The imminent £2m sale of captain Jonny Howson to Norwich City has left supporters unhappy with about 150 staging an impromptu protest on Thursday night against how the club is run.
Further protests are planned today for the visit of Ipswich Town but Bates, in his programme notes, has hit back at the club’s critics.
He wrote: “‘Where’s all the money gone?’ is the latest chant from the vociferous few. Well, I’ll tell them. Simon Grayson’s player budget was £9.5m for the year. As I write, we have so far committed £11.722m, over budget by nearly 23 per cent.
“It is bad business practice but a demonstration of how far we have backed the manager and continue to do so.
“Incidentally, income from season tickets and matchday ticket sales just about equals those figures. Consequently, all the other costs of running the club have to be earned from other sources.”
Bates also revealed that a tribunal to decide on the fate of Andy O’Brien has been set for February 27.
United manager Grayson claimed the defender refused to play for the club against Burnley on November 19.