When Albion welcome Manchester City to the Amex for their Premier League debut on August 12, Tony Bloom will be sat in the directors' box with members of the Chinese Government and the deputy prime minister of the United Arab Emirates.

The former, in the shape of a state-owned Chinese consortium, has poured around £265 million into Albion's opening day visitors. The latter, City's owner Sheikh Mansour (below), has invested £210 million.

The Argus: The Argus can reveal owner-chairman Bloom, who has pumped £250 million into the Seagulls, lies joint-sixth in the Premier League investment table, splitting City's backers alongside Newcastle's Mike Ashley.

Bloom and Ashley are, by a considerable distance, the biggest British investors, dwarfing the £105 million David Sullivan and David Gold have each put into West Ham, according to research by online sports betting company SBO.

Their 'wealth' table is based on the Premier League last season, without the promoted clubs Albion, Newcastle and Huddersfield. Inserting Bloom illustrates the astonishing scale of his commitment now that the Seagulls are about to compete with the mega-rich elite.

Bloom's personal fortune has been assembled through his North London-based sports betting empire Starlizard, property development and investment, and a private equity portfolio.

His love affair with Albion is a Godsend for the club. It has yielded the Amex, a top-end Premier League quality training complex at Lancing and a relentless shoring up of annual losses.

Bloom and Ashley are neck-and-neck, just as their teams were throughout last season in the Championship. Ashley (below) paid around £134 million for a 100 per cent of the North-East giants, then invested a further 120 million to pay off debts as a loan.

The Argus: Nobody else gets near to Roman Abramovich's £2 billion investment in Premier League champions Chelsea.

The Russian businessman is way ahead of the American Glazer family who, together with their £800 million stake in Manchester United, also own Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Stanley Kroenke, owner of several sports teams including the Los Angeles Rams, is best-known for his £450 million investment in Arsenal.

Fourth in the wealth table is Liverpool owner John W. Henry at £300 million. His diverse portfolio also includes the Boston Globe newspaper and the Red Sox.

Next come Manchester City's Chinese CITIC Group, followed by Bloom and Ashley, then Mansour.

The rest are left trailing, including West Brom's Chinese backer Guochuan Lai (£175 million).

In terms of nationalities, Russians are the biggest investors in the Premier League (Alishair Usmanov has a £157 million stake in Arsenal), with America a close second and the UK - boosted by Bloom and Ashley - third.

The smallest disclosed figure for investment across the entire Premier League was £70,000, from the Swansea City Supporters' Trust, which increased their shareholding in the Welshmen to 21 per cent.

The countdown to Albion's showdown with Manchester City, now only 43 days away, has begun.

The players reported back yesterday for two days of testing and screening before pre-season training starts on Monday.

Albion head to Austria for a week-long training camp early next month. Their programme of friendlies culminates against Atletico Madrid at the Amex on August 6.