SUNDERLAND owner Ellis Short trails in the North East wealth league to Magpies chief Mike Ashley, according to new research.
The American financier has owned the Black Cats for five years, but makes his debut appearance in the Sunday Times Rich List this weekend as a result of spending more time in the UK.
The list, unveiled on Sunday, estimates Short’s personal wealth as a cool £1,000million – enough to put him in second place in the North East, but still dwarfed by Ashley’s £3,750million.
The Sports Direct boss’ personal worth has rocketed by 63 per cent in the past year, embedding him further among the 104 billionaires in this year’s list.
The success of Sports Direct, now one of Britain’s biggest retailers, is behind the surge in Ashley’s wealth. His stake in the business is worth £2.7billion and he has sold shares worth £1.23billion since the company was floated in 2007.
While Newcastle United has swallowed about £260million of his funds since he acquired it, his wealth in the past year has grown by £1,450million.
After Ellis Short, Sir Peter Vardy and family are the highest place Wearsiders, with the former Reg Vardy boss worth an estimated £175million, £20million up on last year.
The online bingo boom continues to hit the jackpot for Tombola founder Phil Cronin and family, whose collective fortune is put at £90million.
That figure is up £15million on last year, but still only enough to see them propping up the North East top 20.
The Fenwick retail family are in third place, with an estimated worth of £500million, while investment specialist Jonathan Ruffer’s £380million puts him fourth.
Ruffer is not hanging onto his cash, though, with the £30.8million given out by his Lempriere Pringle Trust enough to see him ranked 11th on the Sunday Times Giving List.
Other major philanthropists are Dame Margaret and Helen Barbour and family, whose waxed jacket business is enjoying a boom in popularity, which has boosted their wealth to £300million.
Dame Margaret last year donated £1million to Newcastle University as part of wider giving totalling £4.9million.
The 26th annual Sunday Times Rich List is based on identifiable wealth, including land, property, and assets, such as art or shares in publicly quoted companies.