Rebel football club FC United can get a loan of up to £500,000 from cash-strapped Manchester council.
Town hall chiefs stepped in after it emerged the club had failed to raise enough money to pay for a controversial new £4.5m stadium in Moston.
They have promised to bridge a funding gap of about £200,000 and cover any overspend on the 5,000-capacity ground on the Ronald Johnson Playing Fields – if the club needs the money.
But people opposing the building of the stadium are furious.
Campaigner Mike Pattillo said: "It’s not the place for the council to be financing a semi-professional football club and it feels like a kick in the teeth. We feel that the council have gone against the wishes of the vast majority of people who live here and the fact we’ll end up paying for it makes it worse."
Another resident, who did not wish to be named, said: "There’s also the huge irony of the fans setting up FC United in response to the huge debt the Glazers placed Manchester United under when they took over. Who is the guarantor of this money and what happens if they default or go bust?"
Campaigners have protested against the stadium plan being built on precious green space. They also say an existing covenant on the land prohibits it being used for such a purpose, and are worried it will bring an increase in anti-social behaviour and traffic problems.
FC United plan to raise £1.6m through a community share scheme but so far only £1.4m has been pledged by fans. Council bosses said the loan would be repaid in full with interest at no cost to the taxpayer. The offer of the loan comes on top of a £750,000 grant the council is making towards the stadium.
FC United have relaunched the share scheme and made it clear they want to raise the extra £200,000 themselves.
As part of the plans, Moston Juniors FC – who currently lease the site from Manchester council – will be given youth pitches inside the new development and a third pitch at Boggart Hole Clough in Blackley. There will also be an artificial pitch, and a public medical room managed by club physiotherapists .
Mike Amesbury, from the council, said: "Any loan to FC United would be at commercial rates, with interest, and not cost the council or council taxpayers a penny. What it would do is enable this important development to go ahead, with all the social and economic benefits that will bring. The partnership between FC United and Moston Juniors will not only result in around £4.5m of new investment in the area, it will also create the basis for an excellent sporting hub in North Manchester."
Andy Walsh, FC United's general manager, said: "Our members have already raised over £2m to bring this project forward. We are now going to work hard to close the gap so we don't have to draw on any borrowing."