The Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) has condemned the club's decision to pay a reported £15million to the Glazer family in dividends.
80 per cent of Manchester United is still owned by the late Malcolm Glazer's six children. The American tycoon completed his takeover of the club in June 2005 after a long and controversial process of acquiring shares.
The Glazer children, Avram, Bryan, Joel, Kevin and Edward, and Darcie Glazer-Kassewitz, have yet to receive dividends since Red Devils company, Manchester United PLC, was floated on the US Stock Exchange in August 2012.
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However, they are now set to earn £2.5m every year from quarterly dividends of 3p per share. This equates to just over £15million, and comes despite Manchester United's confirmation of an 8.8 per cent fall in annual revenue.
Manchester United published their accounts yesterday, confirming the damage done by their failure to qualify for last season's Champions League competition. The absence led to a £37.8m drop in revenue for the year ending May 31, but did not stop the club investing heavily in the summer transfer window.
And for MUST vice-chairman Sean Bones, the decision to reward the Glazer's with a hefty payout is akin to "rubbing salt in the wounds" considering the extrodinary liabilities they have placed on the club.
Glazer secured £275m of the debt generated by his acquisition of shares against Manchester United's assets, instantly making them one of the most indebted football clubs in the world.
Salt in the wound
"We feel it would have been more justified to take a chunk of the debt rather than to extract more money from the club," Bones told Sky Sports.
"As supporters we want that money to go into the football club, so we can compete with Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester City.
"How much money do they want? Obviously United is a business and they want to pay the shareholders money, but the club is a community asset and they initially buried the club in debt.
"They have turned United into a cash cow and they are starting to milk it. It is obviously now a mechanism for the profits of United to leave the club and make its way to Florida."