Manchester United fans have reacted angrily at the news that US tycoon Malcolm Glazer has launched a formal takeover bid for the club.

Glazer now owns a 57% share of the club after buying the 28.7% stake of Irish racing tycoons JP MacManus and John Magnier.

Nick Towle, chairman of fans’ pressure group, Shareholders United, said there could be a mass exodus of supporters if the takeover proceded.

“I am very sad – I still love the club but I refuse to put a penny into the company,” he told the BBC. “And I believe as many as 20,000 fans may also leave Man Utd.”

Oliver Houston, vice chairman of Shareholders United, told BBC Five Live that Glazer is “no Roman Abramovich”.

“He’s not turning up with a suitcase full of his own cash.

“He is, in effect, asking Manchester United fans to pay for his takeover, to pay for increased ticket prices and increased merchandising.”

Shareholders United, which represents 17% of the club’s stockholders, is desperately trying to prevent Glazer owning 75% of the club – a level which would mean that he effectively owned the club.

But Towle admitted: “It’s looking like an uphill battle for us.”