Belfast Telegraph

Manchester United reveal cost of sacking Mourinho and staff in otherwise glowing financial report

Pay day: Jose Mourinho was let go just before Christmas
Pay day: Jose Mourinho was let go just before Christmas

By Simon Peach

Sacking Jose Mourinho before Christmas cost Manchester United £19.6million, the Premier League club revealed in their second-quarter financial results.

That sum, which is listed under "exceptional items" in the accounts, includes pay-outs for the five members of his staff who left with him on December 18.

It is less than initially reported in some quarters but four times the amount United had to pay predecessors David Moyes and Louis van Gaal when they were fired in 2014 and 2016 respectively.

The severance pay, however, is the only bad grade in an otherwise glowing report, with the club posting record revenues of £208.6million for the quarter, which translate into earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of £104.3million and an operating profit of £44million.

The club's wage bill rose to £77.9million, an increase of £8.2million (11.8%) on the corresponding period a year ago.

Commercial revenue, thanks to new sponsors such as Remington, inched up to £65.9million, although the retail and merchandising part of that equation fell slightly, and matchday proceeds increased by £2.1million (5.7%) on 12 months ago, primarily due to playing one more Champions League game at home.

But the real boost came from broadcasting, up £28.5million (37.9%) to £103.7million, as UEFA's new Champions League broadcasting deal kicked in.

In a statement, executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said: "The appointment of Ole (Gunnar Solskjaer) and Mike (Phelan) as caretaker manager and assistant manager has had a positive impact throughout the club.

"We are delighted with the improvement in the team's performances since December and we look forward to a strong finish to the 18/19 season."

Mourinho was sacked shortly after United lost 3-1 to Liverpool, the fifth league defeat of the season and a result which left the Old Trafford club 19 points behind their fierce rivals from Merseyside.

Since then, however, they have won eight of nine Premier League games - drawing one - and have returned to the top four, leapfrogging Arsenal and Chelsea. Solskjaer earned the league's manager-of-the-month prize for January.

The Norwegian's remarkable run came to an end on Tuesday, when United were beaten 2-0 at home in the Champions League by Paris St Germain - but the mood at Old Trafford is undoubtedly brighter.

Another reflection of that can be seen in the club's share price, which hit $17.28 (£13.49) in New York in December but is now heading back towards $20 (£15.60).

Asked about a permanent replacement for Mourinho, as Solskjaer and Phelan have only signed until the end of the season, Woodward would not comment, declaring the club would make an announcement "when it had something to say".

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