Whelan tops Sunday Times Rich List
By Paul Farrington
Updated Sunday, 2nd May 2010
Wigan Athletic chairman, Dave Whelan, has topped the Sunday Times Sport Rich List published in the newspaper today.
The 73 year old has an estimated wealth of £190m and has finished above David Beckham (£125m), Lennox Lewis (£95m) and Jenson Button (£43m) amoungst others.
Here is what the newspaper has to say about the Wigan chairman:
"Dave Whelan and family. Football and sports goods. Wigan Athletic. Whelan played for Blackburn Rovers in the 1960 FA Cup Final. It should have been the highlight of his football career, but Rovers lost 3-0 to Wolves and Whelan suffered a broken leg that effectively ended his career at the top of the game.
He later joined Crewe Alexandra and played more than 100 games for the club, but he had already turned his sights elsewhere. With the £400 compensation he received following his injury he bought a small grocery business, operating from Blackburn market, and builti it into Whelan's discount stores.
In 1978 he sold it to Morrisons, the supermarket chain, for £1.5m. Next, he bought JJB, a small shop in Wigan, for £7,400. At the time, it specialised in fishing equipment and its biggest seller was its range of live maggots.
Whelan turned it into a big sports retailer and floated it in 1994. In recent years it has had a tough time with profits warnings. But in June 2007, Whelan sold his family stake in JJB for £190m to an Icelandic backed consortium and left the company.
He had previously sold more than £50m worth of shares and made nearly £17m in earlier sales. He has about £17m of net assets in other family companies such as Whelco but last year spent £83.4m of his sale proceeds buying JJB's Fitness Club operation.
In 1995 he seemed to have left his business head at home when he bought his home-town football club, Wigan Athletic, and vowed to take the Latics all the way to the Premier League. At the time, he was ridiculed, but 10 years later, on the final day of the Championship season, Whelan watched as his club beat Reading 3-1 to secure their place in the top flight. And they are still there.
Whelan, 73, and his family are worth £190m"