America’s influence on the European game is stronger than ever. Whether it is on the pitch, in the press box, in the stands, and now in the ownership box. While American ownership in the European game is nothing new, more owners are coming into the market to purchase football clubs. Whether they are a success or wanted is an entirely different matter.
Here are five of the biggest European football owners that hail from the United States!
The Glazer Family (Manchester United)
The Glazer family joined Manchester United in 2003, setting up for one of the more acrimonious ownership-fan relationships in sports. Although United have had plenty of success under the Glazers (five Premier League titles and a UEFA Champions League title), it has waned in recent years. Their issues with debt and openness towards moving to a European Super League has drawn the ire of their supporters, to the point their match against Liverpool last season was cancelled due to pitch invaders and protests.
Stan Kroenke (Arsenal FC)
Much like with the Glazers, Kroenke’s ownership of Arsenal has been a bit of a mixed bag. While many supporters will fondly recall the Invincible era and the multiple Premier League/Champions League titles, many more will remember their slide down the standings in recent years. Kroenke’s conservative spending and desire to create a European Super League has spurred many fans to call for him to sell the club. Despite multiple overtures, he hasn’t shown a willingness to do so prompting more consternation among Gunner supporters.
Fenway Sports Group (Liverpool FC)
Fenway and their principal owner, John Henry, own both Liverpool Football Club and the Red Sox of Major League Baseball. The 72-year old has developed a reputation for turning around beleaguered clubs. Prior to seeing The Reds to their first Premier League/First Division title in 30 years, he guided the Sox to their first World Series title since 1919.
Shahid Khan (Fulham FC)
Although many American owners are looked down upon, Khan is thought of favorably at Craven Cottage. An immigrant from Pakistan, Khan worked his way through college, making $1.20 an hour washing dishes while going to college. He earned his fortune in the automotive industry, eventually purchasing Fulham FC in 2013. The side has bounced in and out of the Premier League through the years but Khan continues to invest in the side, as evidenced by their strong play in the Championship.
Frank McCourt (Marseille)
McCourt, who used to own the Los Angeles Dodgers of MLB, bought the Ligue 1 side in 2016. The side has had some success under McCourt, making the Europa League final in 2016-2017 and finishing second in Ligue 1 during the 2019-2020 season. Since then the club has struggled, firing manager Andrea Villas-Boas and also replacing their President, Jacques-Henri Eyraud.