Billionaire and influential businessman Shahid Khan‘s rags to newfound wealth story has seen him go from earning just 85p an hour washing dishes to making a monstrous £800million bid for one of the luxurious edifice of the footballing world.
With his handlebar mustache and radiant, though frequently rowdy, the Pakistan-born car parts tycoon is a standout amongst the most unmistakable owners in English football. But, the potential buy of “Sacrosanct turf” of Wembley will make him a noteworthy power player with a status in the game far beyond the ownership of a Premier League team.
Khan, 67, was born in Lahore (Pakistan), but later moved to America in 1967 at the age of 16, to study engineering at the University of Illinois. His initial couple of days in America were spent in a $2-a-night YMCA.
Khan made his fortune by building up a one-piece car bumper that turned into the automobile industry standard in America. He became a US national in 1991 and consistently climbed the rankings of affluent Americans. A year ago he was believed to be worth more than $8.7 billion (£6.25 billion), making him the 158th wealthiest businessman in the world.
In 2011 he purchased Florida-based Jacksonville Jaguars for $760 million, becoming the first foreign owner of an American football team from an ethnic minority background.
The Jaguars have been regular guests to London. In 2012 they signed a deal to play a game a year at Wembley. For any London game, the Jaguars are the assigned “home” team.
In the wake of buying West-London outfit Fulham he started investing and spending more time in London and his luxurious yacht, the 95.2m Kismet, was more frequently spotted on the Thames.
Sahid is said to get on well with another Khan of Pakistani legacy, Sadiq, the Mayor of London. He has likewise talked about his adoration for London, notwithstanding saying it has “preferred Indian and Pakistani restaurants over India and Pakistan”. He is hitched to his college sweetheart, Ann Carlson Khan.
Khan, however, is likewise not scared to dip into his moneybags for good motivations. Through the Jacksonville Jaguars establishment and also the NFL he is involved with philanthropy while in 2011 he donated $10m to the University of Illinois.
It is in Illinois where he owns a substantial house and also a $8m penthouse in Park Tower, Chicago. He also possesses another last penthouse in Naples, Florida, which he acquired in 2014 for $11.5 million.
Even with two sports teams under his wing, Khan – broadly named ‘the tache with the cash’ – kept on developing his assets and in 2016 he acquired Toronto’s Four Seasons inn for C$225 million.
However, he insists he won’t relocate England’s home matches and is sure the deal would likewise enable the FA to focus on its promise to reinforce football at grassroots level.
“I am very pleased to learn today that The Football Association board of directors received our offer to purchase Wembley Stadium, our home away from home in London, from the FA,” Khan said in a statement posted by the Jaguars on their official website on Thursday.
“One of the many benefits of the Jaguars’ commitment to London has been our partnership with the FA and Wembley Stadium. Over the past several years, it became clearer to us and the FA that the idea of our purchase of Wembley Stadium made a lot of sense for all of us.
“For the FA, it would mean Wembley Stadium returning to private ownership, permitting the FA to direct its full attention to its mandate to develop talent and serve the game with the vast resources it would realize from the sale. For the Jaguars, it would deliver another – and very significant – asset and the local revenue source that would further strengthen our investment in London, which as everyone knows is crucial to the Jaguars’ continued sustainability in Jacksonville.
“In every respect, the Jaguars’ standing in London would be improved and dramatically enhanced if we are fortunate to be approved as the new owner and steward of Wembley Stadium, and that’s good news for the Jaguars and all of Jacksonville.