His team may be at the bottom of the Premier League table and preparing for life in the Championship – but Sunderland AFC owner Ellis Short continues to fly high in the wealth stakes.
Short, 56, who made his fortune with Texas-based private equity firm Lone Star, remains the second wealthiest in the region with a net worth of £1.2billion, according to the new Sunday Times Rich List.
He is only kept off top spot by Mike Ashley, owner of rivals Newcastle United.
Ashley, 52, remains the region’s richest man with a fortune now put at £2.16billion.
However, he has experienced a tough 12 months with his Sports Direct warehouses attracting negative media attention due to staff working conditions.
The value of the Nottinghamshire-based operation is now £1.73billion, down from £4.5billion a year ago, and Ashley’s stake is now valued at £980million, down £270million over the same period.
At 160 pages this year’s Sunday Times Rich List – the 29th annual edition to be produced – is the biggest ever. The definitive guide to wealth charts the fortunes of the 1,000 richest individuals and families in the British Isles.
Robert Watts, the Compiler of The Sunday Times Rich List, said: “This year’s larger than ever Rich List lays bare how the fortunes of Britain’s richest 1,000 people have fared amid the astonishing events of the past 12 months.
“Our Northeast Rich List demonstrates how Britain’s super rich now come from all backgrounds. Mike Ashley once worked as a squash coach and Duncan Bannatyne in the Royal Navy - both now feature alongside the Duke of Northumberland as the region’s wealthiest people.
“It’s striking how we’re seeing fortunes from more unusual sectors. Gone are the days when finance, property and a handful of other industries dominated the Rich List. Our Northeast Rich List includes entrepreneurs who have built fortunes from car dealing, waxed jackets and even online bingo.”
Also featuring in the table at 13th, is Sir Peter Vardy and family, whose wealth has risen by £7million to £177million.
The Fenwick retail fortune continues to grow with Mark Fenwick and family now standing at £730million, up £30million on last year, making them the third richest in the North East.
Rock star Sting, 65, remains one of the wealthiest in the North East after his North American tour with Peter Gabriel last year pulled in $28million of box office receipts.
He and his wife Trudie Styler, 63, have a portfolio of property which includes houses in New York, Tuscany and Malibu, and he remains worth £185million.
Others who appear in the top ten include Dame Margaret and Helen Barbour and family, whose wealth has risen by £10million to £345million.
Duncan Bannatyne is ninth, having seen his fortune rise by £25million to £225million.
And Middlesbrough owner Steve Gibson, whose own club are also battling desperately to avoid being relegated from the Premier League, is in tenth position with a fortune of £195million.