As sure as night follows day, Jose Mourinho’s third season syndrome diagnosis arrived right on cue at Old Trafford.
The writing appeared to be on the wall from the beginnings of pre-season, when Mourinho told US fans they shouldn’t have bothered turning up to watch their heroes. That was followed by his criticism of the club for failing to act on his transfer targets, as if spending almost £400m in two years wasn’t enough.
Then came the embarrassing defeats, a very public fallout with record signing Paul Pogba, a touchline bust-up at Stamford Bridge, and plenty more digs at the club’s hierarchy.
To make matters worse, he even got charged for dismantling a Corby Trouser Press in the hotel room he called home for two-and-a-half years. Probably….
Following a final humiliation at the hands of bitter rivals Liverpool, United issued Mourinho his marching orders – less than a year after he signed a bumper new contract. Don’t start feeling sorry for him, though.
Jose is now set to receive a reported £24m in compensation from the club he has magnificently guided to 6th place – just one point above promoted Wolves and closer to the bottom of the table than the top. That will inevitably go straight into the same bank account Chelsea deposited almost £30m in over the course of his two sackings there.
Those sort of figures should only ever be seen on novelty-sized lottery cheques rather than P45s.
Indeed, it’s a complete waste of money for football clubs who are supposed to be responsible.
Particularly when you realise what else they could have got for their money…
1. A deserved contract extension for Alexis Sanchez
It was revealed in the summer that the Chilean’s contract was worth up to an eye-watering £25m per year.
Which, if you ask us, is perfectly reasonable for a man who has netted an incredible four goals since joining the club in January.
Almost to the penny, Mourinho’s compensation package would have covered a well-deserved one-year extension to Sanchez’s Old Trafford stay. Laugh as you may, anything is possible with Ed Woodward calling the shots.
2. Another Christmas party for the EU
Given United’s board clearly voted leave on their Jose Mourinho referendum, it’s only fair we get a political comparison in here.
We reckon a hearty £24m lump sum would have covered another festive party for those Brussels bureaucrats. Just imagine the quality of the Santa Claus impersonator you’d get with that money, let alone all the chocolate fountains and oversized decorations it’d cover.
What a waste for it to go just on Jose’s Christmas present budget.
Disclaimer: We have absolutely no idea if the EU spent £24m on their Christmas party. But if people can get away with making up spurious figures during political campaigning, surely, we’re fine to do so as well. That’s how modern politics works, right?
Jose Mourinho rumoured to be receiving £24 million compensation.
Just about enough money to buy Paul Pogba again at his new devalued price.
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) December 18, 2018
3. The 2018 version of Paul Pogba
You’d probably even get some change from that after his social media troublemaking.
4. Lucas Torreira
Combine the total payouts from Mourinho’s sackings and you’ve got yourself the comical £52m fee United splashed on midfield flop Fred. Thinking about it, sacking a manager who is single-handedly dragging a club into decline is actually better value than buying the Brazilian, but that’s by the by.
Yet it will surely pain Ed Woodward that the money now allocated to the former manager could instead have gone on snatching Lucas Torreira from Arsenal’s hands in the summer. Who knows where they would be with the livewire Uruguayan in their ranks?
Sixth in the league probably, after Mourinho dropped him for looking at him funny in training on his first day.
5. A LOT of penny sweets
Should United have stuck with their manager, that £24m they had lying around could have got them precisely two billion, four hundred million penny sweets down their local corner shop. That’s enough for 36 each for every person in the UK.
Handing those out would have been the perfect way for the club to make it up to the nation for having to sit through more Mourinho football on Match of the Day every week.
6. Virtually any other manager in world football
Situations like this are why clubs are increasingly focusing on short-term contracts for new managers, as opposed to tying down a risky (and costly) bet.
With a bit of foresight, United wouldn’t have renewed Jose’s deal and instead got rid of him in the summer at a cheaper price.
The giant pot of money marked “Mourinho Compensation Fund” then could have been invested much more wisely, such as bringing in Zinedine Zidane or throwing it all at Operation: Get Pochettino.
But it’s too late for Manchester United now. Let’s just hope Mourinho’s next victim takes heed.