Manchester United's owners, the Glazer family, have spent more than £250,000 a day on a £71m buyback of bonds and interest payments over the past nine months.
Net debt has risen by £26m, according to quarterly figures released today by the club. Total revenue is also down by 5.8 per cent, as the figures reveal how the loathed owners have hampered United's spending power.
The club have released the figures on the day Michael Owen announced his departure from the club, possibly in a bid to bury bad news.
United's fall in revenue – from £75.2m to £70.8m – reflects their ignominous exit from the Champions League at the group stage last December.
Sir Alex Ferguson has repeatedly complained about the spending power of Manchester City, but the reality is without the hundreds of millions of debt which have hamstrung United, they would easily be able to compete with their rivals.
"We know that City are going to spend a fortune, pay stupid money, pay silly salaries and all that. We know that happens. We can't do anything about that," he told MUTV on Monday night.
"We concentrate on what we can do to try to bring players in for the right reasons. We invest in young players. That is what we are good at - we're not like other clubs who can spend fortunes on proven goods."
But before the Glazer family completed their takeover of the Red Devils in 2005, Ferguson repeatedly broke the British transfer record.
He spent £19m and £28.1m on Ruud van Nistelrooy and Juan Sebastian Veron respectively in 2001, as well as £29.1m on Rio Ferdinand the following year.
Wayne Rooney's signing from Everton in 2004 also totted up to an estimated £30m with add-ons.
While United's accounts say gross debt has dropped by £61.2m from £484.5m to £423.3m - a 12.6 per cent reduction - it is countered by the club's cash falling from £113m to £25.6m – a reduction of £87.4m.
This means the 19 times champions of England are now £26m worse off than they were 12 months ago.
In 2010, the Green and Gold campaign, initiated by independent fanzine RedIssue, gained significant attention for supporters making a stand against the owners.
However the downfall of the protests was that some fans saw a green and gold scarf as a fashion accessory, and the movement fizzled out as United honed in on a 19th title in 2011.
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