Nobody appoints a new manager with the plan to eventually sack them but, as we know, it nearly always ends that way.

As with all marriages, first there is the honeymoon period. That’s the wonderful time when there is a new manager bounce, players are receptive to the fresh voice, everything is rosy and even when it’s not it’s definitely, definitely going to be.

Then it comes routine and both parties become a little less forgiving of each other. Occasionally, as we are seeing with Antonio Conte and Tottenham now, it might start getting nasty too.

Eventually, all that is usually left to sort is the divorce bill – the sacked manager pay-off – and some of them are enormous.

Andre Villas-Boas

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Chelsea spent a lot of money to get Villas-Boas from Porto in 2011 and, perversely, they then had to spend bug money to get rid of him too.

The hope was that he would be a new Jose Mourinho, and he has proven himself to be a top coach around Europe, albeit probably not an elite one.

He lasted less than a year in charge, but his squad did win the Champions League that season under Roberto Di Matteo.

Mauricio Pochettino

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Tottenham like to keep their assets tied to lengthy contracts, and that works great as long as the club actually want to keep them.

Pochettino signed a new five-year deal in May 2018 and he looked immovable at Spurs for a very long time.

Just 18 months into that contract though, Spurs decided they wanted rid and they had to pay a whopping sum to escape the contract that they thought would protect them.

Thomas Tuchel

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Let’s level with you here: there are a lot of Chelsea managers on this list. In fact, it is literally half of them.

Tuchel is the most recent after being shown the door by new owner Todd Boehly when the American claimed they did not share a vision for the club.

Still, given what Boehly has spent since taking over at Chelsea, £13m probably didn’t seem that much.

Fabio Capello


Premier League clubs certainly dominate this list, but the cost of getting rid of Fabio Capello for Russia was eyewatering by anyone’s standards.

Capello took over the Russian team in 2014 and was supposed to be the man to take them into their home World Cup four years later. He lasted just 18 months.

There are some suggestions he might have received more than the £13.4m that was reported at the time too, but either way it sounds like nice work if you can get it.

Luiz Felipe Scolari

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Okay, immediately back to Chelsea, it seems. Scolari was an eye catching appointment when he swapped Brazil (via Portugal) for the Bridge.

Despite Chelsea being the Premier League’s top scorers, in the top four and advancing to the knockout stages of the Champions League, Scolari was ditched in the February of his first season.

He hasn’t let the payout dampen his passion for football, though. In fact, he had nine jobs after Chelsea and was still going at the age of 75 in his native Brazil.

Jose Mourinho


Enter the king of the managerial payout. Jose Mourinho is one of the most successful managers football has ever seen, but he clearly has a very good lawyer as well.

By the time he turned up at Tottenham his star had perhaps started to fade a little, although his track record still guaranteed him a top salary.

That came in handy when they sacked him in 2021, pocketing £16m for simply going away. Remarkably, it is not even close to being the second biggest payoff of his career, never mind his biggest.

Laurent Blanc

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Investment at PSG is huge and with that comes proportional expectations. And, as we all know, with huge expectation comes large manager turnover.

PSG have certainly gone through plenty of managers since their fate-changing takeover in 2011, but not all of them have done quite as well out of it as Laurent Blanc.

Blanc won three league titles with PSG but was sacked for failing to achieve success in Europe. He got a £17m payoff for that in 2016 and PSG are still not achieving in Europe.

Jose Mourinho

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When Jose Mourinho received an £18m payoff in 2007 for failing to deliver either a third back-to-back Premier League title or European trophy, it was actually easy to sympathise with him.

He had transformed the club and made them serial winners, yet was not allowed even the merest drop in performance for a solitary season.

At the time it was a record payoff, but it was a record he himself would break, as well as one other man.

Jose Mourinho

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Mourinho and Man Utd looked like an ideal fit and it was a job he had always seemed to have wanted. It was even a happy marriage at times.

He won two trophies straight off the bat and it has since become clear just how many internal obstacles he was battling during his time at the club.

While the marriage had its moments, the divorce bill was huge, but it’s not the biggest.

Antonio Conte

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While Jose Mourinho might be the king of the payoffs, it is Antonio Conte who banked the biggest sum in history. In fact, none other even came close.

Conte won the Premier League in his first season in charge of Chelsea and then claimed the FA Cup in his second. Apparently, though, that wasn’t enough for the Stamford Bridge hierarchy.

They sacked him at the end of that second season and, as per their 2017/18 accounts, it cost them £26.6m to do so.


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