Supporters of soccer club Manchester United have laid the blame for their team's miserable year, which culminated in the ouster of its manager this week, at the feet of its U.S. owners.
The Glazer family, who also own NFL football team the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, acquired a majority stake in the iconic club in 2005 with a $1.47 billion leveraged takeover. Controversially loading the club with debt, fans have openly criticized the lack of investment in new players and have lamented the rise of rivals that have managed to outspend their club.
Years of revolt from many fans has often culminated in a public displays of anger with Tuesday's announcement providing another moment for these fans to get their point across. The Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) - an independent group that boasts over 200,000 members - has called for a change in the current ownership model.
"The club can only spend money that it has and, unfortunately, the club's owners have spent hundreds of millions of the club's money on financial restructuring and debt payments," Duncan Drasdo, MUST's chief executive said in a press release on Tuesday evening.
Manchester United reported a gross debt of £389.2 million ($654 million) in its last full financial year. Operating revenues - from its core activities - totaled £129.9 million, with £73 million of this used on interest payments.