The full cost of soon to be former Sunderland owner Ellis Short’s last two years at the club is laid bare with the publication of the Sunday Times Rich List.
American Short, 57, has seen his fortune slump by £200million following Sunderland’s second successive relegation to League One.
Just over a year ago, Short said he would sell the then Premier League club for £170million.
Earlier this year, he indicated he would be willing to give the club away if someone took on its debts, before finally he found someone willing to take the failing club on late last month after he agreed to clear its £120million of debts himself.
Short is now worth £1billion in what is likely to be his final appearance in the North East Rich List.
The sale of the Black Cats to a new consortium headed by former Eastleigh chairman Stewart Donald is likely to be concluded in the coming weeks.
Travelling in the opposite direction financially is Newcastle United chairman Mike Ashley, who remains the region’s richest man with a fortune now put at £2.437billion, up £277million on last year.
At number 10 in the list is Wearside businessman Sir Peter Vardy and his family, who are estimated to have a wealth of £197million.
Phil Cronin, who took control of Sunderland printing firm Edward Thompson, is in 17th place with an estimated £153million. Ellis Short’s position as the second billionaire on the list is primarily supported by Kildare Partners, a company which he founded.
The private equity firm raised $2billion for a new fund investing in distressed European property loans, most for the UK, Germany, Holland, Italy and Portugal.
Robert Watts, the Compiler of The Sunday Times Rich List, said: “They say the surest way to become a millionaire is to start out as a billionaire - and then buy a football club.
“It’s a grim joke that Sunderland owner Ellis Short may not wish to hear right now.
“Short keeps his billionaire status in this year’s 30th Rich List by a whisker - but takes a substantial cut due to the Black Cats’ woes.
“It’s been a slightly better year for Newcastle owner Mike Ashley, who has recovered some of his wealth after the wobbles of Sports Directs share price in recent years.
“Our North East Rich List epitomises the increasingly diverse range of ways the wealthy are making their money.
“Although property continues to be a big part of the picture.”