Town chief wins payout

Manchester City's stunned directors vowed last night to fight a massive £422,000 payout to sacked boss and current Ipswich Town manager Joe Royle.To the amazement of City officials, Royle won his case for compensation following his dismissal by the club following their relegation in May 2001.

Manchester City's stunned directors vowed last night to fight a massive £422,000 payout to sacked boss and current Ipswich Town manager Joe Royle.

To the amazement of City officials, Royle won his case for compensation following his dismissal by the club following their relegation in May 2001.

Royle sued the club claiming he received only a fraction of the pay-off he was due.

The case was heard in Liverpool earlier this year and a judgement at Manchester Crown Court yesterday concluded that City were still a Premiership club at the time of Royle's dismissal, meaning he was entitled to a higher sum than the £150,000 pay-off he initially received.


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The judgement hinged on whether City had returned their Premier League certificate prior to Royle's departure, which they had not.

Following the verdict, a statement was immediately issued on Royle's behalf, condemning City's treatment of him as “scandalous and unwarranted”.

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"Joe Royle is naturally delighted at the result of this case but is sorry that it had to be brought at all," it read.

"Joe is sorry for City's fans that the board did not see fit to comply with their contractual obligations, or to settle this case without the need for a trial and the attempt to embarrass Joe by making scandalous and unwarranted allegations.”

City, however, indicated their willingness to challenge the verdict.

"The result is very disappointing,” said a club statement.

"The judgement is contrary to the firm advice we have received from our QC and legal support team.

"It doesn't recognise the common understanding of when a club is relegated and we believe it has produced an unfair result whereby Mr Royle has received extra reward for failure.

"We are advised there are grounds for an appeal and we will be considering our position over the next few days.”

On the day City's current debt levels officially reached £50million and with no funds to add significantly to Kevin Keegan's squad this summer, it is a defeat City could well have done without.

Even though the club argued there was no precedent for a side finishing in the relegation places being saved and that chief executive Alastair Mackintosh had telephoned the Premier League a day before Royle's departure to determine whether their club was still in the top division, their former manager's legal representatives successfully argued that until the certificate had been sent back, there was the possibility of a reprieve if a problem was unearthed at one of the promoted sides.

Having seen the verdict go against them, City may count themselves fortunate not to have to pay out the extra £600,000 Royle was entitled to under the terms of his contract.

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