'It's rubbing salt into the wounds' - Man United fans furious as Glazers pocket £15m dividend
Published 18/09/2015 | 02:30
Manchester United fans reacted with fury last night after the club approved shareholder dividends that will pay Malcolm Glazer's six children £15m a year.
On the day United announced that their failure to qualify for the Champions League last season had led to an 8.8pc fall in revenue, the club revealed that the board had approved a regular quarterly cash dividend - their first since they floated on the New York Stock Exchange in 2012.
The late Glazer's children - Avram, Joel, Kevin, Bryan and Edward, and their sister, Darcie Glazer Kassewitz - own approximately 80pc of the more than 160 million shares in Manchester United plc and each stand to net £2.5m per year from a quarterly dividend of 3p per share.
All six sit on the board that approved the payments, which finance director Hemen Tseayo said were justified by the club's financial performance last season and projections of a record income in the current campaign of more than half a billion pounds.
However, the Manchester United Supporters Trust, which is opposed to the Glazers' ownership of United and the use of the club's vast revenues to service their debt-leveraged takeover, attacked the move.
"It's rubbing salt into the wounds, isn't it?" said MUST vice-chairman Sean Bones. "They've taken over the club, they've cost us £1bn and now they're sitting on an asset maybe worth £2bn.
"I think there's still £400m debt on the books. And, not content with that, they've started milking us in the form of dividends."
Bones estimated the windfall of £15m a year accounted for around a third of the money paid by supporters to be United season-ticket holders.
The Glazers have made £233m in share sales since floating United.
"We want the profits to stay within the football club and not be milked and sent to Florida," Bones said. "You have to ask the question: how greedy are the owners?"
The supporter backlash against shareholder dividends overshadowed the publication of United's annual results, which exposed the full cost of their absence from the Champions League.
Revenues fell £38m to £395.2m - the loss of around £50m from European participation being partially offset by an increase in commercial income.