In what surely has to be one of the least shocking managerial departures in Premier League history, it was confirmed on Wednesday morning that Steve Bruce is no longer in charge of Newcastle United.
Widely believed to be on borrowed time from the moment the club’s £305 million takeover was completed earlier this month, 60-year-old Bruce did survive to take charge of his 1,000th game as a manager, overseeing the Magpies’ 3-2 home defeat at the hands of Tottenham on Sunday.
That match, though, marked the end of Bruce’s two-year tenure at St. James’ Park. The official announcement by the club stated that the decision had been reached by mutual consent.
However, as part of his exit, Bruce is expected to receive a severance package of around £8m. It’s a considerable sum, but not one that will faze Newcastle’s new owners in the slightest. The club’s majority shareholder, Public Investment Fund, has an estimated net worth of a staggering £320 billion!
Over the years, however, we’ve seen some eye-watering severance packages paid to get rid of unwanted managers. So large are these sums, in fact, that the £8m Bruce will pocket from Newcastle doesn’t even make the top 10.
We take a look at these colossal fees below, with a certain Mr. Abramovich making several appearances.
The 10 biggest managerial compensation payments in football history
10. Jose Mourinho – £9.5 million (Chelsea, 2015)
The first of a collection of entries for the ‘Special One’ on this countdown, Chelsea owner Abramovich forked out close to nine figures to part company with Mourinho after the Blues made an indifferent start to the 2015/16 campaign.
9. Roberto Di Matteo – £10.7 million (Chelsea, 2012)
Di Matteo might have brought the 2012 Champions League trophy to Stamford Bridge, but even that wasn’t enough for trigger-happy Roman, who dispensed with the Spaniard’s services shortly after – costing himself another tidy sum in the process.
8. Andre Villas-Boas – £12 million (Chelsea, 2012)
It comes to something when you can lay out close to £11m in compensation – and it still not be your biggest payment of that kind in the calendar year. Yes, Abramovich’s total bill for sacking managers alone was close to £23m in 2012, after he had also fired Villas-Boas in March.
7. Mauricio Pochettino – £12.5 million (Tottenham Hotspur, 2019)
Finally an entry without a Chelsea connection (although not too far away geographically). After a desperate beginning to the 2019/20 season, the once-rosy relationship between Pochettino and Tottenham chief Daniel Levy turned sour. The Argentinian departed the club with a cool sum – to be replaced by Jose Mourinho. That particular arrangement hardly turned out any better either.
6. Fabio Capello – £13.4 million (Russia, 2015)
The former England manager picking up this sort of settlement from the Russian FA proves that it’s not only in club football where you can make a pretty penny in severance.
5. Luis Felipe Scolari – £13.6 million (Chelsea, 2009)
After a brief respite, we’re back in west London. Even the pedigree of a World Cup win with Brazil wasn’t enough to see Scolari spared the Abramovich axe in 2009. For those that have lost count, that’s now four of football’s priciest sackings that have come at the hands of the Russian billionaire.
4. Laurent Blanc – £17 million (Paris Saint-Germain, 2016)
The Ligue 1 giants forked out a gigantic sum to move Blanc on in favour of Unai Emery. Given how underwhelming the Spaniard’s reign at the Parc des Princes was, they probably wish they hadn’t bothered.
3. Jose Mourinho – £18.0 million (Chelsea, 2007)
The fifth appearance for ruthless Roman on this countdown. Mourinho’s Chelsea fairytale ended (for the first time) when Abramovich sacked him in September 2007 – barely two years after he had led the club to their first league title in half a century. Jose walked away with a tidy payday as part of the bargain.
2. Jose Mourinho – £19.6 million (Manchester United, 2018)
11 years later – and Mourinho was collecting off the back of the end another high-profile managerial reign. This time, the Portuguese was paid close to £20m to exit Old Trafford. He’d be back managing in the Premier League with Spurs less than a year later.
1. Antonio Conte – £26.2 million (Chelsea, 2018)
At more than three times the £8m that Newcastle paid Bruce, Conte ranks as Abramovich’s most-expensive (single) firing at Chelsea. The Italian’s replacement, Maurizio Sarri, lasted just a single season at Stamford Bridge before joining Juventus.
While the compensation paid to Bruce ranks as modest when compared to some of these sums, Newcastle’s new owners will be keen to get their next managerial appointment right.
As the £110m spent in compensation by Roman Abramovich since 2003 proves, sacking managers can become a messy – and expensive – operation.
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