Billionaire and multi-millionaire owners of football clubs are so common these days they have almost become ubiquitous. But families that own clubs are far less common.
That might be because most rich owners of football clubs invariably get fed up with paying out vast sums of money and getting little in return, so they sell them before the next gen can get involved.
Nevertheless, some families have stuck with football clubs for some time regardless of their fortunes.
Family Capital names five prominent families that own football clubs.
The ultimate family-owned football club is the Turin-based team Juventus. Owned by the Agnelli family since 1923, Juventus has arguably been the most successful Italian football club of all time, winning 30 Italian league titles and a host of other titles as well. The Agnellis and Juventus are almost synonymous with each other. Of course, the Agnelli family also own Fiat and are probably Italy’s most famous family.
The relationship between the family and Juventus was cemented by third generation Gianni Agnelli, who allegedly phoned the team’s manager every day at 6am to offer his thoughts from anything from the performance of the club’s players to the financial health of the business. His obsession with Juventus was huge, and he famously once said: “I feel emotional every time I see the letter J in a newspaper headline. I immediately think of Juventus.”
Gianni’s legacy has been transferred to his nephew Andrea Agnelli, who has been president of the club since 2010. After it was involved in match fixing allegations in the mid-2000s, Andrea has transformed the club’s fortunes, and it has won the Italian title for the last three years.
The Peugeot family has owned the French League 2 team since 1928. Established by Jean-Pierre Peugeot, a director at the eponymous carmaker, the football team was originally comprised entirely of workers from the local Peugeot factory. The team’s emblem includes Peugeot’s iconic lion symbol. An early advocate of professionalism in football, Jean-Pierre led the team to some success in the earlier years of its existence. More recently, after more than 10 years in the top flight of French football, Sochaux was relegated to League 2 at the end of the 2013-14 season.
Udine Calcio / Watford / Grenada
The three football clubs Udine in Italy, Watford in the UK and Grenada in Spain are owned by the Italian businessman Giampaolo Pozzo. His son Gino Pozzo is joint owner of Watford, and is heavily involved in the management of all the teams. Both father and son have used their skills to scout for young football talent across the world. They have signed many young and up-and-coming players, often selling them for a large profit after they have become stars. The Pozzos have also developed what some say is the controversial practice of loaning out players across their three teams, which could cause problems if any of the teams ever meet each other in a European match.
The French football club better known as just Rennes currently plays in the top flight of French football. The Pinault family, who through their luxury holding company Kering own such brands as Gucci, Puma and Bottega Veneta, took charge of Rennes in 1998. The link between the family and Rennes is geographical. The Pinault family are from Brittany and Rennes is the region’s best-known football club. Both François Pinault and his son François-Henri have invested heavily in the club since buying it. But so far all that money has failed to bring any silverware.
Queens Park Rangers
The west London football club is 34% owned by the Mittal family. The patriarch of the family Lakshmi Mittal, known for his deal making skills in the world of steel, bought into QPR in 2007 and has since increased the family’s stake. His son-in-law Amit Bhatia sits on the board of the club. In the last few seasons QPR have been the proverbial yo-yo team, being promoted and regulated a number of times between the English Premier League and the divisions below it. As the team currently languishes at the bottom of the premiership, the trend looks likely to continue.