LONDON: Sacking Jose Mourinho before Christmas cost Manchester United £19.6m the Premier League club has revealed in its 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 was 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 (EBITDA) of £104.3million and an operating profit of £44million.
The club’s wage bill for the quarter, which ended on December 31, rose to £77.9million, an increase of £8.2million (11.8 per cent) 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 per cent) 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 per cent) to £103.7million, as UEFA’s new Champions League broadcasting deal really started to kick 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 the other – 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 than it was under Mourinho.
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).