly galling was his role at the FA enabled him to participate in decisions such as the relocation of Wimbledon to Milton Keynes. It so reassuring to know that the fate of the game lies with such genuine people.
8 Terry Venables
Tottenham
Portsmouth
It's debatable whether El Tel has ever truly owned a club, but those which he has run have always managed to be in a much worse state than when he took over. Alan Sugar installed him as managing director at Spurs in 1991 after he'd failed to land the club with another business partner. Sugar dismissed Venables in 1993 after an acrimonious split. He later bought a 51% stake in Portsmouth in 1997 for £1, grabbed as much money as he legally could and disappeared back out of the door with the club bottom of the league. The DTI managed to get Venables disqualified from being a company director in 1998, partly down to his dealings at Tottenham. He has now settled down to the job he was surely destined for. Ruining a once formidable coaching reputation by playing Phil Neal to McLaren's Graham Taylor.
9 Robert Maxwell
Oxford Utd
Derby County
The bouncing Czech rolled into the university city, not noted for its footballing heritage, in 1982. Within 2 years he'd shown his commitment to the club by trying to buy Manchester United and attempting to merge Oxford with local rivals Reading, to form the ludicrously titled Thames Valley Royals. To be fair, the team performed miracles under his stewardship as the astute management of Jim Smith took them into the First Division in 1985 and then to a Milk Cup final victory in 1986. In 1987 Maxwell bought Derby and installed his son, Kevin, as Chairman at the Manor Ground. Oxford suffered heavily from the aftermath of Maxwell's suicide in 1991 and have never really recovered.
10 Stan Flashman
Barnet
Flashman was a Cockney ticket tout of the old school, operating in circles, shady even for lower league chairmen. More in the rogue than villain category, Flashman owned Barnet as they made it to the Football League under the gregarious management of Barry Fry. He ran the club from 1985 to 1993 and Fry reckoned he was sacked and reinstated 8 times during his tenure. Flashman died in 1999 aged 69.


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