It was announced on the morning of 18 December that the 55-year-old, who had overseen the club’s worst start to a league season for 28 years, was no longer manager of Manchester United.
Since then, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has taken over as caretaker manager and stimulated a wholesale change in mood and style, scoring eight goals in wins over Cardiff City and Huddersfield Town with some daring, precise attacking football in the final third.
Speaking in an interview with Sky, Shaw opened up about how he was taking an innocuous morning shower when his girlfriend broke the news about his manager, with whom he had a difficult relationship for most of his time at Old Trafford.
“The truth? My girlfriend told me,” he said.
“I woke up in the morning and had a shower and she ran out of the room and told me. I did not have a clue, I didn’t look at my phone or anything. That’s how I found out… from my girlfriend.”
I was, like many, lying in bed bargaining with myself about how long I could stay under the covers, when the phone suddenly started blowing up with notifications.
The news took a while to sink in. Writing the confirmation piece – which, on reflection, I should have pre-written immediately after that Liverpool game – felt extremely strange. The immediacy of it was so antithetical to how United as a club operates. Even during the 5-1 win over Cardiff, it had not quite sunk in that the toxicity of Mourinho, whose main function this season has been to drag people down to his level of misery, was finally gone.
At Real Madrid, Mourinho’s departure was greeted by Carlo Ancelotti winning the Champions League the following season. At Chelsea, the Portuguese’s successor, Antonio Conte, won the league in his first campaign in England.
You can only a similar fortune is bestowed on United over the next 12 months.